Nérée Beauchemin, extract from the poem "Patrie intime" (Intimate Homeland), 1928

"My dream has never moved beyond
The dim cloister of that abode,
Wherein, about my duties, I tasted
True inner peace.
And my most pious wish,
And my most cherished dream,
Is to have my homeland
Forever before my eyes."
Nérée Beauchemin, extract from the poem "Patrie intime" (Intimate Homeland), 1928

"My dream has never moved beyond
The dim cloister of that abode,
Wherein, about my duties, I tasted
True inner peace.
And my most pious wish,
And my most cherished dream,
Is to have my homeland
Forever before my eyes.
"

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Red-brick home of the writer Nérée Beauchemin

Nérée Beauchemin lived in this house in Yamachiche from 1878 until he passed away in 1931, at the age of 81. He was a physician and a poet, and published two volumes of his work: "Les floraisons matutinales" (The Morning Blossoming) in 1897 and "Patrie intime" (Intimate Homeland) in 1928.

Philippe Manning
2012-11-22
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"At all times of day the men were to be seen, their pipes in their mouths and their noses in the air, strolling down to the beach to sniff the wind... drowsy peace among the russet stubble... a sky of blue and white without the slightest threat of rain... a faint breeze, light and the fine days were drawing to an end. The muskrats were already building their homes. And here and there clumps of rushes stood up out of the river."
"At all times of day the men were to be seen, their pipes in their mouths and their noses in the air, strolling down to the beach to sniff the wind... drowsy peace among the russet stubble... a sky of blue and white without the slightest threat of rain... a faint breeze, light and the fine days were drawing to an end. The muskrats were already building their homes. And here and there clumps of rushes stood up out of the river."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Two muskrats in a tree in Baie de Lavallière

Two muskrats seek refuge in a tree during a spring flood in Baie de Lavallière.

Philippe Manning
2008-05-09
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"Not far from the house, on the other side of the highway, which was known as Rue Saint-Laurent or the Chemin du Roi, stood a huge church, as big as a cathedral, the pride of the town and of the parish."
"Not far from the house, on the other side of the highway, which was known as Rue Saint-Laurent or the Chemin du Roi, stood a huge church, as big as a cathedral, the pride of the town and of the parish."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Red-brick home where writer Jacques Ferron spent his childhood.

Renowned writer, physician and politician Jacques Ferron (1921-1985) grew up in this charming home in Louiseville. He is known for his fantastical and poetic writings. His caustic humour, creativity, sense of irony and taste for the media circus expressed themselves in full with the creation of the Rhinoceros Party.

Philippe Manning
2012-09-21
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue Church on Chemin du Roy in Louiseville

Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue Church is not far from Jacques Ferron's childhood home in Louiseville.

Philippe Manning
2012-09-21
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"We would light both ovens; one burned wood and the other burned coal. I would have a hard time getting to sleep because I imagined that while I was sleeping, the cabin could start sailing away and we would end up in the middle of Lake Saint-Pierre the next morning, with the cabin towing our boat."
"We would light both ovens; one burned wood and the other burned coal. I would have a hard time getting to sleep because I imagined that while I was sleeping, the cabin could start sailing away and we would end up in the middle of Lake Saint-Pierre the next morning, with the cabin towing our boat."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

"Two men came out. They went to one of the boats moored along the channel, which were concealed by branches. People here say “chenail,” but I couldn’t find that word in my French dictionary. Anyway, the channels here correspond pretty much exactly to the dictionary definition: they are simply arms of the St. Lawrence, which branches out into many inlets to create the Sorel islands."
"Two men came out. They went to one of the boats moored along the channel, which were concealed by branches. People here say “chenail,” but I couldn’t find that word in my French dictionary. Anyway, the channels here correspond pretty much exactly to the dictionary definition: they are simply arms of the St. Lawrence, which branches out into many inlets to create the Sorel islands."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

A narrow channel in the Lake Saint-Pierre archipelago

This narrow channel winds among the islands of the Lake Saint-Pierre archipelago. Its banks are covered in aquatic plants. In the distance, a stand of poplars, maples and willows can be seen.

