Growing Up Healthy in the 20th Century
Guaranteed Pure Milk Company delivery wagon No. 36, Montreal, QC, about 1910
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1910, 20th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Gelatin silver process
12.7 x 17.8 cm
Gift of the Guaranteed Pure Milk Co.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: horse drawn (374) , Photograph (77678) , Transportation (2517)
Keys to History
In 1914 only a quarter of the milk drunk in Montreal was pasteurized, meaning heated to a temperature high enough to kill any cholera, tuberculosis or typhoid bacilli it might contain. At the time, only better-off people living in the west end of the city could get pasteurized milk, delivered on wagons like the one shown here. Yet milk pasteurization had a major impact in helping reduce infant mortality caused by diarrhea. In underprivileged neighbourhoods in Montreal, milk dispensaries, the Gouttes de lait, were set up beginning in 1910. At these infant care centres, mothers could get safe, pure milk for their babies, free of charge, as well as medical attention and advice about hygiene. In 1925 the City of Montreal made it compulsory to pasteurize milk and assigned inspectors to enforce the regulations.
This photograph shows a milkman for the Guaranteed Pure Milk Company with his horse and wagon in front of the company's head office and processing plant on Ste. Catherine Street West.
From its plant in the west end of Montreal, the Guaranteed Pure Milk Company distributed its milk in the wealthy neighbourhood known as the Golden Square Mile.
The Guaranteed Pure Milk Company was founded in 1900. In 1910 it was one of the most modern dairies in the city.
In 1910 Montreal had hundreds of milkmen. Most of them were independent tradesmen who operated their own exclusive milk runs.