The numerous warehouse stores constructed between 1850 and 1900 were a sign of a new era in Montréal's economy: industrialization. Designed exclusively to the manufacture, storage and selling of goods, the warehouse stores took advantage of the latest developments in architectural design-including the use of metal beams-to add floors, incorporate larger windows, and display ever-greater prestige. The ground floor continued to be used for showcasing and sales. On the upper floors, however, living quarters gave way to workshops and factories of all sorts. Towards the end of the 19th century, these warehouse-stores eventually gave rise to the first department stores. The era of mass consumption had begun!
The numerous warehouse stores constructed between 1850 and 1900 were a sign of a new era in Montréal's economy: industrialization. Designed exclusively to the manufacture, storage and selling of goods, the warehouse stores took advantage of the latest developments in architectural design-including the use of metal beams-to add floors, incorporate larger windows, and display ever-greater prestige. The ground floor continued to be used for showcasing and sales. On the upper floors, however, living quarters gave way to workshops and factories of all sorts. Towards the end of the 19th century, these warehouse-stores eventually gave rise to the first department stores. The era of mass consumption had begun!

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

After 1800, the former fortified area became the city's business centre. Commercial buildings began to take up more and more room. Warehouses were built along the St. Lawrence and residence-stores began to appear in town. The "residence-store" was a sort of upgrade of the merchant residence of the preceding century. It had much more commercial space on the ground flour, and several apartments on the upper floors. The storefronts were built primarily from cut stone and boasted large windows to showcase merchandise. In order to make the residence-store as profitable as possible, the owners would often live outside of downtown and rent out their own living quarters above the store for a premium price.
After 1800, the former fortified area became the city's business centre. Commercial buildings began to take up more and more room. Warehouses were built along the St. Lawrence and residence-stores began to appear in town. The "residence-store" was a sort of upgrade of the merchant residence of the preceding century. It had much more commercial space on the ground flour, and several apartments on the upper floors. The storefronts were built primarily from cut stone and boasted large windows to showcase merchandise. In order to make the residence-store as profitable as possible, the owners would often live outside of downtown and rent out their own living quarters above the store for a premium price.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Between 1800 and 1835, strong British immigration turned Montréal into an English-speaking city. But around 1860, the migration of rural French-Canadians into the city, once a trickle, began to intensify. After several generations on the land, rural French-Canadian families began to run out of land to split among their numerous children. With no future in farming, these children began to flood into Montréal by the thousand, looking for work in urban factories, which often lacked workers. By 1870, the tide had turned and Montréal was once again a French-speaking city, as it remains to this day.
Between 1800 and 1835, strong British immigration turned Montréal into an English-speaking city. But around 1860, the migration of rural French-Canadians into the city, once a trickle, began to intensify. After several generations on the land, rural French-Canadian families began to run out of land to split among their numerous children. With no future in farming, these children began to flood into Montréal by the thousand, looking for work in urban factories, which often lacked workers. By 1870, the tide had turned and Montréal was once again a French-speaking city, as it remains to this day.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

The influx of workers attracted by the new factories caused Montréal to grow too quickly. Sewage from the many latrines tended to run off the streets and infiltrat the soil, contaminating the city's drinking water. A pre-industrial city was not a healthy place to live. Epidemics swept over the city with unprecedented brutality. In 1832, cholera killed 2000 Montrealers in a single month. The suddenness of the epidemic caused people to shun anyone who was contagious, and the dead were left unburied, forcing priests to intervene. As the epidemics continued, people sought solutions, but no one knew if it was the air or the water that was making people sick. Cholera hit again in 1834, 1849 and 1854. In 1847, it was typhus.
The influx of workers attracted by the new factories caused Montréal to grow too quickly. Sewage from the many latrines tended to run off the streets and infiltrat the soil, contaminating the city's drinking water. A pre-industrial city was not a healthy place to live. Epidemics swept over the city with unprecedented brutality. In 1832, cholera killed 2000 Montrealers in a single month. The suddenness of the epidemic caused people to shun anyone who was contagious, and the dead were left unburied, forcing priests to intervene. As the epidemics continued, people sought solutions, but no one knew if it was the air or the water that was making people sick. Cholera hit again in 1834, 1849 and 1854. In 1847, it was typhus.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

By building a large commercial building on the site of the old market place in 1802, Jacob Würtele proved himself a shrewd businessman. Three of the inn's four sides opened onto the most bustling neighbourhood of the time. One overlooked the market area, where the most popular shops were located. Another faced the riverbank, where immigrants, voyagers and merchandise came ashore. And a third opened onto a small bustling street linking the port to the rest of the town. To judge by the archeological findings, the Würtele Inn was a popular place, though whether this was because of its wide selection of alcoholic beverages or its delectable menu is not known.
By building a large commercial building on the site of the old market place in 1802, Jacob Würtele proved himself a shrewd businessman. Three of the inn's four sides opened onto the most bustling neighbourhood of the time. One overlooked the market area, where the most popular shops were located. Another faced the riverbank, where immigrants, voyagers and merchandise came ashore. And a third opened onto a small bustling street linking the port to the rest of the town. To judge by the archeological findings, the Würtele Inn was a popular place, though whether this was because of its wide selection of alcoholic beverages or its delectable menu is not known.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

