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© McCord Museum
Vacation resort
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
24.2 x 15.3 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

The transformation in people's relationship to time and the increasing tensions in cities, the faster and more numerous modes of transportation, the growing desire for leisure: all combined to create in the elite a desire to get in tune with nature as a form of self-renewal and entertainment. One result was the development, beginning in the late 19th century, of vacation resorts, that is, vacation facilities in attractive country settings such as along beaches, in the mountains or in forested areas. Resort vacations were, however, something that only the elite, with their perceived need to commune with nature, could aspire to.


Everyone dreamed of relaxing and enjoying themselves at a vacation resort such as this one, which was probably imaginary.


The ultimate resort was located in the country beside a lake or river, where the air was fresh and pure, and where guests could take part in all types of outdoor activities.


With the expansion of railway service, well-to-do urbanites could travel to the countryside to enjoy vacations of a few days or weeks, or even the whole summer.


From their late-19th-century introduction right up until the middle of the 20th century, vacation resorts were beyond the reach of all but the most privileged members of society.

© Musée McCord Museum