Safe Passage: Aids to Navigation on the St. Lawrence
Coat of arms of Trinity House
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
3.5 x 3.6 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords: emblem - medal - seal (491) , Print (10661) , Sign and symbol (2669)
Keys to History
Administration: The Decision Makers
The first Trinity House opened in Quebec City in 1805. Twenty-five years later, an affiliate opened in Montreal. Modelled on the British organization founded in 1512, Trinity House was authorized to improve the efficiency and safety of shipping traffic on the St. Lawrence. Its work included installing lighthouses and navigation aids as well as removing obstacles such as sandbars.
The two Trinity Houses in Lower Canada were modelled on the British organization: they assisted the Admiralty, the Imperial board of trade and the various lighthouse commissions in the maritimes. Responsible for all of the lighthouses downriver from Montreal, they operated up until Confederation.
Trinity House was an organization dedicated to ensuring the safety of ships and the well-being of their sailors. Part of its mandate was to build and maintain lighthouses and navigation aids.
In the 19th century in Lower Canada, two Trinity Houses opened: one in Quebec City and, a some years later, one in Montreal. Together they had responsibility for Canada's inland waterways from Quebec City to Upper Canada.
The first Trinity House was founded in 1512 in Great Britain. In Lower Canada, the first Trinity House opened in Quebec City in 1805, while the one in Montreal opened in 1832. The two groups handed over their responsibilities to the Department of Marine in the early 1870s.
Each Trinity House was headed by three directors. In addition to their administrative responsibilities, the directors held judicial powers and presided over criminal and civil cases such as those related to shipping violations and contractual disputes between sailors and shipowners.