|Pointe Noire, PQ|
Description: Most people visit the Pointe Noire Interpretation and Observation Centre in hopes of spotting the beluga whales or other marine mammals that frequent the waters at the confluence of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence, but it is also a prime spot for viewing lighthouses. Besides the range lights at Pointe Noire, on a clear day, one can also get a distant view of Prince Shoal Lighthouse, Red Island Lighthouse, a daymarker on Lark Islet, and if one really strains, perhaps Green Island Lighthouse.
A lighthouse was established on Lark (Alouette) Islet, just offshore from Pointe Noire, in 1872 to mark the entrance to the Saguenay River. As this area is often shrouded in fog, the station was initially equipped with a fog bell. In 1874, the keeper was given a hand foghorn, which was found to be superior to the bell, and finally in 1881 a steam fog trumpet was established at the station. The fog signal on Lark Islet was discontinued in 1906, after a lightship was stationed on Prince Shoal, and the light on Lark Islet followed suit in 1909.
The Department of Marine decided to reestablish the Pointe Noire Range Lights in 1903, and workmen were sent down from Quebec City to refit the old towers. The following description of the lights, which were put in operation on August 15, 1903, was included in the Annual Report of the Department of Marine for that year.
They are fixed white catoptric, shown from square wooden towers, with sloping sides, surmounted by hexagonal wooden lanterns, the whole painted white. Each tower is 27 feet high from its base to the top of the ventilator on the lantern.Steel towers replaced the wooden lighthouses in 1952. A pair of new skeletal towers was erected in 1997.
Louis-Joseph Therrien was hired as keeper of the range lights in 1948, the same year that the dwelling near the current front range tower was built. Keeper Therrien and his family occupied the residence from 1948 to 1958, when a new dwelling was built for him higher up the slope.
Besides tending the lights and foghorn, Keeper Therrien also recorded the name, time of passage, and heading of every boat that was observable from the station. An assistant keeper was hired to help with these tasks, but after the station was electrified, this position was discontinued in 1971. Keeper Therrien’s twenty-three years of service at Pointe Noire ended in 1981, when the station was automated. After automation, mariners requiring the assistance of the foghorn at Pointe Noire could activate it using their VHF radios, but this feature has since been discontinued.
A square, pyramidal, wooden “lighthouse,” which somewhat resembles the early towers used at Pointe Noire, has been built as an lookout tower on the point.
Keepers: Louis Guay (1875 – 1880), Flavien Boulianne (1903), Joseph-Elezéar Boulianne (1904 – 1948), Louis-Jospeh Therrien (1948 – 1981).
Located on Pointe Noire, at the southern side of the entrance to the Saguenay River. The range lights are owned by the Canadian Coast Guard, but the site is managed by Parks Canada in collaboration with the Groupe de recherche et d'éducation sur les mammifères marins. Grounds open, towers closed.
The range lights are owned by the Canadian Coast Guard, but the site is managed by Parks Canada in collaboration with the Groupe de recherche et d'éducation sur les mammifères marins. Grounds open, towers closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.