As the colonies grew, and shoes brought with the colonists wore out, new supplies were needed. Although according to historical documents the first shoemakers had arrived by 1634, the first tannery in Quebec did not open until 1664. Until then shoemakers were restricted to repairing shoes, or using poor-quality imported hides for leather.

Style in the French Colonies

In 1635 the ship Le Saint Jean is recorded as having brought 108 pairs of men’s shoes (and one pair of woman’s shoes). Because of their scarcity, these shoes would have sold in Quebec for far more than in France. Within the colony, shoes were even used as a kind of currency to pay for goods and services.

Even in the earliest years of settlement, some colonists could afford fashionable shoes in European styles, usually imported directly from France. Montcalm, the Governor of Quebec, reported that Quebec women followed Paris fashion as faithfully as possible. This pair of French shoes represents what the prosperous women of the colony would have worn around 1780.
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As the colonies grew, and shoes brought with the colonists wore out, new supplies were needed. Although according to historical documents the first shoemakers had arrived by 1634, the first tannery in Quebec did not open until 1664. Until then shoemakers were restricted to repairing shoes, or using poor-quality imported hides for leather.

Style in the French Colonies

In 1635 the ship Le Saint Jean is recorded as having brought 108 pairs of men’s shoes (and one pair of woman’s shoes). Because of their scarcity, these shoes would have sold in Quebec for far more than in France. Within the colony, shoes were even used as a kind of currency to pay for goods and services.

Even in the earliest years of settlement, some colonists could afford fashionable shoes in European styles, usually imported directly from France. Montcalm, the Governor of Quebec, reported that Quebec women followed Paris fashion as faithfully as possible. This pair of French shoes represents what the prosperous women of the colony would have worn around 1780.

Style in the British Colonies

British settlers in Nova Scotia and Upper Canada (the future Ontario) also wore fashionable European shoes. Initially most were imported from overseas, but later, as in New France, a few master shoemakers set up small workshops.

© The Bata Shoe Museum, 2005. All Rights Reserved.

French Canadian Woman and Roman Catholic Priest

French Canadian Woman and Roman Catholic Priest, John Lambert, 1810

John Lambert
1810
©BAC/C-113742


Woman's latchet-tie pump

This ladies pump was recovered from the Guion property in the settlement of the Fortress of Louisbourg. The archaeological context is securely dated to between 1713 (the founding year of the settlement) and 1724, which tells us that the shoe was discarded sometime during that period.

Photographer: H. Moses
c. 1713
Leather
Image number: 6330E
© Parks Canada / Fortress of Louisbourg / National Historic Site of Canada


French woman's shoes

This pair of French shoes represents what the prosperous women of the colony would have worn around 1780.

The Bata Shoe Museum
1770 - 1790
Silk damask and leather, Shoe buckle Brass
P82.21 and S81.352
© The Bata Shoe Museum, 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Woman's shoes

British settlers in Nova Scotia and Upper Canada (the future Ontario) also wore fashionable European shoes. Initially most were imported from overseas, but later, as in New France, a few master shoemakers set up small workshops.

The Bata Shoe Museum
1775 - 1790
Rococo silk uppers, kid and leather, Shoe buckle Silver, steel and paste
P98.44 and S88.17
© The Bata Shoe Museum, 2005. All Rights Reserved.


 Man's Shoe

British settlers in Nova Scotia and Upper Canada (the future Ontario) also wore fashionable European shoes. Initially most were imported from overseas, but later, as in New France, a few master shoemakers set up small workshops.

The Bata Shoe Museum

Leather
P85.30
© The Bata Shoe Museum, 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will :
  • Explain how the environment influenced population (Aboriginal, French and Engilsh) in their culture, lifestyle and economy;
  • Identify the effects that resulted from interaction between Aboriginal peoples and colonizers;
  • Summarize the evolution of the shoes in Canada and involve significant changes to Canada’s development;
  • Analyze the development of Canada through the evolution of shoes.

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