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© McCord Museum
Montreal from Mount Royal, QC, 1911 (?)
Wm. Notman & Son
Probably 1911, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum


Visitors have always discovered Montreal from the summit of Mount Royal. This panoramic photo, produced by the Notman Studio in 1911, takes us back in time to observe the city on the eve of the First World War. The contrast with the Victorian Montreal of 1863 is striking.

The panorama can no longer take in the whole city. Montreal is overflowing its boundaries on all sides. New neighbourhoods and new suburbs had appeared, along the river, but also north of the mountain. The explosion of industrialization and transportation had also radically transformed the city. The smokestacks of factories and grain elevators in the port overshadowed the church spires. Railway facilities, stations and shops, wiped out whole sectors of the suburbs and the surrounding countryside. The skyscrapers of St. James and McGill streets asserted Montreal's financial vocation, while a new commercial and cultural downtown was taking shape in the St. Catherine corridor.

Significant changes in the urban structure and architecture expressed the economic and cultural vitality of Montreal. Sharp contrasts in the urban landscape also revealed the social inequalities that characterized the Canadian metropolis in the Edwardian era.

Source: Virtual Exhibition Urban Life through Two Lenses

© Musée McCord Museum