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Île des Barques Range, PQ  Lighthouse best viewed by boat or plane.   

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Île des Barques Range Lighthouse

The St. Lawrence River broadens in a few areas along its course to form lakes. Just upstream from Montreal are found Lake Saint-Louis and Lake Saint-Francis, and just downstream from Sorel-Tracy is Lake Saint-Peter. In the western end of Lake Saint-Peter, just offshore from Sorel-Tracy, is found a collection of 103 islands known as the Archipelago of Saint-Peter.

Navigating the winding waterways between the islands of the archipelago can be tricky, and several lights have been established over the years to assist mariners.

In 1906 and 1907, multiple ranges were established to guide mariners through the archipelago, including lights at Gallia Bay, Île des Barques, Île du Moine, Sainte-Anne-de-Sorel, Île de Grâce, and Île Dupas. Île des Barques range was erected in 1906 and placed in operation at the opening of navigation in 1907. This range was somewhat unique as its front light was on Île des Barques, but its back or rear light was atop a structure on Île du Moine that also housed the rear light for Île du Moine Range.

The Department of Marine published the following description of Île des Barques Range in 1907:

The lighthouse stands on Ile des Barques, about one-third of a mile from its eastern end, and 9,690 feet from the back range lighthouse on Ile du Moine. It consists of a square wooden building, painted white, surmounted by a square wooden lantern, painted white with red roof. It is 19 feet high from its base to the top of the ventilator on the lantern, and stands on a concrete pier, 24 feet high, square in plan, with battered sides. The light is fixed white catoptric, elevated 41 feet above the summer level of the river, and visible ten miles in the line of range.

The work was done by day labour under the Montreal agency, at a cost of $12,680.49.

The rear range tower on Île du Moine was of the following description:
The back tower stands 1,590 feet from the front one. It consists of an open steel framework, square in plan, with sloping sides, painted brown, surmounted by an inclosed wooden watchroom and an octagonal iron lantern. The side of the framework facing the channel is rendered more conspicuous as a day beacon by being covered half way down with wooden slatwork. The lantern roof is painted red, the lantern sides, the watchroom and the slats are painted white. The height of the tower from its base to the top of the ventilator on the lantern is 86 feet. The tower stands on a whitewashed concrete pier 19 feet high, square in plan, with battered sides.

Omer Salvail, who had been serving as keeper of Île à la Pierre Lighthouse since 1897, was transferred to nearby Île des Barques in 1907 to take charge of its new front range light as the light on Île à la Pierre was discontinued with the establishment of the Gallia Bay Range Lights on that island. Keeper Salvail was dismissed in 1912 and replaced by Jos. Lavalle.

At some point between 1955 and 1993, a sixty-nine-foot-tall white tower was erected on Île des Barques, 480 metres from the front light, to display the range’s rear light. The characteristic of the range was also changed during this time period from fixed white to fixed green. Around 2011, a sixty-six-foot-tall, square, skeletal tower replaced the white tower on Île des Barques.

Keepers: Omer Salvail (1907 – 1912), Jos. Lavallee (1912 – 1923), E. Cantara (1923 – 1931), P. Bebeau (1931 – 1936), N. Cantara (1936 – at least 1937).

References

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

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