Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent

All ashore, please

A man rows in a boat where are several summer vacationers.
Vacationers in a rowboat, early 20th century.
Source: Société d’histoire et de généalogie de Rivière-du-Loup, F0055/116

Before the mid-19th-century, fishing boats and cargo vessels made do without deep-water wharves. With their flat bottoms, schooners had no trouble landing anywhere at low tide to unload their merchandise, but this was not the case for the steamboats. They steered clear of land.

The government built the first deep-water wharves in the 1850s. Their construction was costly and lengthy, but it put an end to the regions’ isolation and stimulated commerce. Acrimony broke out among the river towns, however, as each one wanted its own wharf!

Tourists had already been stopping on the beaches of Rivière-Ouelle, Kamouraska, Cacouna, La Malbaie and Tadoussac since the 1830s, taken to shore on small boats. But careful now! Don’t miss the tide if you want to be taken back to the cruise ship in time.

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