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© McCord Museum
The refreshment tables, Sohmer Park, Montreal, QC, 1890, copied about 1910
Cumming & Brewis
About 1910, 20th century
Ink on paper mounted on card - Halftone
10 x 10 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

By the end of the 19th century, the most popular form of entertainment, especially for families, was going to the new amusement parks. There, the public could take in a concert or a circus act, watch the hot-air balloons, enjoy a stroll and some refreshments and have fun with family and friends. People from all walks of life could watch entertainments that only a few decades before had been reserved for the most privileged members of society. And how did such crowds get to the amusement park? On the new tramway systems, especially after the introduction in the early 1890s of electric cars.


The early amusement parks combined features of music gardens, "café-concerts" and world fairs.


Sohmer Park, one of Montreal's most famous amusement parks, was located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River.


Amusement parks were extremely popular at the end of the 19th century, when there were few concert halls in Canadian cities.


In addition to being a founder of Sohmer Park, the musician Ernest Lavigne (1851-1909) was for many years one of its greatest attractions: he starred in numerous concerts there.

© Musée McCord Museum