Tuque Facts

Historical Tuque

The pre-cursor to the modern tuque was the toque, a small, round, close-fitting hat, brimless or with a small brim.  In the 12th and 13th centuries, women wore embroidered toques, made of velvet, satin, or taffeta, on top of their head-veils.  In the late 16th century, brimless, black velvet toques were popular with men and women. Throughout the 19th century, women wore toques, often small, trimmed with fur, lace, bows, flowers, or leaves.

Now the tuque is associated with the French Canadian Voyagers who travelled in the mid-1800's throughout present day Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba in search of pelts.  We feel that they should be credited with using the first modern tuques.  These stocking caps were warm, knitted, and usually pointed.

The True Tuque Defined

The issue of what is a tuque is and isn't is something that we, Matt and jeff, feel very compelled about.  We are of the belief that a true tuque has the following two attributes:

    1) Form - a tuque is knit, brimless, and may be pointed.

    2) Function - a tuque's principal usage is for warmth, not aesthetics

Fleece is not  a knit material.

Tuque Distribution
Tuques are found worldwide in cold high-latitude or high altitude regions. Click on the map to see the American distribution of tuque wearage.

Special Tuques

The typical tall, white, chef's hat is a relatively unknown form of the tuque.  The correct name for this type of tuque, a toque blanche, reflects the historical significance of this lesser known cousin of our current day apparel.  I like to think of the toque blanche as giving us a glimpse at what the early toques might have looked like.

The City of La Tuque

In addition, La Tuque is a small town in the  Mauricie-Bois-Francs region of the southern Quebec province in Canada, situated on the Saint-Maurice River. During the French regime, this site was occupied by a trading post of the Company of New France. The original lumbering settlement of 1908 was named for a rock on the river's edge that was shaped like a tuque. The town's economy depends chiefly on forestry and allied industries (pulp and paper) and a large hydroelectric installation on the river. The area is noted for its hunting, fishing, and skiing. A three-day lumberjacks' canoe race from La Tuque to Trois-Rivières city (165 km south) is held annually in late summer. The town was incorporated in 1911 and has a population, as of 1991, of 10,003.

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