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Montreal, Canada

MONTREAL, a city of the province of Quebec, the commercial metropolis of the Dominion of Canada, situated on the S. side of the Island of Montreal, in the St. Lawrence river (here above 2 miles wide), 180 miles S.W. of Quebec, 620 miles from the sea, 420 miles N. of New York. Lat. 45° 31' N , lon. 73° 34' W. It is at the head of ocean navigation, and at the commencement of lake and river navigation ; and has railway communication with the chief cities and towns in the Dominion of Canada and the United States.

The Island of Montreal, on which the town is built, is situated at the confluence of the Ottawa with the St. Lawrence. It is 32 miles long by about 10 miles broad at the widest part, generally level with the exception of the mountain which rises N.W. of the city. The soil is for the most part fertile and well cultivated, and is watered by numerous small streams, and the climate particularly favorable for the growth of nearly every kind of grain, fruit and vegetable.

Montreal occupies a low tract of land about 2 miles wide between a consider-able and very beautiful elevation called "Mount Royal," and the river. It is divided into 9 wards, and has over 200 miles of streets and lanes. Some of the streets are narrow and ill paved but the majority will compare favorably with those of any other city on this continent. The principal streets have largo well built edifices, constructed chiefly of limestone quarried near the city. These buildings, combined with the effect of the lofty towers and spires, gives the city a very imposing appearance when viewed from a distance, Notre Dame is the main street running on the centre of the ridge on which the city is built, but St. James street is wider and more elegant. The chief business streets are St. Paul, Not e Dame, St. Lawrence, McGill, St. Joseph and Craig.

The city is well supplied with water and gas.

The principal public buildings are the City Hall, Court House, Post Office, Custom House, Seminary of St. Sulpice, Convent of Notre Dame, General Hospital, Grey Nunnery, Montreal College, McGill University, St. Mary's College, Young Men's Christian Association Building, Theatre Royal, Dominion Theatre, Medical School, Victoria Skating Rink, Protesta it House of Industry and Refuge, St. Bridgit's House of Refuge, Protestant Orphan Asylum, St. Patrick's Orphan Asylum, Deaf and Dumb Asylums (Protestant and Catholic), the Hotel Dieu, Ladies Benevolent Institution, Female Home, Protestant Infants Home, Queen's Hall, Mechanics Hall, Barracks, Drill Shed, Sailors Institute, St. George's Home, St. Andrew's Home, St. James Club, Crystal Pal ice, Montreal Telegraph Office, &c, and 8 markets, including the Bonsecours, a magnificent pile with a lofty dome, fronting the river. There are also a Society of Natural History, a Mechanics

Institute, a Canadian Institute, Mer-chants Exchange, Mercantile Library, Hoard of Trade, Cora Exchange, &c, and 58 churches viz: Church of Eng-land 12; Church of Rome 18; Church of Scotland 6; Presbyterian 5; Wesleyan Methodist 6; New Connexion Methodist 1; Baptist 3; Congregational 2; American Presbyterian 1; Unitarian 1; German Protestant 1; French Evangelical 1: Swedenborgian 1; and 2 Synagogues. The Cathedral of Notre Dame is capable of containing from 10/00 to 12,000 persons It is 255 feet long and 145 feet broad, with two towers 220 feet in height In the N.E. tower is a fine chime of bells, and in the N W is a bell weighing 3,000 tons. Christ Church Cathedral is the most perfect specimen of gothic architecture in America. It is built of Montreal limestone with Caen stone dressings, obtained from Normandy. The Church of the Gesu, a very imposing edifice, is 230 feet long and 102 feet wide, with a transept 152 long, and will accommodate over 4,530 persons. The walls and ceiling of the interior are beautifully frescoed. Another magnificent pile slowly being constructed is the Roman Catholic Bishop's Church,  St. Peter's It is after a model of its namesake in Rome, and will be one of the finest ecclesiastical edifices on this continent. Trinity, St. George, St. Andrew, St Paul, and the majority of the other churches are all exceedingly handsome edifices and add much to the beauty of the city.

The largest banking houses in the Dominion have their head offices in Montreal, are mostly situated in Place d'Armes and St. James street, and consist of very handsome and costly structures.

