Chapter 7 IntroductionHochelaga 1500-1642Ville-Marie 1642-1665French Empire 1699-1763Small French Town 1665-1760Conquered City 1760-1800British Commercial Takeover 1800-1850Industrial City 1850-1896Canada's Metropolis 1896-1914North-American City 1914-1929Depression and War 1930-1945Modern City 1945-1960Québec's Metropolis 1960-1992ConclusionQuizEducational Resources

A prominent city

The impact of

A British city with a French heartbeat

Chapter 7 / INDUSTRIAL CITY / A prominent city  Previous pageNext page

Towards the middle of the 19th century, Montréal embarked on a new chapter in its history, which would make it Canada’s most prominent industrial centre. The forces of industrialization would have a lasting effect on Montréal, shaping both the city and its population.

A prominent city
Montréal’s population grew from 107,000 in 1871 to over 267,000 in 1901. A rural exodus replaced immigration as hundreds of thousands of citizens left the countryside in hope of a better life. Most went to the United States, but many ended up in Montréal. New municipalities sprang up: Hochelaga to the east, Saint-Jean-Baptiste to the north and Saint-Henri to the southwest.

The city’s architecture was profoundly altered, and the flat roof and use of brickwork came into widespread use. The duplex appeared in working-class neighborhoods, evolving into the triplex, which in turn would eventually become the model for Montréal housing. With the introduction of steel structures and the elevator, the girth and height of new commercial buildings increased. Victorian architectural styles were abundant and widespread.

The city developed several public services, including an aqueduct, an underground sewer network and a Health Department. The city also inaugurated major parks, such as Mount Royal Park, La Fontaine Park and Sainte-Hélène’s Island.

Public services such as public transit, gas, electricity and the telephone, were managed by private companies. A horse-drawn tramway was inaugurated in 1861 and the electric streetcar followed thirty years later. The city’s gas utility had been operational since 1836, while the telephone would only make its appearance in 1877. Montréal’s many newspapers kept its citizens in touch with the outside world.

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Winter tramway
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