Montréal in 1900

The Royal Victoria Hospital, Montréal ca. 1900

I was gifted a picture-book from around 1900, technically a ‘souvenir’ book all about Montréal dating from the turn of the 20th century, a few years back, but never got around to scanning the pics. It’s amazing how things have changed, though I’m certain you’ll all be glad to know that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s fascinating how elements of our culture, society and general characteristics haven’t changed a bit, even though in some areas the urban environment is completely different, seemingly changing with every generation. What a paradoxical city we live in! With regards to the above, notice how clean it looks, the well-manicured lawns and the subtle curves of the paved walk. Also, check out the gatehouse. Is it any wonder, upon visiting my brother for the first time here in 1988 I asked my father ‘why we were visiting a castle?’

Place d'Armes, looking Southeast, ca. 1900

Here’s the financial centre of Montréal, circa 1900. The New York Life Insurance Building, to the left, was the first skyscraper in Canada. Built between 1887 and 1889, it would house the premier legal library in Canada on the 9th and 10th floors, just below the clock. Also found on this square back in 1900, the Bank of Montréal’s head-office, the Post Office, numerous smaller banks and insurance companies, let alone the still-dominating twin spires of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Bank of Montréal head-office and Post Office building, Place d'Armes ca. 1900

Sherbrooke Street, ca. 1900

Even though it clearly states ‘looking West’, I can imagine it would’ve looked about the same facing East. Can’t figure the cross-street though. Love the residential character of Sherbrooke Street back then.

Peel Street High School, where the Cours Mont-Royal now stands

I wonder if downtown public schools will ever make a come-back. It feels odd living in a city where the only downtown schools are generally private, or FACE. May become a necessity if the city is successful in encouraging more people to emigrate back into the city.

Harbourfront, Montréal ca. 1900

This picture looks as though it should be in the dictionary next to the expression ‘hustle & bustle’.

St-Catherine's looking east from Peel

Again, notice the residential feel to some of our busiest, highest capacity urban streets. Seems quaint by comparison.

2 thoughts on “Montréal in 1900”

  1. I think the Sherbrooke Street photo looking west might have been taken from the corner of Guy/Côte-des-Neiges, with the trees in the distant right occupying the property of the Sulpician Order…maybe…

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