Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent

Vacation for all!

Until the 1870s, eastern Quebec holidays were reserved for the wealthy few. The region gradually became more accessible with the construction of large hotels that allowed civil servants and young businessmen to “take a dip” in this worldly atmosphere for a few days or weeks.

When automobile travel took off in the 1920s and 1930s, tourism had to adapt. Guidebooks discussed road conditions and new services. Gas stations, garages and family road-side restaurants became essential amenities. Every town along the way had cabins and soon motels where whole families could settle for the night in a small but functional rented room.

Those who had the fortune of owning an automobile had an increased freedom of movement. As more and more roads were paved, the beach resorts of eastern Quebec became wayside stops on a longer journey around the Gaspésie or, more recently, the Lac Saint-Jean. Holiday-makers were still coming, but staying for shorter periods.

After World War II, the type of vacationers changed to include more and more middle-class Quebecers, whose working conditions and quality of life was greatly improved. These new travellers had annual vacation leave on top of their weekly days off, facilitating weekend get-aways to the countryside.

black and white photograph of an inn and a pavilion with many windows

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