Mario Cloutier
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Germaine Guèvremont, "The Outlander," 1950

"Everything was now so peaceful that the plain seemed to be given over to a resignation that passed into serenity. The Inlet, shorn of its withered reeds packed between land and water, looked wider. At one end of the village pasture, the last of the sheep stood huddled in close array, nose to nose and flank to flank, rigid, silent, and tenacious. On the morrow, they would have to be ferried across in a barge from the field to the fold."
Germaine Guèvremont, "The Outlander," 1950

"Everything was now so peaceful that the plain seemed to be given over to a resignation that passed into serenity. The Inlet, shorn of its withered reeds packed between land and water, looked wider. At one end of the village pasture, the last of the sheep stood huddled in close array, nose to nose and flank to flank, rigid, silent, and tenacious. On the morrow, they would have to be ferried across in a barge from the field to the fold."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Barge used to carry livestock to the community pasture on Île du Moine.

Farmers bring their livestock to the island in the spring on a barge, and collect them again in the fall.

Philippe Manning
2008-10-24
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Germaine Guèvremont, "The Outlander," 1950

"Then the smoke of the first steamer plumed the tufted willows on the Île des Barques. As though powerless to rise above the treetops, it hovered round the clumps of alders before dispersing among the withered rushes."
Germaine Guèvremont, "The Outlander," 1950

"Then the smoke of the first steamer plumed the tufted willows on the Île des Barques. As though powerless to rise above the treetops, it hovered round the clumps of alders before dispersing among the withered rushes."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

A commercial vessel sails along the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Each year, about 5,000 commercial vessels of all types sail along the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Mario Cloutier
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Commercial vessel on the St. Lawrence

A commercial vessel can be seen in the distance on the St. Lawrence River.

Francine Ouellet
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"Twenty years earlier, boating enthusiasts could still go to the shipyards in Sorel and pick up cheap lifeboats from decommissioned cargo ships. Skilled craftsmen would transform the boats into small floating palaces, with wooden cabins painted white, two portholes on each side like a pair of innocent eyes and two frames placed in front of the cabin to make a windshield."
"Twenty years earlier, boating enthusiasts could still go to the shipyards in Sorel and pick up cheap lifeboats from decommissioned cargo ships. Skilled craftsmen would transform the boats into small floating palaces, with wooden cabins painted white, two portholes on each side like a pair of innocent eyes and two frames placed in front of the cabin to make a windshield."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Small blue and white boat moored at a dock on an island in the Lake Saint-Pierre archipelago

This small boat is moored at a dock not far from a cabin on an island in the Lake Saint-Pierre archipelago.

Mario Cloutier
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


“When he was courting my mother, my father brought her to the Sorel islands. At the time, this region was a wild garden, thick with willows and irrigated by countless channels—a precious vestige of the dawn of time. We had not yet thought to expand much on what was built by the first settlers. This low island featured a few scattered houses, pontoons with large green Verchère rowboats moored alongside them, a single lighthouse on the western end of the community pasture, and herds of grazing horses, cattle and sheep.”
When he was courting my mother, my father brought her to the Sorel islands. At the time, this region was a wild garden, thick with willows and irrigated by countless channels—a precious vestige of the dawn of time. We had not yet thought to expand much on what was built by the first settlers. This low island featured a few scattered houses, pontoons with large green Verchère rowboats moored alongside them, a single lighthouse on the western end of the community pasture, and herds of grazing horses, cattle and sheep.

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Germaine Guèvremont, "En pleine terre" (In Open Ground), 1938

"In Chenal du Moine, everyone wanted to be a lighthouse keeper: you got free gas and wood, as well as food and lodging, for half of the year. But this time, the ’burden’ had fallen on a stranger, a ’bigwig from the village of Yamaska,’ as the locals would derisively call him."
Germaine Guèvremont, "En pleine terre" (In Open Ground), 1938

"In Chenal du Moine, everyone wanted to be a lighthouse keeper: you got free gas and wood, as well as food and lodging, for half of the year. But this time, the ’burden’ had fallen on a stranger, a ’bigwig from the village of Yamaska,’ as the locals would derisively call him."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Lighthouse on the upstream end of Île du Moine

This beautiful lighthouse on the upstream side of Île du Moine was built in 1906. There were originally two lighthouses on the island, which functioned as front and rear range lights. However, the rear range light was destroyed by fire in the 1950s, and a steel lookout tower was built in its place. Today, the lighthouse and the tower serve as range lights, helping pilots navigate the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Francine Ouellet
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Germaine Guèvremont, "En pleine terre" (In Open Ground), 1938

"As a safety measure, each hunter had placed a willow branch to stake his claim on the pond where he planned to set up a blind."
Germaine Guèvremont, "En pleine terre" (In Open Ground), 1938

"As a safety measure, each hunter had placed a willow branch to stake his claim on the pond where he planned to set up a blind."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Marker placed in a mist-covered marsh to indicate a hunter's location.

