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 Rivière Valin Range, PQ    
Lighthouse accessible by car and a short, easy walk.
Description: The Saguenay River is roughly 180 metres deep in its lower section, but ninety kilometers above the St. Lawrence, it rapidly contracts and assumes the typical character of a river, with mud banks and shoals of large boulders. Just above this point of contraction is the City of Saguenay, known earlier as Chicoutimi, which around the turn of the nineteenth century was home to paper mills that produced 100,000 tons of wood pulp annually. During this period, the Saguenay River was used not only by vessels laden with lumber products but also by the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company’s passenger steamers, which called at Chicoutimi several times a week during the summer.

1908 Rivière Valin Front Tower with new and old rear towers in the distance
Photograph courtesy Library and Archives Canada
In 1873, the Canadian government provided five pairs of range lights to guide mariners along the upper portion of the Saguenay River below Chicoutimi. The Quebec firm of Price Brothers and Company, which owned the lumber operations in Chicoutimi, maintained these lights until the government hired keepers for them in 1875. These lights originally appeared as 1st Range through 5th Range in the List of Lights, but they were later given the following official names: Poste-Saint-Martin, Rivière Valin, Rivière du Caribou, Savard Range (replaced by Simard Range in 1912), and Rivière-du-Moulin.

The following description of the Rivière Valin Range lights appeared in The Gulf and River St. Lawrence, published by the U.S. Hydrographic Office around 1900.

The front light is a fixed white light exhibited from a square white tower, 19 feet high, with diamond slatwork facing range line, on the northern bank of the Saguenay, eastward of the mouth of river Valin. The light is 18 feet above high water and is visible in clear weather a distance of 9 miles.

The back light is fixed white, exhibited from the top of a white-slatted framework with white shed, having a red roof, at the base of the framework, the whole being 35 feet high, and situated 315°, 710 feet from the front tower. The light is 35 feet above high water and visible in clear weather a distance of 11 miles.

The lights in line 315° lead toward northern shore of the river to intersection with Savards range.

In 1908, the range lights were replaced with a new pair of towers. The following description of these towers appeared in the Annual Report of the Department of Marine. “The front tower is a wooden building, square in plan, with sloping sides, surmounted by a square wooden lantern, and is 32 feet high from base to top of ventilator on lantern. The back tower is a 4-section steel skeleton structure, square in plan, with sloping sides, surmounted by an enclosed wooden watchroom and square wooden lantern. It is 64 feet high from base to top of ventilator on lantern. The front tower was erected by contract, by Mr. N. Warren, of Chicoutimi, P.Q., for $570. The back tower was purchased from the Goold, Shapley, Muir Company, of Brantford, Ont., for $540, and erected by day's labour, at a cost of $1,546.68.”

The new towers were separated by 1,126 feet. A seventh-order, 120° Chance lens with duplex lamp replaced the catoptric light formerly exhibited in the front tower, and a constant-level lamp with a twenty-inch silvered copper reflector was used in the new rear tower.

Sometime before 1995, the 1908 range lights were replaced with a pair of skeletal towers that display an orange trapezoidal daymark with a black vertical stripe. The enclosed portion of the 1908 rear tower is now located on private property near the modern front tower.

Keepers:

  • Front or both:Fras. Gauthier (1876 – 1885), A. Blair (1889 – 1892), Maximin Lavoie (1893 – at least 1923).
  • Rear: Jos. Dupre (1876 – 1885), H. Savard (1889 – 1894), X. Savard (1895 – 1898), Gédéon Lavoie (1909 – at least 1923).

References

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

Location: Located just off Route 172 near the confluence of the Valin River and Saguenay River.
Latitude: 48.460259       Latitude: 48.46667
Longitude: -70.981497   Longitude: -70.99163

For a larger map of Rivière Valin Range Lighthouse, click the lighthouse in the above map.


Travel Instructions: From Route 172, 7.8 kilometres east of Saguenay, turn toward Saguenay River on Rue Valin, from where you can view the range lights.

The modern range lights are owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds/tower closed.

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