THE BREAD RUN
Between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, Saturdays, from June 17 to September 9, in Pointe-Saint-Charles
Photo: Maude Laferrière
Maison Saint-Gabriel, a museum and historical site, invites you not only to visit its exhibits and take part in its guided tours, but also gives you an opportunity to experience moments, gestures and sounds that make up the immaterial heritage of Québec, through interpretation and reconstitution. In this way, every summer, as part of its programme, the museum presents craftspeople who continue to practise skills from times gone by and are able to demonstrate them and explain them to the public. Based on its success, the “Bread Run” is back in the museum’s programme. Every Saturday from June 17 to September 9, between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, the museum will organize a Bread Run in the streets of Point-Saint-Charles, located on the former lands of the Congrégation farm.
Starting at 9 a.m. every Saturday, the breadman will go from door to door in his specially restored, old-fashioned cart, pulled by Capucine, a magnificent mare. The sound of hooves on the pavement, the rumble of the wooden wheels of the bread cart, the ringing of the bell to announce his arrival, the purchase of bread, a few words and the slowness that has been long forgotten... residents in the neighbourhood will truly travel back in time!
Did you know that, in the 17th century, bread was the primary source of food? According to the first ordinance issued in 1687, each household in Montréal could only cook the bread it ate. However, inn-keepers and cabaret-keepers had to purchase their bread from the baker. Until the end of the 18th century, there were generally three types of bread: patent flour or white bread, wheatmeal bread and brown bread. Bakers were required to have a permit. In 1711, ten bakers had permits in Montréal.
In the 19th century, the number of bakers increased significantly. A loaf of bread, which costs $3.75 in 2016, cost 4 cents in 1900! In the rural areas, since it was considered inappropriate for a mother of a large family not to bake her own break, bakers only started delivering bread in the 1930s. In Montréal, home deliveries of bread stopped in the 1950s.
There is a traditional bread oven on the site of the museum and the baker bakes his bread there every Saturday. Those who miss the Bread Run can always purchase bread in the museum’s gift shop on Saturdays and Sundays!