MP-0000.236.9 | Flood, Chaboillez Square, Montreal, QC, about 1886

Flood, Chaboillez Square, Montreal, QC, about 1886
George Charles Arless
About 1886, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Albumen process
19 x 24 cm
Gift of Mr. H. L. St. George
© McCord Museum
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Keys to History

Montreal was repeatedly struck by floods in the 19th century, as on this memorable day in 1886 in Chaboillez Square.

Such floods often occurred after a winter or spring thaw. They were caused by ice jams formed as the river's ice cover broke up into huge slabs, creating a dam and forcing the upstream waters to rise. These were spectacular events, with masses of ice as much as seven metres high.

Source : Disasters and Calamities [Web tour], by Nathalie Lampron (see Links)

  • What

    Montreal's flood of 1886 put much of the old town under 1.2 metres (4 feet) of water. That prompted the harbour commissioners to order a seawall built to prevent ice damage and flooding.

  • Where

    During the 1886 flood in Montreal, the water spread north to Victoria Square and the foot of Beaver Hall Hill.

  • When

    Floods devastated the Old Montreal area in 1861, 1869 and, especially, 1886, the city's worst inundation of the 19th century.

  • Who

    Marguerite Godefroy Chaboillez sold several plots of land to the City of Montreal in the 1800s. Today, the Montreal Planetarium stands on the original square that bore her name, which has been given to a nearby site.