|Traverse Contrecoeur Range, PQ|
Description: In 1857, a new pair of range lights, known as Traverse, was established two-and-a-half miles above Contrecoeur to help mariners navigate the channel that traversed from the south side of the river above Contrecoeur to the north side of the river below Lavaltrie. The lights were shown from square, wooden towers, painted white, and were located 1,500 yards apart. Each light was produced by a flat-wick lamp set in a fifteen-inch reflector and burned about twenty-five gallons of oil each season. The front light was situated on a small pier near the river’s edge and was removed every fall to protect it from ice floes.
Francois Lacroix was the first keeper of the front light, while an early keeper of the back or rear light was Frns. Meunier. The keepers of minor lights in remote locations were often nearby landowners, and this is evident in the case of the Traverse Range, as Francois Lacroix sold a thirty-by-forty-foot piece of land to the government in a deed dated May 7, 1858. In 1870, the farm on which the rear light stood changed hands, and Joseph Gervais, the new owner, was made keeper of the light after the local priest gave a written testimonial of his “high character.”
While the front range tower was removed each fall, it still was susceptible to ice floes when it was replaced in the spring as shown in the following report for 1896:
The front tower which was carried away by the ice on the 19th April and landed in the middle of a field some 500 feet distant, was found not to have been much damaged and was therefore replaced in position. It was repaired and the platform was renewed. Slight repairs were also made to the metal roof and the tower was painted by the keeper with local assistance. A new ventilator was also put in the back tower. The total expenditure incurred at this station was $64.61.
In 1904, new range light buildings were erected about two miles above Contrecoeur to mark the axis of the improved shipping channel at Contrecoeur Traverse. The new range was known as Contrecoeur Traverse, and its axis was seventy-five feet eastward of the old Traverse range. When Contrecoeur Traverse Range was activated on July 15, 1904, the old Traverse Range was discontinued and its towers removed. The Department of Marine published the following description of Contrecoeur Traverse Range:
The front tower stands on ground about 450 feet back from the water's edge. It is distant about 2 1/8 miles above Contrecoeur church, and is opposite the lower end of Ile Bouchard.
The 1904 Contrecoeur Traverse Range towers remained the same through at least 1959, but by 1994 the current towers were in place. These towers, known now as Traverse Contrecoeur, consist of a white cylindrical tower that displays the fixed green front light at a height of fifty-three feet and a square, skeletal tower that displays the fixed green rear light at a height of ninety-three feet. These range lights are separated by 1,316 feet and are surrounded by the Port of Montreal’s Contrecoeur Marine Terminal, which makes it difficult to view the range by land.
Located on the grounds of the Contrecoeur Marine Terminal, just south of Contrecoeur. The Traverse Contrecoeur Range Lights are owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds/tower closed.
The Traverse Contrecoeur Range Lights are owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds/tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright JACLAY, used by permission.