Cap-des-Rosiers Lighthousekeepers

Renowned both for their legendary hospitality and efficiency, lighthouse keepers have long provided sailors with a reliable and constant service for the benefit of maritime transport.

No matter the weather, they had to climb up on top of the lighthouse to power burners, turn them on at evening and off at daylight arrival. They also maintained the lantern and optical devices of the lighthouse. In the most exposed places, they would feed the shipwrecked or supply crews in distress with goods.

A dozen  lightkeepers have worked at the lighthouse at Cap-des-Rosiers.

Eugene Trudeau, the first keeper, was appointed by the Trinity House of Quebec in 1857. In 1861, he received an annual salary of $ 400 and an annual allowance of $ 400 to pay the two assistants for operation of the gun in foggy weather. He remained in office until 1872.

Auguste Trudeau, born March 24, 1836, one of Eugene Trudeau’s two aids since October 17, 1863, took over from him. Salary and allowance remain the same as previously from 1872 to 1883, even if the keeper is no longer paid by the Trinity House of Quebec. This organization had ceased to provide management aids to navigation under an Order-in-Council dated February 11, 1870. "An Act to amend the Act concerning lighthouses , buoys and beacons , 22 Victoria, chapter 18." passed by the Canadian Parliament on May 22, 1868, transferred the management of aids to navigation from the Trinity House of Quebec to the new Marine and Fisheries federal Department, which was legally established on 30 June 1978.

In 1883, the cannon was replaced by a fog whistle. There was no longer need of the two assistants. However, Auguste Trudeau continued to earn $800, $400 as a lighthouse keeper and $400 as the fog whistle keeper and mechanic. He ended his service in 1887.

John B. Vien replaced him the same year and earned the same pay until 1890.

Eugene Costin, engineer and manufacturer of boilers by trade, is officially named the third lighthouse keeper Cap-des-Rosiers on Nov. 4, 1890. As Vien and Trudeau , he receives $ 800 per year for the combined functions of a lighthouse and whistle keeper. This treatment will remain unchanged until April 1, 1908, the date when a ministerial decree was adopted to classify posts lighthouse keepers and Fog Signals . Between 1908 and 1915, his salary went from $ 920 to $ 1180. He died during the fiscal year 1916-1917. For a short time, some members of his family provided temporary custody of the lighthouse and foghorn.

P.E. Thériault, the new keeper, took over from the deceased in 1917. His salary of $920 in 1916 reached $1,297 in 1919. Thériault passed away in 1919. His wife assured the continuity of care of the headlight and whistle until his successor, Captain Joseph-Napoléon Côté previously lighthouse keeper at Greenly Island in the Strait of Belle Isle arrived. Annual revenues increased from $957 to $1,885 between 1921 and 1924.

During the navigation season of 1924,  an OM Côté, probably one of his relatives, took his place. The substitute keeper earned $1740 for the fiscal year 1924-1925.

Joseph-Napoléon Côté returned to duty for the next shipping season. He received a financial benefit of $1920 for the fiscal year 1925-1926 and $1,760 from 1 April 2021 to 28 February 1927. He terminated employment on that date, for unknown reasons.

Joseph Ferguson, his replacement, a Canadian of Scottish decent, was officially appointed lighthouse keeper Cap-des-Rosiers September 2, 1927, at a salary of $1,860. It is likely that he entered into function, informally, at the departure of his predecessor. He received the following salaries during the fiscal years mentioned below:

1927-1928: $1,860

1928-1929: $1,920

1929-1930: $1,980

The other main lighthouse keepers at Cap-des-Rosiers were :

Joseph -Napoléon Côté who came back to service from 1931 to 1935

Joseph Ferguson also returned from 1935 to 1951. He received a citation for vigilance for spotting in September 1942 the first enemy submarine in Canadian waters during the Second World War . His sons were also lighthouse keepers on Anticosti Island, one at Lighthouse Pointe West and the other Lighthouse Pointe Heath.

Joseph -Narcisse Rioux officially named in 1951, at the age of 59, remained in office until 1970.

Yves Packwood from 1970-1971

Owen Gleeton from 1971-1972

Paul Roger Caron  from 1972-1978

Yvon Element, appointed in 1978, was the last lighthouse keeper at Cap-des-Rosiers. When the lighthouse was automated in 1981 he was transferred to the lighthouse on Corossol island.


List of the 12 lighthouse keepers at Cap-des-Rosiers from 1858 to1981

Eugène Trudeau


15 years

A. Trudeau


15 years

Jean Viens


3 years

Eugène Costin


27 years

E. Thériault


4 years

Napoléon Côté


6 years

Joseph Ferguson


4 years

Napoléon Côté


4 years


Total of his 2 terms: 10 years

Joseph Ferguson


16 years


Total of his 2 terms: 20 years

Joseph Narcisse Rioux


19 years

Yves Packwood


1 year

Owen Gleeton


1 year

Paul-Roger Caron


6 years

Yvon Element


3 years