Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent

Back to one’s roots

Sports had long been encouraged in British culture. They were seen as a chance for (mostly) young men to compete, measure up and out-do themselves. True sportsmen made the most of their holidays to be in nature and reawaken the adventurer within.

Though fly fishing and hunting with hounds had long been reserved for the aristocracy, this tradition eased in the 19th century. The provincial government granted sportsmen fishing and hunting rights in the backcountry on both sides of the St. Lawrence. The earnings from these licences funded the upkeep of trails, the patrolling of the areas and the prevention of poaching. However, this also had the effect of shutting out many long-time users—Aboriginals, Métis or Canadien farmers—and meant the loss of rights, food and income for these groups.

In summer, most sportsmen fished. Autumn was for hunting, when tourists and summer residents were few and far between. While ducks, woodcocks, Canada geese and snow geese were hunted close to summer residences, the hunting of larger game required longer and more well-prepared expeditions far from inhabited areas. 

Vacationers would usually be guided on these hunting trips by locals. Each helped portage to the best of their ability and slept in tents or, more often, in rough log-cabin camps. These elegant adventurers had to follow the rules, such as the number of kills and precise descriptions. This was how they played fair with Mother Nature!

A family enjoys the summer, behind an opulent house. A child rides a bike, others play tennis or chat.

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