Bill struts his stuff

Notman image, c1875-78. Montreal Harbour view from the Custom House

Toronto. Some members collect mostly images. And a very small number of those folk seek images for a select studio(s) or images using a specific process. George Dunbar came across this article called, “Photography in Canada” and thoughtfully shared it with us. As a growing nation dominated by two behemoths (first the UK and then the USA) there are all too few articles about Canadians in all walks of life.

Back to photography and image collecting. A popular set of studios were those of William Notman. Mr Notman was so diligent in recording his work that much of it is in a museum in Montreal (McCord Museum associated with McGill University) and readily available to scholars. From time to time we have had folks from the museum join us to talk about the holdings.

The particular image shown here is identified as, “From the Custom House, Montréal.    William Notman, circa 1875-78, albumen print showing Montreal at the end of the age of sail, when it was the hub of the Province of Canada’s economy. (courtesy NGC).”

I  found the dating rather odd, since the Province of Canada ceased to exist in 1867 when the Dominion of Canada was formed and the Province of Canada became Ontario (Upper Canada, Canada West) and Quebec (Lower Canada, Canada East). Montreal was indeed the ‘hub of the economy’ back then. An uncle on my wife’s side once said the age of sail continued to the end of the 1800s. His father (my wife’s grandfather) joined the British Navy and sailed on ”square riggers” in the late 1890s/early 1900s. Like many technological innovations changes in ship design began many decades earlier.

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