Victoria Bridge: The Vital Link


127 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-7735-0964-X
DDC 388.09714




Reviewed by Terry A. Crowley

Terry A. Crowley is an associate professor of history at the University
of Guelph and author of Agnes Macphail and the Politics of Equality.


The McCord Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum contain the two most
exquisite collections of early Canadiana in the country. Those who have
visited the recently renovated and expanded McCord might have been lucky
enough to catch its inaugural exhibition on the history of Montreal.
Elements of this book constituted part of that exhibit.

Here we have the visuals from the Montreal show splendidly reproduced
with four meritorious texts that establish their setting in a larger
intellectual way. McGill historian Brian Young introduces the setting at
the point when railways were about to transform Montreal into an
industrial centre (that is, during the middle of the 19th century). As
the first human construct to span the St. Lawrence, the Victoria Bridge,
when it was completed in 1859, was the vital link in a revolutionary new
transportation system that would transform life in the area. Curators
Stanley Triggs and Conrad Graham provide well-rounded and comprehensive
accounts of the engineering, construction, and opening celebrations of
what was regarded as a monument to human progress. Concluding the book
is historian Gilles Lauzon’s account of the impact of
industrialization on Montreal and contiguous areas in Quebec.

This is history at its best: clearly written, informative,
comprehensive, and well illustrated. It is a publication that rivals the
quality of the McCord’s collections.


Triggs, Stanley., “Victoria Bridge: The Vital Link,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 18, 2024,