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An Entrepreneur

Black and white photograph showing a cruiser yacht mounted on a base in front of a building with a large door, in winter. Four men are busy around the boat on the ground. Other boats are visible on the left.

François-Xavier Lachance’s shipyard in the 1930s.

In 1926, after five years spent working at the Saint-Laurent shipyard (founded by Ovide Fillion) or building and repairing homes, François-Xavier bought an old sawmill that stood in the shadow of the Saint-Laurent Church, at the end of a sheltered cove, and turned it into a shipyard for leisure boats.

Along with his brother Fénélon, he built a first fully-equipped motorboat measuring 38 feet (11.5 metres) long. It began as a side project to keep the brothers busy through the winter, with no clients on the books. A doctor on the island bought it from them the following summer. That sale marked the start of a long and productive career.

The First Boat Listen to the audio clip with its transcript

The little shipyard grew quickly, since the boats made by the man now known as “F-X” were highly prized for their quality construction and seaworthiness. To keep up with demand, F-X took on his brothers, brothers-in-law, nephews, and cousins, all of whom shared the same experience as him.

Sepia photograph of two wooden boats, with cabin, anchored near the shore. Houses and trees without foliage are in the background.

To the right, the first leisure craft built by F-X Lachance in 1926.