Note: Pierre Sales de Laterrière (1743-1815) was a French doctor and adventurer who had settled in Lower Canada. Here he describes some leisure activities of Canadians.

Excerpt: “Never I have known a nation so enamoured with dancing; they still have the French contredanses and menuets (1) which they intersperse with English dances. During winter, which lasts eight months, evenings are spent in fricassees, dinners, suppers and balls. The ladies there play cards a great deal before and after the dances. All games are played, but the favourite is still the game of whist. Billiards are very fashionable and many are ruined by them. I enjoyed it, but out of prudence I never played for money.”

(1) Minuet: dance

Author: Pierre de Sales Laterrière. Mémoires (1766) cited in Nos Racines, #45, Montréal, Éditions T.L.M., p.882.

French (If available)