The harbor of Montreal, which is formed towards the St. Lawrence, is secure, and the quays are unsurpassed by those of any city in America; built of limestone, and uniting with the locks and cut stone wharves of the Lacbine Canal, they present, for several miles, a display of continuous masonry which h is few parallels. No unsightly warehouses disfigure the river side. A broad terrace, faced with grey limestone, the parapets of which are surmounted with a substantial iron railing, divides the city from the river throughout its whole extent. Improvements in the harbor (which is controlled by Commissioners) are yearly being made to accommodate the large increase of shipping.

The following table shows the number and tonnage of ocean vessels which arrived at Montreal during the past ten years, viz :

  Vessels Tons
1863 504 269,224
1864 378 161,911
1865 358 152,943
1866 516 205,775
1867 404 199,053
1868 478 198,759
1869 557 259,863
1870 680 316,846
1871 664 353,621
1872 872 696,795

The duties have increased from $1,913,440 in 1354 to $5,358,701 in 1872; and the value of imports was respectively $18,729,612 in 1854, and 240,088,665 in 1872. The value of exports in the latter year was $18,171,384.

The value of the principal articles imported in 1872 was:

Cottons $4,064,478
Fancy Goods 978,479
Iron and Hardware 3,416,127
Linen 649,250
Silks 1,139,157
Sugar 2,077,230
Tea 1,095,564
Woolens 5,420,559
Liquors— Brandy 199,429
                Gin 98,296
                Rum 16,170
               Whiskey 22,756
               Wine 329,331

Besides these, the more important articles imported were dried fruits, cigars, tobacco, oils, glass, molasses, spices, jeweler, leather, hosiery, hats,

Among the manufactories of Montreal are foundries of cast iron, distilleries, breweries, sugar refineries, soap and candle works, manufactories of hardware (including excellent cutlery), carriages and sleighs, com brooms, wooden wane of every description, glass, paints and drugs, edge tools, locomotives, steam engines, boilers, India rubber goods, printing presses, agricultural implements, musical instruments, paper, rope, sewing machines, types, pins, tobacco, woolen and cotton goods, boot and shoes, &c . &c. There are besides, saw and flouring mills, rolling mills, lead works, brass foundries, and many other industrial establishments.

Montreal is the seat of the Grand Trunk railway. The head offices and chief works are at Point St. Charles, a suburb in the western part of the city. The Victoria Bridge here spans the River St. Lawrence. The first stone of this great masterpiece of Stephenson was laid July 20th, 1854, and the first train crossed over it Dec. 19th, 1859. It is 9,184 lineal feet in length— 24 spans of 242 feet each and one (the centre, 60 feet above the river,) of 330 feet. The bridge cost nearly $7,000,000.

In 1873 there were in Montreal 58 churches (already enumerated) and 2 synagogues; 9 fire stations, 20 banks, 4 savings banks, about 40 assurance and insurance agencies, 3 medical schools, 2 general hospitals, an asylum for aged and infirm women, 3 orphan asylums, a lying in hospital, 2 magdalene asylums, a dispensary, a ladies benevolent society, 2 houses of refuge, an infants home, a newsboys home, and a number of institutions under charge of Sisters of Charity. There, were published in the same year 7 daily, 4 tri-weekly, 17 weekly, 1 fortnightly, and 15 monthly newspapers and periodicals ; besides other religious and scientific journals.

The educational means of the city comprise a University with faculties of law, art, science, and medicine, open to persons of all religious denominations ; a Roman Catholic Theological College, a Jesuit College, a High School, two Normal Schools, several classical and scientific academics, and a number of private and public schools; also two affiliated medical colleges, one to Bishop's College, Lennoxville, the other to Victoria College, Cobourg.

Montreal returns 3 members to the House of Commons and 3 to the Provincial Legislature. It is the seat of the Sec of the Metropolitan Bishop of Canada, and of the See of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Montreal. The climate in summer is hot, often reaching 90 in the shade ; and the winters are severe, the temperature ranging very often from zero to 10 and even 3u J below it. Pop. in 1844,44,093; 1851, 37,715; 1861, 90,323 ; and in 1871, 107,225 — composed chiefly of French Canadians, English, Irish and Scotch.

