|Gallia Bay Lower, PQ|
Description: 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 Sorel Islands or 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. Some of the earliest lights were a lighthouse established on Île aux Raisins in 1843, a lighthouse placed on Île à la Pierre by 1860, and a pair of range lights erected in 1863 on the Richelieu Company’s Wharf at Sorel.
The concrete pier was in the form of a frustum of a cone, sixteen feet tall, with a diameter of twenty-six feet at its base and twenty feet at its top. The lighthouse surmounting the pier was an octagonal, wooden tower, painted brown, which was topped by an octagonal, wooden lantern, painted red. The lighthouse stood thirty-three feet tall and exhibited a fixed white light from a seventh-order lens at a height of forty-five feet above the summer level of the river. The total cost of the pier and lighthouse was $3,309.59.
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. Four towers were erected on Île à la Pierre in 1906 to form two ranges, known as Gallia Bay Lower Range and Gallia Bay Upper Range. Gallia Bay is the name given to a small indentation near the middle of Île à la Pierre’s southern shoreline.
Gallia Bay Range Lights were placed in operation at the opening of navigation in 1907, and Île à la Pierre Lighthouse was discontinued at that time. The following description was published to announce the establishment of these two new ranges:
The lights are fixed white catoptric lights, visible two miles in the line of range, and stand on concrete piers, square in plan, with battered sides.
Elzear Cantara was hired as the first keeper of the upper range lights at an annual salary of $350, while Louis Peloquin was paid the same amount to look after the lower range.
Due to uneven settling, the front and back piers of the upper range and the front pier of the lower range had to be repaired just two years after they were built. After pilework was driven around them, the concrete piers were picked and reinforced with steel bars. A new, two-foot-thick concrete belt was then poured around the piers and pilework, and the foundation was encircled by riprap as a further protection. The cost for this work was $6,775.58.
It appears the range lights were discontinued in the 1960s.
Île à la Pierre Lighthouse Keepers: A. Auger (1867 – ), Joseph Auger (at least 1869 – 1870), John Long (1870 – 1871), Joseph Lamoureux (1871 – 1879), William Matte (1879 – 1885), William Matte, Jr. (1885 – 1892), Paul Salvail (1892 – 1897), Omer Salvail (1897 – 1907).
Gallia Bay Upper Keepers: Elzear Cantara (1907 – 1912), Charles Fleury, Sr. (1912 – 1923), D. Lavalle (1924 – 1929), N. Provencal (1929 – 1931), A. Beauchemin (1931 – 1932), L. Paul, Jr. (1933 – at least 1937).
Gallia Bay Lower Keepers: Louis Peloquin (1907 – 1912), Jas. Cournoyer (1912 – 1923), A. Paul (1924 – 1931).
Located on south side of Ile à Lapierre, about one mile from the east end. The lights are abandoned. Grounds open.
The lights are abandoned. Grounds open.
Pictures on this page copyright JACLAY, used by permission.