Montreal Dickens Fellowship
for the best of times

Dickens and Montreal


Sources:
VW - The Victoria Web: Dickens in Montreal
DP - David Perdue's: Charles Dickens Page
In 1842, Charles Dickens made his first North American tour and his first and only visit to Canada. He visited Niagara Falls, Toronto and Kingston briefly and then spent two weeks in Montreal, with a side trip to Quebec City.
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Dickens' American Travels Route
Click on Photo to Enlarge Image
DP

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VW

Dickens loved his time in Montreal, where he spent his time
directing and acting in theatricals put on by the British Garrison
To view performance playbills:
Playbill for Private Performance at Queen's Theatre,
25 May 1842 and
Playbill for Public Performance at Theatre Royal,
28 May 1842
(notice name of theatre) click here
There is some controversy surrounding the details of Dickens Montreal trip.

Mr. Paterson wrote an article entitled "Mystery of the Missing Theatre" in the Montreal Gazette on September 13, 1941. He explains the reference to the mysterious "Queen's Theatre" on the May 25th playbill.

Various mysteries regarding Dickens' visit are described by Andrew Paterson in The Dickensian, no. 261, December 1, 1941
Dickensian Mysteries from Montreal

Andrew Paterson subsequently wrote about the mysteries in The Dickensian, no. 262, March 1, 1942
The Montreal Theatre and another Mystery

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VW

Théâtre Royal à Montréal

for history of Théâtre Royal
follow link:
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/theatre-royal-emc/
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He performed at the Théâtre Royal which
stood on the site of the Bonsecours Market

Interior view of theatre
Bonsecours Market
VW

Commemorative Plaque

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VW

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Francso Rasco's Hotel
295 St-Paul Est, Montreal

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(1836)

Source: The Dickensian 28 (1932): 108
Scanned image, caption, and commentary
by Philip V. Allingham

VW

Dickens stayed at Rasco's Hotel which is still standing on St. Paul Street in Old Montreal across from the Bonsecours Market.
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(2012)

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Dickens purportedly wrote notes for "A Tale of Two Cities" at the site of the present day l'Usine de Spaghetti Restaurant (perhaps questionable since he only wrote this novel in 1859!)
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He found the governor's residence, the Chateau de Ramesay, charming
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Dickens himself wrote extensively about his trip in his book American Notes for General Circulation. In this book, he was very critical of the United States, but very complimentary to Montreal!
Two articles on the Victorian Web site give a very good summary of his visit and of the Montreal of his day:
Dickens visit to Montreal: Victorianweb.org
For Two Nights Only: Victorianweb.org

It is of interest to see what Montreal looked like in 1842. Follow link to view paintings of Montreal by artists of that period.
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Even his wife, Catherine, who accompanied him on his tour, participated in the private theatricals.

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There used to be a Charles Dickens Street in Old Montreal, but it was removed in 1999 to make way for a condominium.

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Goldie Morgentaler is a professor of English at the University of Lethbridge. Her essay entitled "Dickens in Canada", was published in Dickens Quarterly, 19, 3 in September 2002.
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In 2011, James Little published a short story called "Train Ride" in which he gives an account of Dickens visit to Montreal. cbc interview
 

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If you know of any other connection linking Dickens name, image or works to Monteal, please let us know so we can add it to our collection of interesting facts!
Did you know...
There is a "Pickwick" apartment building on Sherbrooke near Claremont?
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That Dickens' name is spelled out in stained glass in a window in the Westmount Library?
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Or that his name is used on the menus of the l'Usine de Spaghetti?