Wednesday, April 4, 2018
In the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century, the city of Quebec, which saw its port activities decline and shipbuilding disappear, reoriented its economy and became an important center for the production of shoes and corsets. Many factories established themselves in the populous districts of Saint-Roch and Saint-Sauveur and employed more than five thousand people in 1900.
The Dominion Corset of Georges-Élie Amyot was one of the largest corset factories in America. In 1886, Georges-Élie Amyot began making corsets. At the turn of the twentieth century, he became Quebec's largest employer and was appointed legislative counsel in 1912.
In production, the labor force has always been exclusively female and the workers have been supervised by female foremen. Factory work allowed single women to support themselves outside of marriage and religious life, but until the late 1950s, married women were prohibited from remaining in the employ of the company.
Note that corsets made in the late nineteenth century gave a size of wasp to those who wear them by means of "turns" in the form of hoops adapting to the dresses of the time. At the beginning of the 20th century, the rust-free whale refined silhouettes without over-constraining breathing. New corsets and bustiers reduced the unwanted curves of tubular fashion in the 1920s.
The arrival of synthetic fabrics made the whales disappear after the Second World War. The clientele adopts the first models of sleeves and bras. The 1950s are the golden age of the company, which launches the lines Sarong and Daisyfresh.
From Pierre Amyot in 1973, the management of the company is entrusted to Maurice Godbout.In 1977, the company adopted a new market strategy and took the name of Daisyfresh Creations. It is still sold in 1988 to the company Canadelle WonderBra, which abandons the manufacture of the lower town to settle in the industrial park of Vanier.
The decommissioned factory was finally reorganized to house the Center de développement économique et urbain (CDÉU) of Quebec City and the School of Visual Arts at Laval University.
The arrival of public servants and students in the early 1990s contributes to the revitalization of the Saint-Roch district. Its vast building, at the corner of Charest Boulevard and Dorchester Street has been restored and is occupied by services of the City of Quebec and Laval University. The ground floor, open to the public, evokes the memory of the hundreds of workers who once worked there.
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