The following table shows the various religious denominations in Montreal in 1871:

Roman Catholics 77,930
Church of England 11,573
Presbyterians 9,104
Methodists 4,503
Baptists 928
Congregationalists 891
Unitarians 474
Jews 409
Lutherans 254
Brethren 149
Christian Conference 20
Evangelical Association 22
Universalists 30
Swedenborgians 18
Quakers 14
Irvingites 13
No religious belief 13
Not given 48
Other Denominations 782



The history of Montreal dates back to the 3rd of October, 1535, when Jacques Carrier first landed on its shores. An Indian village called Hochelaga existed lure at this time. The way to it was through large fields of Indian corn. Its outline was circular; and it was encompassed by three separate rows of palisades, or rather picket fences, one within the other, well secured and put together. A single entrance was left in this rude fortification, but guarded with pikes and stakes and every precaution taken against siege or attack. The cabins or lodges of the inhabitants, about 50 in number, were constructed in the form of a tunnel each 50 feet in length by 15 in breadth. They were formed of wood covered with bark. Above the doors of these houses as well as along the outer rows of palisades ran a gallery ascended by ladders, where stones end other missiles were laid in order for the defense of the place. Each house contained several chambers, and the whole were so arranged as to enclose an open court yard, where the fire was made Carder named the place Mount Royal. It first began to be settled by Europeans in 1542, a d exactly one century after the spot destined for the city was consecrated with due solemnities, commended to the "Queen of the Angels,' and called Ville Marie, a. name which it retained for a long period. In 1760 it was taken by the English. At this time it was a a well peopled town of an oblong form, surrounded by a wall flanked with eleven redoubts — a ditch about 8 feet deep and a proportionable width, but dry, and a fort and citadel, the batteries of which commanded the streets of the town from one end to the other. The town was at this time divided into upper and lower town, the upper town being the level of the present Court Horse In the lower town the merchants and men of business generally resided and here were situated the royal magazines, the armory, and the nunnery hospital. In the upper town were the principal buildings, such as the palace of the Governor, the houses of the chief officers, the Convent of the Recollets, the Jesuit's Church and Seminary, the Free School, and the Parish Church. the houses were solidly constructed in that semi-monastic style peculiar to Rouen, Caen and other towns in Normandy. Early in the present century vessels of more than 300 tons could not ascend to Montreal, and its foreign trade was carried on by small brigs and barges. In 1809 the first steam vessel, "The Accommodation," built by the lion. John Molson, made a trip to Quebec; she had berths for about 20 passengers. Years of industry, intlligence enterprise and labor have produced a mighty contrast — Ocean steamers of 4,000 tons, the magnificent floating palaces of the Richelieu Company, and ships from 700 to 2,000 tons, from all parts of the world, now lay along side the wharves of the harbor, which are not equal on this continent, in point of extent, accommodation, approach and cleanliness. In 1832 the cholera raged in Montreal with great violence carrying of 1,843 inhabitants in a population of little mote than 30,000 In April, 1849, a political mob burned the Parliamentary buildings (which were situated on the site of the Si. Ann's market , and the seat of Government was in consequence removed to Quebec, subsequently lo Toronto, and finally to Ottawa In July, 1852, a destructive fire laid waste a large part of the city, burning 1,108 houses and destroying property valued at $1,363,264 In 1800, the city was visited by the Prince of Wales; in 1862 by the Duke of Edinburgh: and in l869 Prince Arthur made it his residence for several months The Hotel Dieu was founded in 1644 by Madame de Bouillon, and six years afterwards the Convent of Noire Dame was founded by Mademoiselle Marguerrite de Bourgeois. In 1663, the Company of Montreal was dissolved, they having already sold their rights to the religions order of St. Sulpice at Pans, by whom was founded the Seminary belonging to that order, and still exiting in the city. The two oldest churches in Montreal are the Bonsecours (Roman Catholic) and St. Gabriel (Church of Scotland). Tho former was erected in 1658; was burnt in 1764, but rebuilt in 1771. The latter was built in 1791 Montreal is surrounded by villages whose population numbers over 20,000.

Lovell's Gazetteer of British North America, Edited by P.A. Crossby, 1873


Lovell's Gazetteer of British North America

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