From the early French Regime, the area that became the Faubourg Saint-Jean (today the Saint-Jean Baptiste Neighborhood) was covered with agricultural land. Until 1790, the land on the Sainte-Geneviève hill belonged to a few big owners who exploited it. The Ursulines and the Hospitalières sisters of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital shared most of the territory.
In 1792, the Faubourg Saint-Jean was included in the quadrilateral formed by Saint-Joachim, Richelieu, Côte Sainte-Geneviève streets and the glacis line. The population was then 845 inhabitants. In 1798, rue Saint-Olivier was added and the population increased to 1,245 inhabitants.
The Faubourg Saint-Jean is established at the gateway to the old town and begins at Place d’Youville, along the Chemin du Roi. This path, which became Saint-Jean street, links Quebec to Montreal in 1734. Mr. Moisan spent his childhood in the faubourg Saint-Jean, at the northern point of the Upper Town, at the time when rue Artillerie was named “Artillery”, rue St-Michel, “St-Michael” and rue Saint-Jean “‘St-John”. Without, that is to say, outside the walls. No doubt Moisan had long dreamed of establishing a business on this very busy street.
Between 1815 and 1860, an estimated one million European immigrants landed in Quebec. Most will settle in Upper Canada and the United States. During this period, the city’s population increased from 15,000 to 50,000. However, a certain number of immigrants, especially Irish, settled there so much that in 1861, 40% of the citizens of Québec spoke English. . In the Saint-Jean-Baptiste district, most Irish people settle in O’Connell, St-Patrick and Scott streets.
Passage and gateway, rue Saint-Jean, is one of Canada’s oldest streets and has maintained these roles while maintaining, over time, a lively commercial life rooted in the community of the city-suburb.
Today, the Saint-Jean Baptiste district is still a privileged place for people from Quebec City and commuters, who come to walk, shop and stroll around. Everyone finds a pleasant corner where they can express themselves in a unique cultural environment in Quebec and Canada. The testimonies of tourists, both European and American, confirm this unique character. A simple visit to the J.A .. Moisan grocery store and time to soak up its atmosphere convinces visitors that they are in an exceptional neighborhood.