Montréal had gardens and orchards but most were outside the walls, in the suburbs, or faubourgs. The hillsides of Mount Roy al were covered with apple, plum, cherry and pear trees, as well as gooseberry bushes. The owners hired gardeners or rented the gardens and orchards for money and goods (and the right to stroll in them). Surplus food was sold at market: first, easy-to-store cabbages, onions, carrots and beets; then beans, cucumbers, celery, leeks, asparagus, squash, pumpkins, lettuce and aromatic herbs. Among the crops grown are Montréal melons, which are renowned.
Montréal had gardens and orchards but most were outside the walls, in the suburbs, or faubourgs. The hillsides of Mount Roy al were covered with apple, plum, cherry and pear trees, as well as gooseberry bushes. The owners hired gardeners or rented the gardens and orchards for money and goods (and the right to stroll in them). Surplus food was sold at market: first, easy-to-store cabbages, onions, carrots and beets; then beans, cucumbers, celery, leeks, asparagus, squash, pumpkins, lettuce and aromatic herbs. Among the crops grown are Montréal melons, which are renowned.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Every year from 1667 to 1680, a "foire de la fourrure", or fur fair, was held in Montréal. Ottawa and Algonquin peoples, along with coureurs des bois, came from the back country to trade furs for manufactured goods such as blankets, muskets, and pots. Trading no longer took place in houses. Instead, merchants built or rented highly sought-after temporary booths on the fair grounds. After two days for setting up and discussions, the negotiations would begin.
Every year from 1667 to 1680, a "foire de la fourrure", or fur fair, was held in Montréal. Ottawa and Algonquin peoples, along with coureurs des bois, came from the back country to trade furs for manufactured goods such as blankets, muskets, and pots. Trading no longer took place in houses. Instead, merchants built or rented highly sought-after temporary booths on the fair grounds. After two days for setting up and discussions, the negotiations would begin.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

The "coureurs des bois", or wood runners, began operating in 1650, when the Hurons were no longer able to supply Montréal with furs. Young Montrealers began travelling thousands of kilometres inland, to the territories of Native peoples around the Great Lakes , in search of pelts. It was a risky business. The "pays d'en haut", or back country, could be hostile, but the rewards were great. Independent spirits, they came to love the free life of Aboriginal societies. They adopted the habits of the tribes with whom they lived, and after a few months away, they became unrecognizable. By 1672, there were 300 to 400 illegal "coureurs des bois". Eight years later, this number had doubled.
The "coureurs des bois", or wood runners, began operating in 1650, when the Hurons were no longer able to supply Montréal with furs. Young Montrealers began travelling thousands of kilometres inland, to the territories of Native peoples around the Great Lakes , in search of pelts. It was a risky business. The "pays d'en haut", or back country, could be hostile, but the rewards were great. Independent spirits, they came to love the free life of Aboriginal societies. They adopted the habits of the tribes with whom they lived, and after a few months away, they became unrecognizable. By 1672, there were 300 to 400 illegal "coureurs des bois". Eight years later, this number had doubled.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Merchant and jack-of-all-trades

Almost 200 people lived in Montréal when Jacques Le Ber arrived in 1657. He married Jeanne Le Moyne, sister of Charles Le Moyne, and became his brother-in-law’s partner, who already enjoyed a high status. Living side by side on rue Saint-Paul, in the heart of the business district, they became leaders in the fur trade. Flaunting the rules, they even traded with the English of Albany. Le Ber had wide-ranging interests and his network diversified. He was active in the cod fishery and commercial shipping, he owned land in Lachine , Québec City , Montréal and a large tract of farmland on île Saint-Paul. He was named "seigneur" of Senneville. Wealthy and influential, he was also a staunch defender of the colony during the wars with the Iroquois. In 1696, Le Ber purchased a letter of nobility from the King, giving him the title of esquire.
Merchant and jack-of-all-trades

Almost 200 people lived in Montréal when Jacques Le Ber arrived in 1657. He married Jeanne Le Moyne, sister of Charles Le Moyne, and became his brother-in-law’s partner, who already enjoyed a high status. Living side by side on rue Saint-Paul, in the heart of the business district, they became leaders in the fur trade. Flaunting the rules, they even traded with the English of Albany. Le Ber had wide-ranging interests and his network diversified. He was active in the cod fishery and commercial shipping, he owned land in Lachine , Québec City , Montréal and a large tract of farmland on île Saint-Paul. He was named "seigneur" of Senneville. Wealthy and influential, he was also a staunch defender of the colony during the wars with the Iroquois. In 1696, Le Ber purchased a letter of nobility from the King, giving him the title of esquire.

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • explain the importance of the foundation of Montreal in New France from 1642 to 1763;
  • put into context the socio-economic cleavages specific to that time;
  • demonstrate the importance of Montreal as a hub for British North America.

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