Central and Arctic Region

Operational Stations
Marine Communications Officers
Coast Guard Radio Station (CGRS)

In 1910, a network of wireless telegraph offices was rapidly set up along the St. Lawrence River, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Coast. Twenty-nine offices operated to form a continuous chain of communications, offering vessels unequalled coastal assistance. During this period, the offices in Quebec City, Grosse Île and Port Menier on Anticosti Island appeared. One year later, the Quebec City and Grosse Île offices, which were initially put into service by the Department of Public Works, were transferred to the Department of Naval Service. Operations at these offices were resumed by Marconi Wireless Company.

In 1914, a suitable location for a larger station proposed for Quebec City was found on the rise west of the Citadel at a place named 'Les Glacis'. The Department of Militia and Defence, which was responsible for the land, granted the necessary permission. But protests from the local community delayed the work.

When the station was inaugurated, it had a new 2 kW transmitter, the industrial standard at the time. The device was powered by the city. The total cost of these facilities came to $895.74.

On August 4, 1914, VCC and all the other radio telegraph offices in Canada were brought up to war strength. The same thing occurred in World War II.

Decades later, increased use of wireless technology among vessels on the St. Lawrence indicated that coverage was not adequate in the section between Montreal and Quebec City. A study undertaken in 1954 was later able to confirm that there were dead spots. Consequently, a new station was built in Trois-Rivières at a former Marconi station, with call sign VBK.

In 1954, when the Marconi stations were taken over by the Department of Transport and the air and marine services were integrated, VCC was moved to Ancienne-Lorette Airport. Finally, on April 1, 1979, the Coast Guard Radio Station services moved to the Coast Guard Base on Champlain Boulevard and in 1996, the Quebec Vessel Traffic Services and the CGRS services were officially integrated into the new MCTS.

The station first operated with the call letters "QU", followed by "MQU" and finally "VCC" in 1912.

Vessel Traffic Services Centre (VTS)

Inauguration of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 resulted in a gradual annual increase in the volume of vessel traffic on the St. Lawrence. The increase in vessel traffic, and the size, speed and overall tonnage of ships resulted in a rise in the number of accidents and incidents, putting human life, environmental safety and cargo in danger.

The Department of Transport fulfilled its mandate in April 1967 by deploying the first vessel traffic management system in Canada that was responsible for monitoring the St. Lawrence Seaway, from Les Escoumins to just downstream of the Port of Montreal. Coverage of the St. Lawrence occurred gradually from the Gulf to the St. Lawrence Seaway.

In 1968, the sector under surveillance was expanded 20 miles to the east when Pointe-au-Boisvert was added. Coverage of the Saguenay River started in 1969, and the sector being monitored was extended to the Port of Sept-Îles, a boundary that was subsequently set at 66 west longitude.

The upstream part of the sector covered by the Quebec Vessel Traffic Services Centre was also changed several times to the benefit of the new Montreal VTS Centre. In 1970, responsibility for the sector between Tracy and Yamachiche was transferred to the Montreal Centre, which was also made responsible for monitoring another complete sector (sector 4) in 1975, so that the existing subdivisions between sectors would match the Montreal district's area of jurisdiction.

The Quebec VTS Centre also had to transfer another part of its territory to the east. In 1974, it was decided that because of various factors that increased the risks in a marine environment, it had become necessary to provide radar coverage for the pilot boarding area in Les Escoumins, and so it came about that a new VTS Centre was put into service to provide the necessary coverage. The sector from Pointe-au-Boisvert to Île Blanche was transferred to Les Escoumins VTS Centre in 1974, the Saguenay River sector was transferred in 1975 and the entire sector between 66 west longitude and Pointe-au-Boisvert was transferred in 1976.

In 1996, the Quebec Vessel Traffic Services and the Coast Guard Radio Station services were officially integrated into the new Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) and are located at the Coast Guard Base on boulevard Champlain.

In 2004, Quebec MCTS took responsibility for the sector Grondines to Yamachiche, and, in 2007, the sector Yamachiche to Tracy was transferred back to Quebec. On March 31st, 2014, Montreal MCTS was closed and the responsibility of the remaining services was transferred to Quebec MCTS. Its coverage is now from Ile-Blanche to Montreal Harbour, separated in three traffic sectors, and from Riviere-du-Loup to Cornwall, including Richelieu and Ottawa Rivers for the Coast Guard radio services.
Unifor Local 2182
Québec / VCC
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