The history of public bathhouses in Montréal dates back to the 19th and 20th centuries, to the time when rampant urbanization forced the residents in a number of neighbourhoods in the city to cram into tiny dwellings, without a bathtub or hot water. The construction of a number of public bathhouses compensated for this situation, by making hygiene accessible to everyone.
The first bathhouses were made from pools directly immersed in the existing watercourses, including the Lachine Canal (Wellington bathhouse) and the St. Lawrence River (Hochelaga bathhouse). Since bathtubs became widespread in homes at the beginning of the 20th century, the public bathhouses were used, from then on, for sports and recreational purposes. They also changed names and became swimming pools..