What happened to the Montreal harbour ice shove?
Slow-moving mountains of ice once battered the Old Port
They were surreal sights: mountains of ice, some as high as several storeys, pummeling Montreal's Old Port.
For 19th-century Montrealers, the springtime threat of a wall of ice plowing down their livelihoods and paralyzing the port was an ever-present threat. And when an ice shove happened, it was unstoppable, taking out everything its path.
"If you were one of the port commissioners, or if you had infrastructure in the port, you were probably not very happy," said Tyler Wood, a guide at the Centre d'histoire de Montréal.
"But if you were just a passerby and you were walking through, it was a spectacle. Before the internet, people probably came down here to check out the ice shoves."
An ice slab was at once both terrifying and the Insta-worthy destination of choice for Victorian-era tourists.
People stood atop the massive chunks of ice like mountaineers, snapping photographs. They sent postcards to their friends.
But just what caused the Montreal ice shoves, and why don't we see them today? Wood has the answers.
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