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Cap-aux-Oies (Goose Cape), PQ     

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Cap-aux-Oies (Goose Cape) Lighthouse

Cap-aux-Oies (Goose Cape) is a prominent feature on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River, just east of Ξle aux Coudres and Baie-Saint-Paul. The Annual Report of the Department of Marine for 1876 carried the following information on a newly erected lighthouse on the cape:
A new lighthouse has been erected during the past season at Cap aux Oies, in the County of Charlevoix, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, and the light was put in operation on the 29th October last. This light is fixed white, of the catoptric order, is elevated 48 feet above high water, and should be seen twelve miles off. The tower is of wood, and is 42 feet high from base to vane, with a dwelling-house attached, and is painted white.
Early view of Goose Cape Lighthouse
Photograph courtesy Library and Archives Canada
Land for the lighthouse along with a right-of-way were purchased from Widow Francois Lapointe for eighty dollars. The square, wooden tower at Goose Cape was surmounted by a polygonal iron lantern room, which housed a lighting apparatus made up of one No. 2 circular-wick lamp and four mammoth flat-wick lamps all of which were set in a reflector. The lamps consumed about 162 gallons of oil each season.

The total cost for the lighthouse was $2,657.60, and sixty-nine-year-old Jean Savard was hired as the first keeper of Goose Cape Lighthouse at an annual salary of $200. In 1878, William Barbour, the inspecting engineer for the Department of Marine, Quebec, noted that Keeper Savard had requested a gallery or porch be constructed around the lighthouse as it was dangerous to walk on the rocky ground around the lighthouse at night without one. A three-sided porch, supported by upright beams, was subsequently built around the river-facing sides of the lighthouse.

Captain Thomas Tremblay was appointed keeper of the lighthouse in March 1888, following the death of Keeper Savard.

A fourth-order, 240° French lens was installed in Goose Cape Lighthouse in 1907, and the characteristic of the light was changed at this time from fixed white to an occulting light that was alternately exhibited for ten seconds and eclipsed for five seconds.

In 1926 – 1927, a fog alarm building was constructed on the cape just east of the lighthouse, and a dwelling was built just inland from the fog alarm and old lighthouse. Prior to this, the keeper would use a hand-operated foghorn to answer signals from vessels. The new diaphone fog alarm sounded two blasts every minute in this manner: three-and-a-half-second blast, three seconds of silence, three-and-a-half-second blast, fifty seconds of silence.

A 1943 List of Lights has a provisional wooden skeleton being used to display the light at Goose Cape, and the fog alarm is also listed as provisional. The List of Lights for the following year indicates that the light at the cape was now being displayed from a red lantern room atop a white, square, wooden dwelling. The light also had a new group-flashing characteristic, showing two flashes every fifteen seconds.

This combination dwelling and lighthouse was still standing in 1971, but by 1994 the light at Goose Cape was being displayed from a thirty-one-foot-tall, square, skeletal tower. All that remains at Goose Cape today are concrete foundations and sidewalks, and a skeletal tower that displays a white flash every six seconds.

Keepers: Jean Savard (1876 – 1888), Captain Thomas Tremblay (1888 – 1914), C. Audet (1914 – 1918), S. Audet (1918), H. Audet (1918 – 1921), Captain R. Pelletier (1922 – 1924), A. Perron (1924 – 1936), Joseph Xavier Perron (1936 – at least 1937).

References

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

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