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From Generation to Generation

Black and white photograph showing four wooden buildings in the background. In front is a bay where a small masted boat is docked on the rocky shore.

Lachance family buildings on Île au Canot, early 20th century.

The Lachance family found the wood it needed to build its boats on Île au Canot and the neighbouring islands.

Painted portrait of Alphonse-Liguori Lachance, with a beard and wearing a dark coat with white shirt and tie.

Alphonse-Liguori Lachance, François-Xavier’s father, circa 1900.

François-Xavier would look on as his father, Alphonse-Liguori, built at least three boats, each some ten metres long, in his workshop. His brothers—keen to earn their independence—were also building their own rowboats by the time they were teenagers. Even the Lachance girls knew how to handle a boat, which was rare for women at the time.

When winter came, a solid layer of ice would form a bridge linking Île au Canot to Isle-aux-Grues, allowing people to go to mass and visit friends and family by horse-drawn sleigh. In spring or fall, the Lachance family would travel in an ice canoe they’d built themselves—a sturdy, hybrid vessel that could tackle both ice and waves out on the river.

As a result, François-Xavier spent his childhood immersed in a culture of maritime know-how that he later put to brilliant use in his own shipyard.

Current photography showing traditional carpentry tools, including a planer, a punch and a jig. The tools are placed on a workbench, next to a metal plate inscribed with

Traditional tools used by François-Xavier Lachance and his father before him.