The Summer Holidays

In Québec, like anywhere else in North America, summer is a season for holidays, fun, heat, swimming, picnics, and outdoor activities.

It was not always the case: there was a time when the season was one of intense labour. In many regions of Québec, farmers only had 120 to 145 frost-free days to cultivate their land and harvest their crops. Families needed these foodstuffs for the year to come. People living in the rural society of the 19th and 20th centuries were largely dependent upon the weather that constantly threatened to delay or even to destroy their crops. Farmers followed a calendar based on the activities of the land. Time periods were designated according to the chores or current cultures: sowing time, strawberry season, harvest time, apple picking season, and so on.

Throughout the years, with the rural exodus and urbanization, the summer season became one of leisure. In the second half of the 20th century, holidays are no longer the privilege of the wealthy but are accessible to all. The average worker can enjoy the pleasures of cottage life, camping, and tourism.

Chanson du blé (The Wheat Song)

Download audio (2 minutes 20 seconds, 2.14 MB)

Male voice (Joseph Saucier) singing Chanson du blé accompanied by piano.

Performer: Joseph Saucier
Source: BAnQ – Digital collection [sound recordings]

Straw bundlers and reapers we are,
We reap you, we reap and bless you,
O yellowing wheat, O yellowing wheat that feeds us.

Before winter begins,
The earth welcomes the seed,
In the furrows with both his hands,
The sower poured grains,
The sower poured grains.

Grains work tirelessly,
Night and day, they continue their task,
They sprout and move silently,
A bit of earth day and night,
A bit of earth day and night.

The earth was finally ajar,
The ear shows its green head,
And breathes the sunshine,
Sun and spring,
Sun and spring.
  • In the foreground, we can see two couples and their children eating a picnic lunch on a table. In the background, kids play in the structures of a children's park.
  • A family of two adults and two children is walking the trail leading to the Moulin seigneurial de Pointe-du-Lac.
  • A family is harvesting vegetables in a field.

Summertime Festivals

In Québec, summer is synonymous with public markets, yard sales, fairs and festivals. The Québec City Summer Festival is Canada’s most important outdoor musical event. It is known internationally. More than a thousand artists participate each year in one of the hundreds of shows or street performances, on the indoor or outdoor venues spread throughout the city. This celebration of popular and emerging music lasts eleven days each summer.

  • Seven musicians and singers perform on a stage in front of a crowd sitting on the ground.
  • A woman and a little girl are dancing. Next to them, another woman is also dancing. Men are playing music with instruments.
  • Outdoor stage during a festival. On the stage, a singer, a trumpeter and a saxophonist are performing.
  • A crowd observes the fireworks of the Trois-Rivières Grand Prix from the port park of the city in August, 2014.
  • Festival poster. In the background is the planet Earth. In the foreground, a man is playing a music instrument and a couple is dancing.
  • Poster for the 2014 Montréal International Jazz Festival. A cat is holding a ruby and a guitar. Other cats are playing instruments.

Appartenance Mauricie Société d'histoire régionale