Hunters may place a marker to indicate where they plan to hunt. Such markers must include the year and the hunter's name.

Philippe Manning
2008-06-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"His eyes lit up with pleasure.

I shoot there sometimes. Farther out still are the Îles de la Girodeau, one of them is called Île à la Cavale.... There’s shelter there against the high winds of late autumn, when one’s shooting or fishing on the banks. The lake’s no place to be out on in a storm, I can tell you."
"His eyes lit up with pleasure.

I shoot there sometimes. Farther out still are the Îles de la Girodeau, one of them is called Île à la Cavale.... There’s shelter there against the high winds of late autumn, when one’s shooting or fishing on the banks. The lake’s no place to be out on in a storm, I can tell you.
"

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Writer Germaine Guèvremont holding ducks in her hands.

Writer Germaine Guèvremont returns from a hunting trip.

Unknown
Jeanne Éthier and François Gélinas
c. 1943
Black and white photograph
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Antoine Gérin-Lajoie, "Jean Rivard, le défricheur" (Jean Rivard, the Pioneer), 1862

"The lake was teeming with life. People would fish for a type of trout, similar to steelhead, as well as many less sought-after species, such as eel, carp, perch, turbot and bullhead. It was also home to flocks of Black Ducks, which could be seen paddling back and forth, as well as gallinules, teal and all sorts of other birds."
Antoine Gérin-Lajoie, "Jean Rivard, le défricheur" (Jean Rivard, the Pioneer), 1862

"The lake was teeming with life. People would fish for a type of trout, similar to steelhead, as well as many less sought-after species, such as eel, carp, perch, turbot and bullhead. It was also home to flocks of Black Ducks, which could be seen paddling back and forth, as well as gallinules, teal and all sorts of other birds."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Two fishermen in a boat on Lake Saint-Pierre

Two fishermen aboard their boat on Lake Saint-Pierre. In the distance, a commercial vessel sails along the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Mario Cloutier
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"Local fishermen often caught enough fish to last a week. During the winter, Pierre Gagnon had built a type of net, called a "varveau" that he always kept in the water. He would only visit it every two or three days, but he caught so many fish that he was able to salt some and put it up for Lent and fast days."
"Local fishermen often caught enough fish to last a week. During the winter, Pierre Gagnon had built a type of net, called a "varveau" that he always kept in the water. He would only visit it every two or three days, but he caught so many fish that he was able to salt some and put it up for Lent and fast days."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Net used by commercial fishermen.

Commercial fishermen use a hoop net, known locally as a "varveau."

Philippe Manning
2005-08-26
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"In the summer, we would catch two or three walleye every evening, walleye that weighed three pounds. Sometimes we would also land a pike—but those fish can bite your fishing line in two. We caught loads of perch as well. Those were good times."
"In the summer, we would catch two or three walleye every evening, walleye that weighed three pounds. Sometimes we would also land a pike—but those fish can bite your fishing line in two. We caught loads of perch as well. Those were good times."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Two fishermen in a boat on a channel in the Lake Saint-Pierre archipelago

The channels of the archipelago teem with fish, making the region a great fishing destination.

Philippe Manning
2004-06-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"It’s the most picturesque village many people have ever seen. Many hoop nets, called ’varvaux’ by the local fishermen, can be seen stretched between poles."
"It’s the most picturesque village many people have ever seen. Many hoop nets, called ’varvaux’ by the local fishermen, can be seen stretched between poles."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Majestic silver maples in Notre-Dame-de-Pierreville

This photograph shows majestic silver maples in the fishing village of Notre-Dame-de-Pierreville.

Philippe Manning
2012-09-14
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"Poles three times as high as a man were piled up against the trees. A thick smoke billowed out of the smoke houses. You could see the tarred keels of the upside-down fishing boats and, at the end of the docks, children slashing the heads off the catfish that squirmed in their hands."

