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Montréal Coast Guard radio station:
100 years already
Montréal Coast Guard radio station: 100 years already

In 2009, the Canadian Coast Guard’s Montréal radio station celebrates its 100th anniversary. Always at the forefront of technology, this station – established by the Canadian Marconi Company in 1909 – has seen many changes in the field of marine communications over the course of the last century. It witnessed marine events that even today inhabit the imaginations of countless mariners.

Now that Coast Guard services are grouped in a single unit, this station is known as the Montreal Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre. It covers waterways from Buoy S2 to Cornwall, including the Richelieu, Outaouais and Prairies rivers as well as the following lakes: Saint-Pierre, Saint-François, Deux Montagnes and Champlain. This is the station that receives the largest number of calls for assistance in Canada.

1909: The Montréal Coast Guard radio station was established in the Port of Montréal. It began operations in November under the call sign MTL, which would later become VCA and then in 1915, it was changed again, becoming VFN – the call signal that has been used ever since.

1914: Poor radio reception conditions in the Port of Montréal led to a decision to move the station to the Saint-Michel-de-Laval area. But delayed by the First World War, the work would eventually begin only in August 1921. The new facility was opened on October 10, 1921.

1959: With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the number of ships using this new route grew steadily. The Canadian government put forward the idea of a system that could be used to observe vessel movement, issue pollution warnings, and coordinate search and rescue operation.

Montréal Coast Guard radio station: 100 years already, DFO, P. Dionne
DFO  P. Dionne

1961: Marine services were combined with air services and the Montréal Coast Guard radio moved to Dorval Airport, where it was located until 1978.

1968: The Montréal Marine Traffic Service (MTS) Centre was inaugurated, integrating the marine traffic management services that had until then been managed by the Port of Montréal Harbour Master’s Office.

1990: Canadian Coast services in Montréal were brought together under a single roof in Longueuil. The new centre harbours the Coast Guard’s Montréal radio station personnel and the marine traffic regulators (MTS). Thereafter, the two bodies were merged, creating what is today known as the Montreal Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre (MCTS).

Claude Paquette
Canadian Coast Guard