The American Civil War (1861‒1865) led the financial elite of Canada and the United States, who had long frequented the seaside resorts of the Atlantic coast, to change their habits and opt for a new destination: the Lower St. Lawrence. American visitors enjoyed the exoticism of this new territory, but also its easy access, high-quality services and more informal atmosphere. Not to mention that the cost of their East Coast haunts were many times higher than comparable services in eastern Quebec. These vacationers could extend their holidays without much thought!
Every year, starting in June, the hoteliers would advertise in the daily newspapers of Québec, Montréal and Toronto. Reporters in English-speaking Canada, the United States and England extolled the attractions of the Lower St. Lawrence. Sea-bathing resorts, such as Cacouna, La Malbaie and Métis, might welcome several thousand visitors.
Transportation companies made the most of powerful publicity. Around 1896, the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. launched its famous slogan “From Niagara to the Sea.” Owner of the Hôtel Tadoussac and builder of the first Manoir Richelieu in 1899, the company used this appealing slogan for decades.
When we imagine this turn-of-the-century scene—the harbours full of pleasure boats, the busy wharfs and train stations, the golf courses and tennis courts, the souvenir shops and the impressive villas—“true summertime” happened here!