Jean-Baptiste Lagacé was the first professor of aesthetics and art history in Canada. In 1897, Lagacé started using sets of magic lantern slides to illustrate public lectures he presented in literary circles. In 1904, he was granted the first Art History chair in Canada (University Laval in Montreal, 1904-1944). Lagacé also taught art history to artists and workers. In particular, he gave many lectures at the Monument National between 1912 and 1944.
The use of lantern slides already had a long history in the education and entertainment fields when Lagacé decided to incorporate them into his lectures on art. Recognized as a form of “educational recreation”, these displays complemented the more scholarly side of his lectures. At around the same time, the first screenings of animated views were also frequently accompanied by the sometimes learned and sometimes frivolous commentaries of film lecturers.