Today is Father’s Day, the day when dads across the county get to barbecue their favourite meal for the family. Father’s Day was first recognized in the United States in the 1920s, but it took another two decades before the holiday was celebrated in Quebec.
Peter Gossage, a professor in Concordia University’s Department of History explains in an article, The changing face of fatherhood in Quebec, that Father’s Day only caught on in Quebec in the 1940s, after the Second World War. He says, “There’s so little discussion of Father’s Day until 1945, and then Quebec’s newspapers begin publishing all of these kooky articles about what they see as a novel American celebration.”
According to Professor Gossage, French-Canadian culture had long linked fatherhood with authority. “In the Catholic Church, for instance, the phrase le Père, French for ‘the Father,’ denotes both the priest and the very notion of God itself.” Earlier this year, he published an article entitled “Au nom du père? Rethinking the history of fatherhood in Quebec” in the American Review of Canadian Studies.
Professor Gossage is a Quebec family historian who has undertaken projects that use statistical methods to “tease out information on 19th-century family life in the province.” As he worked on his research, he discovered very little had been written about fatherhood in Quebec.
Now, Professor Gossage and Algoma University’s Robert Rutherdale, a leading historian of fatherhood in English Canada, are putting the finishing touches on a collection of essays on the history of Canadian masculinities that will include a chapter by Gossage on the history of Father’s Day in Quebec.
Bonne fête des Pères! Happy Father’s Day!