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Batiscan Range Front, PQ  Lighthouse accessible by car and a short, easy walk.   

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Batiscan Range Front Lighthouse

Roughly thirty kilometres downstream from Trois-Rivières, the Batiscan River empties into the St. Lawrence River. When Samuel de Champlain visited this area in the early 1600s, he wrote about meeting an indigenous leader named “Batiscan,” and this name subsequently appeared on Champlain’s 1612 map of this region.

Colonization of the Batiscan area began in 1666, when rectangular land grants with access to both the river and the main road were divvied out. Two lighthouses were built at Batiscan in 1884 to guide mariners through a section of the St. Lawrence downstream from the village. The towers were located 1 ¼ miles below Saint-François-Xavier Church and were described as square, wooden affairs, with the front one having a height of eleven feet and the rear one a height of thirty-one feet.

The lighthouses were rebuilt in 1869, and the following year, Léandre Fugères, the keeper of the front light, was admonished for not having the lamps, reflectors, and windows in the expected condition. Léandre Fugère and Joseph Marchand, the keepers of the two lights in 1877, each received an annual rent of six dollars in addition to their regular salary as they owned the land on which their respective towers stood.

New towers were built for Batiscan Range in 1908 to mark the improved shipping channel along this stretch of the river. The Department of Marine published the following description of these towers to notify mariners of the change:

The range lights were moved to new positions, in the axis of the widened and improved channel. A new concrete pier was constructed for the front light. It is 40 feet square at bottom, with battered sides, and is surmounted by a small octagonal iron lantern. A new 3-section steel skeleton tower was provided for the back light. It is square in plan, with sloping sides, surmounted by an inclosed wooden watchroom and square wooden lantern. It is 62 feet high from base to top of ventilator on lantern. The work was done by day labour, at a cost of $9,832.26.

At some point between 1955 and 1994, a platform set atop two white circular masts replaced the octagonal iron lantern on the concrete pier at the front range. The following planned changes to Batiscan Range were announced in 2010:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Canadian Coast Guard) is to replace two navigation lights, namely the Batiscan range front and rear lights, in the Municipality of Batiscan. A distance of 440 metres separates the two lights. The front light is near the St. Lawrence River, and the rear light is landlocked on private residential property. The towers will be dismantled and replaced with new metal skeleton towers. At the site of the rear light, a new concrete foundation will be installed, and in the case of the front light, the existing base will be restored. The electrical equipment and navigation lights will then be put in place. Fencing will be installed around the rear light and on the concrete pier of the front light.
After it was determined that the project was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, the front and rear towers were replaced with square, skeletal towers in late 2012. The rear tower now displays a fixed green light at a height of eighty feet, while the front tower displays a fixed green light along the line of range at a height of forty-five feet. Both the old and new towers can be seen in images on this page.

Keepers:

  • Front: Léandre Fugères (1845 – 1868), Léandre Fugère (1868 – 1909), Arcade LaHaie (1909 – 1912), Bernard Duval (1912 – at least 1923).
  • Back: Joseph Marchand (1858 – 1887), Napoleon Fugère (1887 – 1905), Joseph L. Brunelle (1905 – 1912), Ph. St. Arneault (1912 – at least 1923).

References

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

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Pictures on this page copyright JACLAY, Kraig Anderson, Michael Boucher, used by permission.
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