In 1861, the Roy al Insurance Company built its head office in the middle of the port, on Point-à-Callière, where Montréal was founded. With its gate tower, spectacular windows, and elaborate friezes, the triangular building was in an Italian style very much in fashion in England at the time. Built next to the water, it recalled a Venetian villa. The building, which became the main customs house between 1871 and 1914, had all the modern conveniences: central heating, gas lighting and, the very latest gadget, indoor toilets with running water! In 1992, Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of

Archaeology and History, was built on the same architectural footprint as the original Roy al Insurance building, which was demolished in 1951.
In 1861, the Roy al Insurance Company built its head office in the middle of the port, on Point-à-Callière, where Montréal was founded. With its gate tower, spectacular windows, and elaborate friezes, the triangular building was in an Italian style very much in fashion in England at the time. Built next to the water, it recalled a Venetian villa. The building, which became the main customs house between 1871 and 1914, had all the modern conveniences: central heating, gas lighting and, the very latest gadget, indoor toilets with running water! In 1992, Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of

Archaeology and History, was built on the same architectural footprint as the original Roy al Insurance building, which was demolished in 1951.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Around 1830, Montréal was in the process of becoming the "general store" of rural Québec, Ontario and the other areas opening up to colonization. Whether it was goods imported from England such as porcelain, tools, farm implements and cloth, or exported goods such as wheat, wood and potash, everything passed through Montréal. Montréal merchants, the people responsible for this unprecedented economic boom, demanded a customs house. Their wish was granted in 1832. In 1836, the authorities constructed a new building on the Place du Vieux-Marché. The building's architect, John Ostell, took his inspiration from an Italian villa, designing a cut-stone building with sober lines and balanced spaces. To emphasize the building's function, Ostell created two façades for the building. One overlooked the St. Lawrence and the port, where goods from the world over came ashore; the other, on rue Saint-Paul, greeted merchants coming to collect their merchandise and pay the applicable taxes.
Around 1830, Montréal was in the process of becoming the "general store" of rural Québec, Ontario and the other areas opening up to colonization. Whether it was goods imported from England such as porcelain, tools, farm implements and cloth, or exported goods such as wheat, wood and potash, everything passed through Montréal. Montréal merchants, the people responsible for this unprecedented economic boom, demanded a customs house. Their wish was granted in 1832. In 1836, the authorities constructed a new building on the Place du Vieux-Marché. The building's architect, John Ostell, took his inspiration from an Italian villa, designing a cut-stone building with sober lines and balanced spaces. To emphasize the building's function, Ostell created two façades for the building. One overlooked the St. Lawrence and the port, where goods from the world over came ashore; the other, on rue Saint-Paul, greeted merchants coming to collect their merchandise and pay the applicable taxes.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

An architect and surveyor from London , John Ostell came to Canada in 1834. He married Éléonore Gauvin, a Catholic French-Canadian from a prominent Montréal family. The marriage opened doors for Ostell in the French-speaking community and with the Catholic clergy. Ostell was Montréal's most important architect in the years 1835 to 1860. The first public building he designed was the Customs house. He also designed the McGill University arts pavilion, the façade of the église de la Visitation, and the towers of Notre-Dame presbytery. With his nephew Maurice Perreault, he built the Montréal courthouse, the Saint-Jacques and Sainte-Anne churches and the hospice of the sours de la Providence de Saint-Joseph. Ostell was also active in civic life. He was appointed inspector of the city's roads and justice of the peace.
An architect and surveyor from London , John Ostell came to Canada in 1834. He married Éléonore Gauvin, a Catholic French-Canadian from a prominent Montréal family. The marriage opened doors for Ostell in the French-speaking community and with the Catholic clergy. Ostell was Montréal's most important architect in the years 1835 to 1860. The first public building he designed was the Customs house. He also designed the McGill University arts pavilion, the façade of the église de la Visitation, and the towers of Notre-Dame presbytery. With his nephew Maurice Perreault, he built the Montréal courthouse, the Saint-Jacques and Sainte-Anne churches and the hospice of the sours de la Providence de Saint-Joseph. Ostell was also active in civic life. He was appointed inspector of the city's roads and justice of the peace.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • explain the importance of the foundation of Montreal in New France from 1800 to 1900;
  • put into context the socio-economic cleavages specific to that time;
  • demonstrate the importance of Montreal as a hub for British North America.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans