François-Xavier Lachance, a master shipwright who specialized in building wooden pleasure craft, was born on Île au Canot on August 27, 1897.
His family was the third generation of Lachances to live alone on the island that measured only 4 km long by less than 1 km wide. Île au Canot is just off Isle-aux-Grues, between Montmagny and Cap-Saint-Ignace, in the St. Lawrence Estuary.
François-Xavier was one of the youngest (the fourteenth) in a family of 16 children. The Lachance family was virtually self-sufficient, making a living on the island by fishing, hunting, raising animals, and farming.
Life on Île au Canot – Listen to the audio clip with its transcript
In order to get around and to trade with others, the Lachance family of Île au Canot built their own boats. They regularly travelled by water to Québec City, neighbouring islands, and the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence, keeping alive the traditions and know-how of their ancestors who had settled on Île d’Orléans midway through the 17th century.