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The Desgagnés: Two Centuries of Schooners

There is salt water running in the veins of the Desgagnés family. Moored in the region of Charlevoix, Quebec, for nearly 275 years, their story is intimately linked to the development of navigation in this country. Over the years, the Desgagnés have built and piloted many wooden sail-powered and later motor-powered ships as they became major witnesses and actors of the golden age of coasting (1860–1960). Their ships have visited and provisioned remote territories, each more distant than the last. By adding Ungava Bay, Hudson’s Bay and Baffin Island to their already long list of destinations, they truly made the North Atlantic their kingdom.

Year after year, they helped to develop what is now a vital trade route between the south and remote populations in the North.

At sea they were sailors, captains, pilots; onshore they were crane operators, architects, ethnologists, lawyers, coast guards or novelists. Their descendants gave Canada the Musée maritime de Charlevoix to pass on their two-hundred-year-old story.

Now, their saga and memories are sure to echo for years to come. Come, let us set sail with them once more!

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