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Saint-Laurent-de-l’Île-d’Orléans, Home to Many Boatbuilders

Black and white photograph of a wooden building and cedar shingles, with two dormers. Several boards and materials are backed on it. The church of Saint-Laurent is visible in the background, on the left.

Rowboat shop in Saint-Laurent, circa 1950.

As one of the youngest in the family, François-Xavier found himself living alone with his mother on Île au Canot at the age of 22. Since he didn’t want to get married young—like most of his brothers and sisters had done—and life on Île au Canot was only possible as a family, with everyone pitching in, he signed the island over to his brother Joseph-Liguori, who was already married and had a number of children.

Black and white photograph of a large white wooden rowboat, looking brand new, on the road. Two houses, a field and a barn are visible in the background.

A carvel-built rowboat made by François-Xavier Lachance, circa 1935.

From Île au Canot to Île d’Orléans

François-Xavier went with his mother to live in Saint-Laurent-de-l’Île-d’Orléans in 1921. He knew the village well, since one of his sisters lived there and two of his brothers had found work there. François-Xavier had worked for a few months at Chantier maritime de Saint-Laurent, a shipyard specializing in repairing and manufacturing large wooden schooners. A number of other craftsmen and boatbuilders also plied their trade in the village of Saint-Laurent, which had become a hub for wooden rowboat building.

Color photograph showing the relocation by boat of a wooden and cedar shingles rowboat shop. The building sits on a trailer pulled by a truck, all mounted on a barge. Five workers are on the barge or near the shore. Curious children and adults watch the scene.

The Godbout rowboat shop, moved to Parc maritime de Saint-Laurent in 1989.