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Coucoucache

Canadian List of Shipping 1970: Steel tug Coucoucache [C.188896] registered at Montreal; built at Owen Sound in 1934. 34’; 12 g.t. Transport Canada List 2002: Owned by Le Groupe Ocean Inc., Québec. Transport Canada List 2003: Owned by Le Groupe Ocean Inc., Québec.

Windigo, QC, Start of Logging, c. 1960. The "Big Boats" of the STMRD.

Yves Cloutier notes: "These photographic slides came into my hands 20 years ago and were given to my family by Marius Pepin, an executive at the STMRD. Marius ALWAYS had a camera with him. They are the only color pictures of Windigo I know. The date is the late 50's or may be early 60's, but definitively before 1964, the last year the Colonel Georges was used by the STMRD. The Weymontachingue and the R. F. Grant were built by Canadian Vickers in Montreal in 1934. I don't know if the Colonel was built by Vickers or if it could be a Russel. Any info on that would be appreciated."


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Yves Cloutier notes: " Early spring in the late 50's, the water level is low in Windigo Québec (the far end of the Rapide-Blanc reservoir) and Coucoucache is "winching" itself to the open water, Flamand will follow. The Rapide des Coeurs already in the water his nose can be seen at the right near the pillar.

The mission was to get in position to winch the "big" boats to the water. I am not certain that this kind of work would be permitted today! The Village was closed, it was a hub used by the Brown Corporation (a logging company) and closed the village in the early 1960's. A project to build a dam at Rapide Des Coeurs keept the village alive for a couple of years but, when Hydro Québec decided to stop the project to concentrate on the Manic 5 project, we were only a couple of families left in the village. In 1963, The STMRD decided to move all the boats to Rapide-Blanc (Windigo is at one end of the lake, Rapide-Blanc at the other end!). We moved to La Tuque and my father was traveling to Rapide-Blanc enther by train or with the company truck. The STMRD used our house and another one as a base camp till 1998. Here's what it looked like in 2004! The boat slip was on the right! Our house the green one, the CN section house in the front and the house of the St-Maurice forest on top of the hill.

Windigo, QC in 2004. Yves Cloutier photo.

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Yves Cloutier notes: " In front, The Coucoucache, getting ready to turn itself around and "winch" itself to the water. In back, from left to right, The Weymontachingue, The R.F. Grant and the Colonel Georges...

The Colonel Georges will be winched to the water and will be used to crush the ice where required. The Colonel had a flat bottom. I remember once, when I was a kid to have been on board for one of these assignments. Wow, The boat approached the ice at slow speed, and when the contact was established, the operator had to push the engine to the max in order to climb up onto the ice, pushing the boat out of the water until the ice broke under the boat. Then, the power was relased to clear the ice from under the boat and the manoeuver was repeated until the path was open. Sometimes, one third of the boat would get on the ice before it broke. Jumping a log boom is thrilling, but crushing the ice is another experience, the feeling when the ice breaks and the front of the boat falls in the water is kind of scary.

I was 4 years old at the time and i still remember this day like yesterday. Even at that age, I was "driving" the boats, sometimes standing on a bench, my father taking care of the throttle as my arms were not long enough to reach it. I was also driving our car on my father's knees.... the advantage of living in the middle of nowhere!

Weymontachingue and R. F. Grant were used rafting logs between Windigo and Rapide Blanc. The Colonel was rafting and pushing logs at Rapide Blanc. The problem of pushing with this boat..... too much power resulting in massive jams in front of the log chute at Rapide Blanc, and just below the bottom of the chute.

The Weymontachingue has been renamed, SERVICE BOAT NO 2 and the R. F. Grant is still in service, they are owned by Le Groupe Ocean and are still in use on the St-Laurent. The R. F. Grant is in Trois-Rivières and is assigned to transport the pilots in winter... The Colonel was retired in 1984 according to Transport Canada site."

 

Coucoucache in Québec City, May 18th, 2001. Mac Mackay photo. YC notes: Coucoucache arrived in Windigo in 1934, the Cabin was rebuilt (remodeled) before 1960 and again in the early 80's to give it the look below.

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Coucoucache (foreground) and La Croche, Québec City, May 20th 2006.

 

Coucoucache and OC-34 (Rapide Des Coeurs) in Québec City, Aug. 1, 2007.

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