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Learning the Trade

Black and white photograph of the Saint-Laurent shipyard. The structure of an large boat is on the right, in the foreground. Two sailboats under construction are in the center. The St. Lawrence River occupies the entire background, as well as the coast of the south shore.

The Saint-Laurent shipyard, circa 1916.

This boatbuilding expertise was put to good use at the Saint-Laurent shipyard, which was founded by Ovide Fillion in 1911. By then, all the big shipyards in Québec City had already closed, having seen the oceangoing sailing ships they built with wood gradually replaced by steel steamships.

At the Fillion Shipyard Listen to the audio clip with its transcript

In Saint-Laurent, the shipyard continued to repair, build, and store wooden boats, for the most part vessels of average size that were used for coastal trade, i.e., for shipping goods between the towns and villages along the St. Lawrence.

Black and white photograph of a group of about thirty workers posing in front of the side wall of a plank building, outside. The men are dressed in a working bitch or overalls. Many smoke and smile while looking at the camera. Others look towards François-Xavier Lachance, in the center. To his right is a man wearing a cloak, tie and hat.

Workers at the Saint-Laurent shipyard, circa 1946.

It was here that François-Xavier learned new techniques that complemented those he had learned back on Île au Canot. He worked alongside experienced craftsmen from a number of trades, honing his talents and know-how and acquiring new knowledge.