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Virtual Museum of Canada

The Archipelago

Île d'Embarras

In the late 1970s, Rita and Yvan Lanctôt purchased a beautiful house on Île d'Embarras. Although they owned the house, the Beauchemin family retained the title to the land until the 1990s. All property on the island was once owned by the Beauchemins, who would not allow it to be transferred to anyone outside their family. Locals often refer to the island as Île des Beauchemin.

Rita and Yvan Lanctôt in their home on Île d'Embarras, built in 1887

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Yvan Lanctôt is passionate about history and genealogy. He tells how the story of this house began when Paul Beauchemin bought land on Île d'Embarras to build a home, where he and his wife Aurélie raised their thirteen children. When the children reached marriageable age, Paul Beauchemin gave them plots on the island to build their own homes.

Old photograph of Paul Beauchemin (1832-1906) and Aurélie Mongeau (1834-1922)
Paul Beauchemin (1832-1906) and his wife Aurélie Mongeau (1834-1922)

Their son Louis built his own home in 1887, where he lived with his wife Marie and their nine children.

Old photograph of Louis Beauchemin (1862-1950) and Marie Paul-Hus (1868-1935)
Louis Beauchemin (1862-1950) and his wife Marie Paul-Hus (1868-1935)

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This charming house, filled with the memories of generations of Beauchemins, is now home to Rita and Yvan Lanctôt. Here, time almost seems to stand still. Two historic photographs on the walls stand guard over the house. Looking at them, you can't avoid noticing the proud expressions of the first colonists to settle on Île d'Embarras, who seem to remind you that this land belongs to the Beauchemins.

Light blue house on Île d'Embarras in winter
House on Île d'Embarras, built in 1887 by Louis Beauchemin

Several small outbuildings stand near the house; some of them were used for storage.

View of a house on Île d'Embarras in winter

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Animals were kept in this building. During spring floods, they would be brought up onto the second floor.

Old two-story building on Île d'Embarras

Around 1940, Berthe Beauchemin began to sell her famous gibelotte, a fish and vegetable soup. This dish remains very popular in the Sorel-Tracy region.

Yellow and orange house on Île d'Embarras, built in the 19th century
This house on Île d'Embarras was originally owned by Paul Beauchemin. He passed it on to his son Odilon, who bequeathed it to his daughter Berthe.

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