Île aux Perroquets Lighthouse
In January 2015, Fisheries and Oceans Canada finalized the transfer of the Île aux Perroquets lighthouse. This navigation aid is still active and, with recent renovations to the lighthouse station buildings and the possibility of spending the night in one of the houses on the island, the site has now become a major attraction of the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada.
During decontamination work on the site, archaeological excavations revealed more details about the station's history. In particular, archaeologists unearthed the foundations of the first lighthouse built in 1888. Did you know that rainwater had to be collected because the island had no sources of drinking water? The excavation work uncovered a tank beneath the building, connected to the gutters of the house. An analysis of photos of the site taken at the turn of the century also shows barrels connected to the gutters of other buildings, ensuring that not a drop of water was lost.
The lighthouse was demolished following construction of the current lighthouse station and accommodations for the lightkeeper and his assistant in 1951. Today, only the foundation remains. Fortunately, the archaeological work served not only to document these remains, but also to ensure that they would not be destroyed by overly aggressive decontamination work.
Interested in lighthouse history? Take a look at our historical photos on Flickr.
Why is the island called "Perroquets"—meaning "parrots" in English—although the natural habitat of parrots is thousands of kilometres away? For the simple reason that the puffin, a bird that nests on cliffs, lives on the island. Samuel de Champlain's travels brought him to this area in 1613. At that time, the puffin was called the "sea parrot" because of its colourful beak, which looks like the beak of a parrot.
Real Property Assets, Environment, Safety and Security