History of Embrun/Under a new name/Life in Embrun in 1856
Under a new name: Life in Embrun in 1856
The new Embrun, Province of Canada was prosperous in 1856 and had a population of 201.
The winter of 1855-56 was a cold winter for the village. The winter was also one of the snowiest on record. The people living by the river knew that the floodwaters would be a terrible problem that spring.
And it was. As the snow melted, runoff from the land caused the river to swell and overflow into the riverside parts of the village and form a band of water so thick it was almost a lake. The 'river-dwellers' had by now learned to evacuate the area during flood season. But the 1856 flood came on so fast that many of the 'river-dwellers' didn't have time to evacuate. 5 'river-dwellers' died and two homes collapsed. The dock, which now was used only for scenic purposes as the boats stopped running in 1854, broke in the massive floodwaters.
When May came, the swelled river finally showed signs of receding, and by May 14th the river was back at normal levels. The entire town worked at rebuilding the homes, but didn't bother rebuilding the dock.
The summer brought prosperity. Shops were now popping up in the town, ran by citizens of Embrun who didn't want to work in the lumber industry. By July there was a blacksmith, a general store, a cabinet maker's store and many more. Embrun was becoming more self-sufficient and less reliant on bigger cities such as Cornwall or Bytown (which by now was called Ottawa).
Also, there were a few farmers that worked in fields and raised livestock in the deforested parts of the countryside around Embrun. These farmers provided food for the village. These farms were run by people who didn't want to work in shops or in the lumber industry. However, agriculture was not a large industry in Embrun.