In focus

From loggers to merchants

Starting in 1827, many French Canadians begin to settle in Bytown. Some are just passing through, while others choose to stay. They practise a variety of trades, working as blacksmiths, carpenters, valets and cooks. Many operate businesses, including Louis Mainville, who runs a grocery store. He also rents a dozen or so homes, mostly to “Canadiens” – that is, to Francophones. Louis Pinard and Baptiste Homier work in hotels. 

According to Georgette Lamoureux, who, by cross-referencing various sources, draws up a list of French Canadians in Bytown from 1826 to 1855, Homier seems to practise several trades: “He was a taverner [...] but he also worked [...] on cutting stone for the Notre-Dame Cathedral, which Antoine Robillard was building at the time.” 1 Maurice Dupuis, for his part, is a clockmaker. He keeps shop across from the Ottawa Hotel on Sussex Drive. Joseph Aumond is a wood merchant. A 1840s engraving of his warehouse depicts an imposing building on Rideau Street, near the canal. He lives in a two-storey house, with a 2nd-floor balcony, on Sussex Drive.


1 Georgette Lamoureux, Bytown et ses pionniers canadiens-français, 1826-1855. Histoire d’Ottawa, tome 1, réédition corrigée, [Ottawa : G. Lamoureux], 1984, p. 328 (translated from the original).