Bic, Île du
Bic, Île du, uninhabited island, 14 km2, is located in the ST LAWRENCE R, 30 km west of Rimouski, Qué. Because of its advantageous position at the mouth of the St Lawrence near the natural harbour of Bic, it played a key military role under the French regime. From the time Québec was captured by the KIRKE brothers in 1629, Île du Bic served as a communications base for vessels operating between the colony's outposts (Gaspé, Tadoussac, Québec City) and as a port for fleets during the French-English and Anglo-American wars. Missionaries also used the island as a rallying point.
Before and after the Conquest, 1760, several development projects for the Bic harbour were successively devised and abandoned. Because of the many hazards for shipping in the river, during the French regime many sailors became pilots for transatlantic vessels. James MURRAY, the governor of Québec, regulated pilot activities on the river and established a pilotage station on the island. The pilots built several small houses at what came to be called Anse-des-Pilotes. In 1905 the station moved 40 km downstream to Pointe-au-Père. Countless tales are told of this island's enigmatic past and of the many shipwrecks on its reefs.