Adapting to the environment
The first habitants of New France did not have much time for the arts. These Canadians were too busy settling down, building homes and farming the land. This left little time for artistic expression. Still, the habitants of New France were very creative in everyday life, such as in their architecture.
The first colonists in New France built homes that mimicked the architectural style of their home region in France. They usually built small one-room homes that were 13 feet by 14 feet in size (about 4 metres by 4 metres). Every home had a fireplace. The walls were made of wood. During the first year, the roof was made of bark and birch. After the first crop of oats, the roof was covered with straw.
The habitants of New France soon realized that they could not build the same type of homes as those in France because the same materials were not available. They also had to protect themselves from the cold and the humidity. As a result, they had to make a few changes to their homes. For example, they made the roofs much steeper so that the snow and rain could slide off them easily. They also made sealed stone fireplaces that did a much better job of heating their homes. Instead of stone, the habitants generally used wood as their main building material because there were so many trees in New-France.
After a few years, the homes of New France had their own unique style, which was perfectly suited to the climate and to the needs of the habitants.
Author: Alexandre Lanoix
See also – Traces of the past:
French (If available)