I hear my uncle tuning his violin, it is a sign that there is going to be a gathering this evening. I have the impression that there will be a lot of dancing since I also see my brother getting out his wooden spoons. I love these wakes where everyone gets together, family, neighbors, etc. At home, every occasion is a good time to get together. Every gathering becomes a celebration, whether it’s Christmas, sugaring off time or a corn roast.

During the evening, the young men will twirl the pretty ladies, while the older ones might smoke a pipe and play checkers or cards by the fire. One of my favorite times is when it is quiet and my grandmother tells us stories. She likes to tell us the story about the enchanted canoe to remind us that many men are in the lumber camps in winter to cut wood. Since these work camps are far away, most of the men have to spend the holidays in the forest and dream of returning to see their families. This is the origin of the tale “La chasse-galerie”, in which it is said that the lumberjacks made a pact with the devil so that he would fly their canoe to their village for an evening.

Music, song and dance animate the evenings. But there is also fun during the day. In summer and fall, men go fishing and hunting and sometimes hold horse races. In the winter, I love to skate and take sleigh rides. In the big cities of Quebec and Montreal, there are even places reserved for recreation. There are parks and skating rinks where we play a new game called hockey!

Author:  Service national du Récit de l’univers social

See French Video: Loisirs et divertissements La Quebec vers 1905 at http://primaire.recitus.qc.ca/sujets/10/vie-quotidienne/3780

See also – Traces of the past:


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