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M15934.20
© McCord Museum
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Sketch of shoving of ice, April 1858, and sketches of taking of ice, December 1858, January 1860, Victoria Bridge, Montreal, QC
James Duncan (1806-1881)
1860, 19th century
Ink and watercolour on paper - Lithography
42.6 x 58.5 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
M15934.20
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

In his book entitled Construction of the Great Victoria Bridge in Canada, which was published in London in 1860, the engineer James Hodges discusses the formation of ice on the Saint Lawrence River:

"Undoubtedly, the most serious difficulty to be guarded against, both in the design and in the execution of the Victoria Bridge, was that operation of nature which occurs twice in the year, and which is known in North America as the "Shoving" of the Ice."

"Ice begins to form in the St. Lawrence about the beginning of December. Then, along the shores and in the shallow, quiet places where the current is least strong, a thin ice begins to make its appearance, gradually showing signs of increasing strength and thickness. Soon after, pieces of ice begin to come down from the lakes above: and then, as winter advances, anchor, or ground ice, comes down in vast quantities, thickening the otherwise comparatively clear water of the river."

Exerpt from James Hodges, Construction of the Great Victoria Bridge in Canada, 1860, John Weale, London, p. 6.

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© Musée McCord Museum