William Notman left Glasgow in 1856. He had gone bankrupt and was at risk of court proceedings. Two years later he had set up as a photographer in Montreal. His was the most successful photographic business in nineteenth-century Canada. He recorded the building of the railways and the Canadian fur trade. Notman is also remembered for his scenes of ordinary Canadian life and portraits of the Montreal elite. His business expanded with studios in Boston and Toronto and several in New England.