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Photo Details
Photographer:Jacques Trempe [View profile]Title:CSL SS QUEBECAdded:Aug 21, 2008
Photo Category: Casualties
CSL SS Quebec burning at the Tadoussac, Qc wharf on 14-8-1950
Photo by and courtesy of Lucie Villeneuve,
ID 1153450
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Photo Comments (9)

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Grand Daughter on May 05, 2017 22:15 (10 months ago)
My Grandfather was Captain Burch and it is wonderful to read these comments both about the event and my Grandfather. I am afraid that I was born after the fire, but I have a scrapbook which my Grandmother and Mother put together from the news around the event. I will add this to my memories and have shared the link with my family. He would not speak much about this with me when I was young, so having the clippings and photo is wonderful. Thanks so much.
delifour on Dec 08, 2014 16:23 (3 years ago)
Bobpowel: I also disagree with Marc. I was five and on the beach at Pointe Rouge when we saw it round the lighthouse on fire with smoke bellowing out. My grandmother was on board. I remember her burning throughout the night with her boilers howling so much that people were evacuated to the safety of the hill behind and overlooking the village. SS Quebec was NOT near a dock when fire broke out - she was in mid-St. Lawrence River.
rantomscootin on Apr 12, 2012 16:08 (5 years ago)
I was a passenger on the SS Quebec then. Although only eight at the time, I do have some distinct memories of the event. I used to have the stateroom key and fob I kept as a souvenir, but that has long since disappeared. I tried to post a longer thread as to my recollections, but was "timed out" by this website. Perhaps some other time.
MONKLAND on Jul 13, 2011 13:58 (6 years ago)
My father worked for the Canada Steamship Lines and I spent a lot of time on Saguenay trips and every Sunday we would go to Victoria Pier have dinner on the Richelieu and watch the ships leave.
The Quebec was my favorite ship and the Captain Cyrl Hunter Birch was my favorite Captain. Captain Birch was from Liscard England and started his sailing career on sailing ships. He closley resembled the Captain on the recent Titanic movie without the beard. He ran a tight ship. I would walk with him on his evening ship inspection and he would check everything. He definetly deserves a lot of credit for the quick docking in Tadoussac however a lot of credit goes to the pilot. These ships did not have stern and bow thrusters and the CSL pilots were tremendous. I would watch the pilot as the ship left Victoria pier. Victoria Pier was narrow with ships docked on both sides. A short blast of the whistle and the rear lines were slackened. The Captain would telegraph a short spurt of engine and the stern would move out to the centre of the pier another short blast and the bow and stern lines would drop in the water. The pilot would have his back to the wheel looking out the back windows of the wheelhouse and steer that ship right out of the harbour.
The pilots would bring the ships so close to Cape Trinity when the ship passed the statue on the Saguenay that you felt that you could reach out and touch the cape.

I loved the SS Quebec and I have a picture of the Quebec sailing out of Tadoussac on my desktop. Thanks for posting the picture.
Jacques Trempe on Jun 21, 2011 20:48 (6 years ago)
I agree with Bobpowel's account. Having been in Tadoussac for a few weeks for many years, the CSL ships were docking about 5pm, then sailing on the Saguenay. As for the docking, I witnessed many long and harduous ones with broken cables.
Bobpowel on Jun 18, 2011 12:02 (6 years ago)
A very sad event that I witnessed when I was seven years old. I have one slight disagreement with Marc's account. The fire happened in the late afternoon, which means the Quebec caught fire in the St Lawrence , not the Saguenay. All three CSL boats would come to Tadoussac around 5.30 stay an hour or so and then go up the Saguenay . They would return the following morning and dock for around ten minutes. With the tides at Tadoussac the docking could take quite a while. the Captain must have saved lives by doing a brilliant docking that was completed on the first attempt
Hubert Desgagnés on Sep 07, 2008 18:10 (9 years ago)
Une cousine de ma mère était à bord pour son voyage de noce. Ils ont tout perdu ,mais ont survécu! Connaissant les petits vents qui sortent du Saguenay, il est permis de se demander si le fait de rentrer à Tadoussac à pleine vitesse n'a pas empiré la situation....Mais à l'époque, aucun navire de sauvetage, des communications plus ou moins efficaces, un abandon au large dans les chaloupes auraient peut être été plus catastrophique. Dans de tels moments, on doit vite prendre une décision...une seule qu'on souhaite être la bonne!!!!
Lanaud on May 27, 2005 11:40 (12 years ago)
Tragic, but nice photo. Fire was one heck of a problem back then... today also, but different
Marc Piché on May 27, 2005 11:38 (12 years ago)
One of the near tragic events of Québec maritime history. She caught fire on the Saguenay River some four miles from the nearest dock and her captain sailed her as fast as he could to Tadoussac where the passengers were hurriedly taken off and the ship burned at the dock as depicted on this photo.
Luckily when the fire started, QUÉBEC was near a dock but if she had been furher out, the loss of life would have been tragic. Seven people died in the mishap.

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