Men and women, alone or with their families, lumberjacks, labourers, Filles du roi (young women sent to New France under royal auspices), monks, nuns, soldiers, mariners… all arrived in the 17th century and were the first to populate Canada. They left France, mainly from the region of Perche, confronted the ocean, defied a difficult winter, cleared the land and built the first houses on the banks of the Saint-Lawrence River.
With great courage, they faced the challenges of the New World, and they succeeded. They settled in Quebec, the Coast of Beaupré, the isle of Orleans (from 1634), Montreal (from 1642).
Under the influence of the apothecary Robert Giffard and the Juchereau brothers, rich merchants from Perche, Tourouvre was one of the most active emigration centers. It was not the only one - Mortagne-au-Perche, Saint-Cosme-en-Vairais (now in the département of the Sarthe) and around thirty other parishes of the region (today situated in the département of the Orne for the most part) - were also very active.
Between 1634 and 1666, 246 inhabitants of Perche left their native land to settle in New France, on the banks of the Saint-Lawrence River. Many of them came from the parish of Tourouvre. They were among the first inhabitants to build the houses and clear the immense lands that would soon become Quebec. Thousands of emigrants from all regions of France joined them. Thus developed the country that Jacques Cartier, on his second expedition in 1535, named Canada.
The Museum of French Emigration to Canada continues the work of the Perche Emigration Museum, a meeting point and place of Franco-Canadian genealogical research set up in 1987.
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