"He sailed up the winding route to Notre-Dame-de-Pierreville, and reached it in the afternoon. The village—some twenty homes, curing sheds, smoke houses and storage sheds—clung to the loamy banks of the channel. The small road that led up to it was of minimal importance. The docks were the sidewalks of the town, and the fishing boats its vehicles."
"Poles three times as high as a man were piled up against the trees. A thick smoke billowed out of the smoke houses. You could see the tarred keels of the upside-down fishing boats and, at the end of the docks, children slashing the heads off the catfish that squirmed in their hands."

"He sailed up the winding route to Notre-Dame-de-Pierreville, and reached it in the afternoon. The village—some twenty homes, curing sheds, smoke houses and storage sheds—clung to the loamy banks of the channel. The small road that led up to it was of minimal importance. The docks were the sidewalks of the town, and the fishing boats its vehicles."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Commercial fisherman in front of his smoker

Mr. Desmarais prepares sturgeon fillets in his smoker at Notre-Dame-de-Pierreville.

Philippe Manning
2008-09-10
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Two commercial fishing boats on Chenal Tardif

View of Chenal Tardif from Île du Fort, Notre-Dame-de-Pierreville

Philippe Manning
2012-09-14
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Louis-Honoré Fréchette, "Les pins de Nicolet" (The Pines of Nicolet), 1861

"Oh, those dense pines, whose ancient trunks stand tall,
Defying time, which destroys us all,
And, with their crowns amid the lightning strikes
Like indomitable giants, stay upright!"
Louis-Honoré Fréchette, "Les pins de Nicolet" (The Pines of Nicolet), 1861

"Oh, those dense pines, whose ancient trunks stand tall,
Defying time, which destroys us all,
And, with their crowns amid the lightning strikes
Like indomitable giants, stay upright!
"

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

A man leaning against the trunk of an enormous pine tree.

Guillaume Lafond leans against a hundred-year-old pine in the Boisé du Séminaire in Nicolet.

Philippe Manning
2012-08-27
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"Gently rocked by the ebbing breeze,
The lake was laid out like a clear blanket
As the night began to spread its wings;
Echos died out in the wild woods,
And on the sandy banks,
The tide expired in silence."
"Gently rocked by the ebbing breeze,
The lake was laid out like a clear blanket
As the night began to spread its wings;
Echos died out in the wild woods,
And on the sandy banks,
The tide expired in silence.
"

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

"Art now binds me on the brink of the river’s abyss;
I would sing it in verse, but in vain
I try to express what is divine,
Infernally fearsome and sublime."
"Art now binds me on the brink of the river’s abyss;
I would sing it in verse, but in vain
I try to express what is divine,
Infernally fearsome and sublime.
"

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

"And the river, the ancient river, the river wide,
Its breath ever swelling with life,
Magnificent, in its calm pride, marches on
Toward the light of dawn and the rising sun."
"And the river, the ancient river, the river wide,
Its breath ever swelling with life,
Magnificent, in its calm pride, marches on
Toward the light of dawn and the rising sun.
"

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Germaine Guèvremont, "The Outlander," 1950

"Beside the placid and incurious willows a few young sycamores thrust out their aggressive branches like so many lances couched; while the giant poplars dreamed in a patient expectation of what might come."
Germaine Guèvremont, "The Outlander," 1950

"Beside the placid and incurious willows a few young sycamores thrust out their aggressive branches like so many lances couched; while the giant poplars dreamed in a patient expectation of what might come."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Tall trees on an island in the Lake Saint-Pierre archipelago

Willows, silver maples and eastern cottonwoods grow on nearly every island in the Lake Saint-Pierre archipelago.

Mario Cloutier
2012-09-22
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"This is Lake Saint-Pierre, that incredible sea, a wide and shallow stretch of water, where the county softly rises as a low wetland, only good for snakes and bullfrogs, and the tall grass hides the border between land and water."
"This is Lake Saint-Pierre, that incredible sea, a wide and shallow stretch of water, where the county softly rises as a low wetland, only good for snakes and bullfrogs, and the tall grass hides the border between land and water."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Lighthouse on the St. Lawrence, built in 1907, seen from Anse du Port ecological park in Nicolet.

Lighthouse on the St. Lawrence, built in 1907, seen from Anse du Port ecological park in Nicolet.

