The First photograph of Montreal

comedy shows near me - First Image of Montreal

You may visit the city for your favorite Montreal comedy club or the world’s most delicious poutine. Regardless of the reason, you’ve almost certainly noticed our city’s many historical sites while wandering the streets. In fact, our city is more than 380 years old with a massive amount of interesting history. For those history buffs wanting to take a break from comedy clubs in Montreal to learn a bit more about the past, a fun tale is that of the first image of Montreal.

The Importance of Photography in Preserving History

The advancement of digital technology has made snapping and storing photos easy. Every day, experts estimate that people capture billions of photos. It’s easy to see how we may take for granted this technology that is now so common. After all, if you have a dog or cat, just think of how many pet photos are on your smartphone right now.

However, photography has played an extremely important role in preserving history since its inception. French scientist Joseph Niepce took the very first photograph in the entire world in 1826. Titled “View from the Window at Le Gras,” the photo depicts a view of the courtyard from a window upstairs in his home.

As photography grew more popular, it became important in preserving history. Photos allow us to have glimpses into lives, places, and events that no longer exist. They can also help us to understand how things have changed over time. For Montreal, photos can help us look back at nearly half of its history.

The Earliest Known Photo of Montreal

First image of Montreal - Unearthing Montreal's First Known Photograph

Robert Lisle/Library and Archives Canada

While Joseph Niepce took the first photograph ever in France, it wasn’t too long afterwards that someone captured the first photograph of Montreal. The first picture taken in Montreal is from the early 1850s using an interesting method.

We do not know the exact date of Montreal’s first photograph; however, estimations suggest that someone captured the first image of Montreal in either 1851 or 1853. This date is based on the art curation team from Montreal’s McCord Stewart Museum, an excellent place to visit for those wanting to learn more about Montreal’s rich history.

This particular photograph is quite different from the digital ones today and even the ones taken on film a generation ago. It was taken using daguerreotype, which was the first publicly available process for taking a photo. It was popular throughout the 1840s and 1850s, involving placing a polished sheet of silver-plated copper that had been treated with light-sensitive fumes into a camera. Once there, it was exposed to the light and treated it with mercury vapor to make the image visible. Then, they gave it a liquid chemical treatment to remove sensitivity to light.

It was this complex process that resulted in Montreal’s first known photograph. What was the photograph of? It shows a landscape view of Beaver Hall Hill and Saint Antoine Street. Both St. Andrew’s Church and St. Patrick’s Church are visible in the image. The first image of Montreal provides a glimpse into our city nearly two centuries ago.

Be Sure to See More of Montreal’s Amazing History – and our Comedy!

Throughout the city, you will find many opportunities to immerse yourself in the history of Montreal, including museums and historic sites. For those wanting an evening of laughs, look no further for your favorite comedy club in Montreal. Comedyville is a great Montreal comedy club to enjoy a night out for some of the best comics from Montreal and beyond.


Post by Eddie Case, exclusively for, All rights reserved.
Comedyville is a Comedy Club located in Downtown Montreal. 

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