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 Cap Blanc, PQ    
Lighthouse accessible by car and a short, easy walk.
Description: The short lighthouse at Cap Blanc overlooks the famed Rocher Perce (Pierced Rock) and Ile Bonaventure. Rocher Perce, one and a half miles to the north of the cape, was named in 1604 by Samuel Champlain, for the small arch at the base of the rock, which looks like a needle pierced the rock. The arch is one of Quebec’s most famous landmarks.

First Cap Blanc Lighthouse, activated in 1874
Photograph courtesy Library and Archives Canada
When Champlain first saw the area, he wrote, “The abundance of birds of different kinds is so great that no one would believe it possible unless he had seen it.” That spectacle can still be seen today on Ile Bonaventure where over 200,000 birds nest, including 60,000 Northern Gannets, North America’s largest colony.

Cap Blanc (White Head) is named for its light grey Ordovician limestone, which stands in sharp contrast to the red cliffs that make up most of the surrounding shoreline. Work on a lighthouse atop the cape commenced in 1873, and its fixed white light was first exhibited on November 6, 1874 by Charles Bourget. The lighthouse was a square, wooden, pyramidal tower that stood twenty feet high and employed five lamps and twenty-inch reflectors to create its light, which shone seaward at a focal plane of 138 feet. The total cost for the construction of the lighthouse was $1,429.27.

By 1877, Keeper Bourget had been supplied a hand foghorn, and he had also received a Babcock fire extinguisher in case a fire broke out in the lantern room. In 1878, Keeper Bourget's annual salary was increased from $100 to $125.

A new set of mammoth flat-wick lamps and large reflectors were shipped from the Marine Department's workshop in Quebec City in 1895 and installed in Cap Blanc Lighthouse to replace the inferior lamps then in use.

The current tower, a white, octagonal, reinforced-concrete tower with red trim and a red lantern, was constructed by Joseph-Octave Boucher of Perce in 1915 for $1,845, and an additional $555 was spent on installing the lighting apparatus and inspecting the tower. The lighthouse stands twenty-four feet high with a focal plane of 154 feet, and before the light was discontinued, it exhibited a white flash every five seconds with a range of fifteen miles.

The base of the original tower remains standing today and is located adjacent to Joseph Boucher's mansard-roofed home in Percé. The home and tower, which was converted into a shed, are privately owned.

Keepers: Charles Bourget (1874 - 1892) Floriant Bourget (1893 - 1918), C.T. Bourget (1919), J.H. Bourget (1920 - 1922), P. Bourget (1922 - 1931), D. Hayden (1931 - at least 1936).

References

  1. Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, various years.

Location: Located on the Gaspé Peninsula just south of Percé and alongside Route 132.
Latitude: 48.50137
Longitude: -64.21844

For a larger map of Cap Blanc Lighthouse, click the lighthouse in the above map.


Travel Instructions: From Route 132 in Percé, travel south for 2.6 kilometers where you will find Camping du Phare à Percé along the shore. The lighthouse is surrounded by private land marked with No Trespassing signs, but the campground seems to tolerate visitors wanting to get a view of the lighthouse.

The lighthouse is owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds/tower closed.

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