In the early 1890s in the United States, the Edison company developed a device that made possible personal viewing of individual animated views, the Kinetoscope. The Canadian premiere of this invention occurred in December 1894 in the offices of the Montreal Daily Star, where several Kinetoscopes were installed for several weeks to satisfy the curiosity of the Montreal public.
During the same period in France, the Lumière company invented a camera-projector, the Cinématographe. Instead of selling the device, Lumière’s various camera operators handled its use. It was thus a Lumière operator, Louis Minier, who projected the first views in Canada, in Montreal, on June 27, 1896. The Cinématographe was especially suited for itinerant filming and exhibition : it was a small device no larger than a shoebox that could shoot views (on negative film), print positives and project the film. Lumière operators travelled across Quebec until 1898.
The Edison company responded by developing its own projector, once again named the Kinetoscope. Unlike Lumière, Edison sold its projectors. This explains why many cinemas were equipped with Kinetoscopes for some twenty years. It is also likely that the projector Léo-Ernest Ouimet modified for his theatre was a Kinetoscope.