At the turn of the 20th century, the Catholic religion plays a major role in the daily lives of French-Canadian families and Indigenous peoples. Religious communities run educational and health care institutions.
The influence of religion is felt even in households. The clergy insists that families increase their birth rate. Social and economic activities in the villages multiply and contribute to regional development.
An increasing number of people are working in the fields, at the flour mills and in the logging industry. The tourism business is also growing. Certain Indigenous people now sell their traditional crafts to visitors arriving on pleasure boats.
Prior to the construction of the railway, the vast pinewoods in the boreal forest are cut down. The wood is transformed into logs, which are shipped by boat to the Quebec and British merchants.
In the Lower St. Lawrence, the English merchant William Price holds a quarter of the logging rights in the entire forest territory. He orders the construction of several sawmills at the mouths of the rivers.
The number of villages grows, and urban development intensifies with the completion of the railway and the creation of new roads. Merchants can now export their products more easily to Quebec and the Maritimes.
Farmers add dairy products to their grain production. Butter and cheese factories multiply. The potato industry also develops.
Before 1830, trading is done by sailors. The schooner owners obtain their supplies in Quebec City and in the Maritimes. They sell their merchandise from the wharf or from their storage facilities, whether it be their houses or barns.
Before the arrival of the general stores in Rimouski, the Irish-born merchant Hector Crawley offers various goods such as barrels of rice, fur hats, as well as exotic painted textiles named Indiennes (originally made in India), or “Berland’s skein of yarn”.
Over time, each village gets its own general store. It becomes the place to buy all the daily life essentials, as well as a social gathering place.