VIEW-3618 | Drawing hay to market across the St. Lawrence River, QC, 1903

Drawing hay to market across the St. Lawrence River, QC, 1903
Wm. Notman & Son
1903, 20th century
Silver salts, frosting on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  drawing hay (1) , group (644) , hay cart (4) , horse drawn (65) , Occupation (1110) , Photograph (77678) , St. Lawrence River (16) , transportation (338) , winter (74) , work (389) , work (126)
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Keys to History

This horse-drawn wagon is crossing the St. Lawrence with a load for the Montreal hay market. Each year, as soon as the ice was thick enough, a 10 metre-wide road, or bridge, was built across the river. Some foolhardy souls would cross even before the road was laid out, running the risk of finding themselves on thin ice.

Ice bridges made it possible for merchandise to circulate between the two shores all year round. They replaced fair-weather ferries at a lesser cost, and with little risk.

Source : Disasters and Calamities [Web tour], by Nathalie Lampron (see Links)

  • What

    Montreal's hay market was located in what is now Victoria Square.

  • Where

    Along the St. Lawrence River, ice roads, or bridges, were generally built between Montreal and Trois-Rivières, where the water is not salty and there are practically no tides.

  • When

    Ice bridges were usually built in late December and broke up in April.

  • Who

    The chief road commissioner decided when it was time to build an ice bridge. When the conditions were right, he enlisted the residents of the cities and villages concerned to stake out, level and put markers along the route.