Philippe Manning
2008-09-10
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"Between Quebec and Montreal
You’ll pass millions of trees
Standing tall
And Trois-Rivières
Maybe even your town
Then suddenly the river widens
To Lake Saint-Pierre
Best seen as dawn rises
Or as dusk falls
It’s beautiful; it’s frightening."
"Between Quebec and Montreal
You’ll pass millions of trees
Standing tall
And Trois-Rivières
Maybe even your town
Then suddenly the river widens
To Lake Saint-Pierre
Best seen as dawn rises
Or as dusk falls
It’s beautiful; it’s frightening.
"

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Person seated on a bench facing the St. Lawrence in Trois-Rivières

A person seated on a bench in Trois-Rivières Harbourfront Park gazes out at the St. Lawrence. The Port of Trois-Rivières and Laviolette Bridge can be seen in the distance.

Philippe Manning
2012-11-22
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"We would go to Île Plate, where my father had set up our campsite. The island never changed; it was a flat piece of land where nothing but cottonwoods grew."
"We would go to Île Plate, where my father had set up our campsite. The island never changed; it was a flat piece of land where nothing but cottonwoods grew."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

"The sunset that evening was exceptional. The docks of the little town of Sorel, nestled by the mouth of the Richelieu, were glowing gold."
"The sunset that evening was exceptional. The docks of the little town of Sorel, nestled by the mouth of the Richelieu, were glowing gold."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

View of the St. Lawrence from Regard-sur-le-Fleuve Park in Sorel-Tracy

View of the St. Lawrence and the Port of Sorel-Tracy from Regard-sur-le-Fleuve Park.

Philippe Manning
2011-08-03
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"The river flows calmly from Montreal to Sorel, but as it nears Lake Saint-Pierre, where it will spread out into an inland sea, it scatters hundreds of islands in its path as if desperately trying to grab hold of the land."
"The river flows calmly from Montreal to Sorel, but as it nears Lake Saint-Pierre, where it will spread out into an inland sea, it scatters hundreds of islands in its path as if desperately trying to grab hold of the land."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

"You would never imagine. On a map, Lake Saint-Pierre is nothing more than a wide part of the St. Lawrence, a stretch of freshwater lying along one of the largest rivers in North America. But this lake is as moody as an inland sea, and the waters of an inland sea are always the most turbulent. That’s something you can only learn by sailing on it."
"You would never imagine. On a map, Lake Saint-Pierre is nothing more than a wide part of the St. Lawrence, a stretch of freshwater lying along one of the largest rivers in North America. But this lake is as moody as an inland sea, and the waters of an inland sea are always the most turbulent. That’s something you can only learn by sailing on it."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Antoine Gérin-Lajoie's childhood home in Yamachiche

Journalist, lawyer, civil servant and writer Antoine Gérin-Lajoie was born in 1824 in this house near Yamachiche. He entered the Nicolet seminary in 1837, where he was noted for his intelligence and skill as a writer. The rebellions of 1837 and the subsequent exile of the Patriotes inspired him to write the lyrics to what would become an extremely popular song.

Philippe Manning
2012-11-22
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


"A wandering Canadian,
Banished from hearth and home,
Wandered with tearful eye
Through many a foreign land.
One day, sad and deep in thought,
As he sat by the river’s edge,
To the flitting current,
He addressed these words:
If you should see my country,
My unhappy homeland,
Go tell my friends
That I still think of them."
"A wandering Canadian,
Banished from hearth and home,
Wandered with tearful eye
Through many a foreign land.
One day, sad and deep in thought,
As he sat by the river’s edge,
To the flitting current,
He addressed these words:
If you should see my country,
My unhappy homeland,
Go tell my friends
That I still think of them.
"

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

Educational objectives

  1. Discover how the Lake Saint-Pierre region and the lifestyle of its inhabitants have inspired various writers.
  2. Compare the writing styles of different time periods.
Curricular connections

Connections will be established between the virtual exhibit The Human Side of Lake Saint-Pierre and the contents of educational programs: awareness of interdependence between the environment and human activity; knowledge related to the organization of a society in its territory; appreciation of literature.

Learning outcomes

  1. Discover texts written by authors in various time periods and note what characterizes their style.
  2. Identify the sources of inspiration of these writers. Write a short text inspired by an aspect of the region.
Measures taken to create a lesson plan based on the collection of learning objects

Students note the literary extracts in a notebook, select a photograph that illustrates an aspect of the region, and print it out. Then, they write a short text inspired by the photo and enter it underneath the photograph. In the classroom, students will shares their images and texts and discuss what inspired them.

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