Before planes, trains and automobiles…
When people had to go to the village, they had to go on foot. In the summer, they wore moccasins. In the winter, they wore moccasins and snowshoes. People could go just about anywhere by foot. But walking was slow and tiring. If their family had enough money, it could buy a horse or two. The “Canadian” horse was sturdy and well adapted to the climate. The kids rode on the horses and the parents used it to pull a vehicle.
From spring to fall, people used a cart for work and a carriage for getting around. Depending on the season, the roads could be dusty or muddy, which made walking unpleasant. Travelling tended to be the most comfortable on beautiful winter days when the rivers were frozen and the snow was packed hard. In the winter months, people used a sled for work and a sleigh for getting around.
For longer distances, people travelled by canoe, boat or ship. The canoe was the lightest and fastest of the three. It took four to six days to canoe from Québec to Montréal. In addition to bark canoes, there were also dugout canoes, which were made of a tree trunk hollowed out in the shape of a canoe. To transport a lot of cargo, people would use a boat. It could hold more cargo, but was slower; it took nine days to travel from Québec to Ȋle Jésus. People would stop at night and leave again before sunrise. For even longer trips, people could take a tall ship from Québec to Louisbourg, the West Indies or France.
Author: Léon Robichaud
See also – Traces of the past: