Pointe-à-la-Renommée: a name steeped in adventure
Pointe-à-la-Renommée (in English, Fame Point):
There’s an entire history carried in the name. But the name has changed over the years!
In 1613, Samuel de Champlain named the site Cap l’Évesque , then changed it to Cap de la Boutonnière in 1625.
Both names are fine indeed, but the word “cape” wasn’t destined to last.
In 1763, a large sailing ship left La Rochelle, France, and later wrecked near the coast of Île d’Anticosti.
Its name: La Renommée (which means fame).
But don’t jump to conclusions!
The few shipwreck survivors who managed to reach the mainland spent a terrible winter without food or fire. Many died of starvation.
As a result, Cap de la Boutonnière became… Pointe à la Faim , to honour the victims.
Later, during the Conquest, the British (who were not well versed in French) mistranslated Pointe à la Faim as Fame Point, giving the name a whole new meaning.
Years later, when the French had gained influence, the word “Fame” was re-translated as Renommée. The circle was completed!
What about the lighthouse?
In 1907, a second lighthouse, made of prefabricated cast-iron parts, replaced the earlier one. The newer lighthouse is much more resilient and requires little maintenance.
After being abandoned for a number of years, the lighthouse was relocated in 1977 to the Canadian Coast Guard base near Petit Champlain, in Quebec City. Thanks to the efforts of Gaspésie residents, the lighthouse was returned to its original site in 1997, and became a popular historical destination and museum.
Today, the Pointe-à-la-Renommée historic site is a great source of local pride and attracts thousands of tourists. The L’Anse-à-Valleau local development committee has won numerous awards and distinctions in recognition of its achievements, including one from the Conseil des monuments et des sites historiques du Québec.
The very first telegraph station in North America
Named Marconi station, it was first operated by Marconi Canada. It’s from Marconi station that the first wireless signals were transmitted to save lives at sea.
Thanks to the station’s excellent radio range and its staff’s great dedication to aiding navigation, the station’s call sign, Victor Charlie Golf (VCG), soon became known throughout the maritime world.
In 2012, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorated the historic significance of the marine telegraph system at Pointe-à-la-Renommée.
When you visit Pointe-à-la-Renommée, you’ll learn about the fascinating history of Guglielmo Marconi and the station’s radio and optical telegraph (semaphore) operators. You’ll also discover the communications devices used in Marconi’s time.
Marconi station is a symbol of innovation and a testament to the resourcefulness and ingenuity of Canada and Gaspésie.