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© McCord Museum
The Montreal Shoe Trade.-No.1, Messrs. Fogarty's Factory, corner St. Catherine and St. Lawrence Main Streets
Eugene Haberer
1871, 19th century
Ink on paper - Photolithography
15.8 x 22.9 cm
Gift of Mr. Colin McMichael
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

With the support of banks, canals and railways, industries developed in cities like Montreal, where female, child and immigrant labour kept production costs low. Manufacturers of consumer products such as shoes, sewing machines, and beer benefited from strong government, good transportation facilities and protection from foreign competition. Commerce and industry would become strong supporters of federation. The Molsons and the Grand Trunk, for example, played important roles in financing and managing the political campaigns of federalist politicians like George-Étienne Cartier.


Much of Canada's industrial production was centred in Montreal, from where it could be shipped across Canada or sent around the world by rail or boat. Shoes went from being custom-made to factory-made. The Fogarty Factory was one on the many enterprises in the Montreal shoe industry. In 1871, it was one of the 117 shoe companies in Montreal.


The Fogarty factory was located on the corner of St. Lawrence and St. Catherine Streets. The horse-drawn streetcar indicates how many workers may have arrived at work, while goods are being delivered by carts in the background.


By 1871, machines used in shoemaking were being imported from the United States. This allowed three-storey factories like Fogarty's to employ hundreds of workers, many of whom were women.


The shoe industry was the city's largest employer. Statistics for 1872 show that 25 000 people depended on it for their livelihood. Working people, across Canada, turned to factory-made shoes or clothes. They would soon be ordering such goods by catalogue.

© Musée McCord Museum