The roads were often poorly maintained. In fact, each landowner had to maintain the section of road that crossed his land, whether he used it or not, in keeping with the seigneurial system. At the beginning of the 19th century, the village road inspector suggested that the roads be transformed into toll roads.
The first toll road
With the implementation of the new system, the Montreal Turnpike Trust (later called the Toll Gate Commission), created in 1840, and its trustees maintained these roads and the toll roads were of better quality than the other roads. Thus, the Chemin du Roy, one of the most travelled roads, became one of the first toll roads on the island. Like the other toll roads, it was paved for a width of 18 feet (5.5m), on top of 9 inches of crushed rock.
In exchange, the company was authorized to collect a toll from anyone and any vehicle leaving or entering the city. Gates were located at the edges of the city, to the east, north and west. In 1840, a toll gate was erected on the north side of Wellington St., near the intersection of that street with Butler Avenue.
Resistance to the toll
During the first years, resistance to the toll was very strong and could take the form of a refusal to pay, going around the gates, and even intimidation. In 1846, the Pointe-aux-Trembles toll gate collector felt so threatened that the trust paid for a bodyguard for him. In order to keep people from going around the toll gates, a fine of 10 chelins was imposed on those who used that method to avoid the tolls. Penalties were also imposed on land owners who allowed people to travel across their land to avoid the gate.