The Christmas Tree Comes to Canada

The first German immigrants to the United States brought with them the custom of decorating a tree at Christmas. In Canada, this tradition was also introduced by a German. In 1781, General Von Riedesel planted the first Christmas tree on Quebec soil at Sorel. This custom spread in the Victorian period although it was limited to the middle class. After 1920, the practice began to appear in large cities. In rural areas, however, the decorated tree did not become a familiar sight until the 1930s.

Towards the end of the XIXth century, the fashion for small trees placed on tables gave way to one of large-scale trees because of the arrival on the market of the first metal tree stands. The working classes replaced these expensive stands by two crossed wooden boards nailed together or by a pail filled with earth in which the tree was planted.

The tradition of the natural Christmas tree is still very much alive. Balsam tree farming is expanding rapidly in Canada. Each year, more than a million of these trees are cut and tens of thousands are exported to the United States, Mexico, Venezuela and even as far away as Germany.

CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network
CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network

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