Imagine you live in a place where everyone knows each other and likes to get together to talk and have fun a place where people are constantly passing through, bringing new ideas, new fashions and new ways of doing things. Welcome to the Trait-Carré in the 19th century!
In the Trait-Carré, residents liked to meet with one another to talk, gossip or play parlour games. Jacques-Ferdinand Verret's general store was the perfect place for such activities. On Sundays, however, people headed to the post office after mass, because it was the spot where they could learn what was going on in the village.
Trait-Carré residents met up at the church to discuss more serious topics. In addition, they could listen to public notices read out loud on the front steps and consult community announcements about political meetings and the publication of banns posted on the front door.
The backcountry was just starting to develop in the early 19th century. With the founding of new towns and villages further north, the role of the Trait-Carré began to change. From then on, farmers from Stoneham and Lac-Beauport stopped off in Charlesbourg on their way to Québec City. And they stopped there again on their way home to spend the money they had earned on the sale of products such as sugar, molasses and tea in the city's markets. What could they buy in the Trait-Carré? Among other things, a new carriage from the wheelwright, boots from the shoemaker and a shirt from the general merchant.
Foreigners were among the many people who visited the Trait-Carré. These people from other lands, often English-speakers from the British Isles, were very intriguing to the villagers. Whenever an English girl set foot in the Trait-Carré, the boys commented on the way she acted and the peculiar way she spoke. However, language was not necessarily a major barrier to relationships. It was religion that complicated matters the French were usually Catholic, while the English were often Protestant. Nevertheless, mixed marriages took place from time to time in the village.
In the 19th century, people sometimes spent their vacation in the Trait-Carré. In fact, several Québec City residents had summer homes there. As shown by the fashions of the day, this contact with city dwellers had an impact on the villagers. For example, the Scottish tam-o'-shanter became popular among young people. In addition, the inhabitants began to adopt a more luxurious lifestyle. Well-dressed farmers drove to Sunday mass in shiny sleighs in winter and well-appointed buggies in summer.
As Jacques-Ferdinand Verret knew, meeting Anglophones provided a perfect opportunity for brushing up on one's English. Therefore, whenever he encountered Harry Montgomery on Chemin Saint-Pierre, he got into his buggy to chat with him in the language of Shakespeare. The two men discussed various topics of the day.