The tradition of shipbuilding and navigating on the St. Lawrence River dates back to the 17th century. Master shipwrights who had sailed over from France passed on their knowledge to craftsmen born in New France, with the locals then adapting it to their surroundings.
For more than three centuries, on the islands and along the shores of the St. Lawrence, families and sometimes entire villages came to specialize in the maritime industry. The Lachance family was one of them.
As François-Xavier Lachance was settling in Saint-Laurent, the village was already home to a number of families of seasoned sailors and shipwrights, as were Saint-Jean-de-l’Île-d’Orléans, Isle-aux-Grues, L’Islet, Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Isle-aux-Coudres, and other towns and villages along the St. Lawrence. This was still a time when boats were built with wood, a material that was widely available all along the river, and that local craftsmen were skilled at working with.