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François-Xavier Lachance

An Exceptional Craftsman and Builder of Wooden Boats on Île d’Orléans

In this exhibit, you’ll learn about François-Xavier Lachance, a larger-than-life character and self-taught craftsman—the last in a long line of boatbuilders in the St. Lawrence Estuary.

François-Xavier Lachance embodied an industry that played a key role in the history of the village of Saint-Laurent-de-l’Île-d’Orléans. By virtue of his island roots, he also became the face of boatbuilding in that particular village and in other localities along the St. Lawrence.

Renowned for the high quality of his work and affable nature, François-Xavier Lachance formed close bonds with a number of clients who were of an entirely different social class to his own. Not only was he the last rowboat builder in Saint-Laurent-de-l’Île-d’Orléans, he was also an enterprising builder of leisure boats, and was sought-after and highly regarded by Québec’s bourgeoisie from the 1920s to the 1970s.

This exhibit features video recordings from people who knew François-Xavier Lachance. Their accounts are touching and instructive, revealing much about the personality and skills of a character whom many described as a “great man.” Lachance gave a series of interviews toward the end of his life, and some short audio excerpts are included here. You’ll hear from François-Xavier Lachance himself as he talks about his successful career, and see a selection of photographs of his life’s work.

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A production of Parc maritime de Saint-Laurent