Traces. Places. Memories.


1760-1849: Consolidation


Although French is the language most universally spoken, the newspapers, the notices and even the shop-signs of French tradesmen are in English. Commercial undertakings are almost all in their hands. They are really the ruling class in Canada. I doubt if this will long be so.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Voyages en Sicile et aux États-Unis, 1831.

1750s: War in Europe echoed through the Americas. 1760: Montréal became British and was transformed again. Its language and architecture were English, its inhabitants were French Canadian, Irish and Scottish, and Montréal became Canada’s economic capital.

A key event

1849: Parliament is burning!

On April 25, 1849, an angry crowd set fire to the Parliament of United Canada (the current southern parts of Québec and Ontario) to protest against the adoption of a law. The rioters were Tories, members of the conservative political party of British merchants. Since a responsible government had come into power, they had lost their political power and were in the opposition. The Parliament was located just in front of the CHM.

What’s left from this era?

Notre-Dame Church

The current Notre-Dame Church is the second to bear this name. It was built to replace the old 17th-century church (1672 to 1830), which was located where Rue Notre-Dame is now. It took five years to build the new parish church, from 1824 to 1829. The church was inaugurated without its towers, which were built between 1841 and 1843. The church was made a basilica (title given by the pope to certain large churches) in 1982.