Central and Arctic Region

Closed Stations
Marine Communications Officers
Located in Longueuil on the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River, the Montreal Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre provides services for all the navigable waters of the St. Lawrence River between Yamachiche and the upstream boundaries of the Port of Montréal, which is the port of entry to the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Montreal MCTS Centre also serves a large clientele of recreational boaters on Richelieu, Outaouais, and Des Prairies Rivers, Lake St. François, and Lake of Two Mountains, and some users on Lake Champlain.

Coast Guard Radio Station (CGRS)

The first station was built by the Canadian Marconi Company at 'La Jetée Tarte', section 44 at the Montreal Harbour. It began operating in November 1909 under the call sign 'MTL', to become 'VCA' and then 'VFN' around 1915. Until then, the call sign VFN was assigned to the vessel 'Morwenna'.

The location of the Tarte Pier station in Montréal was long considered to be a site with poor reception. Induction from nearby high-voltage power lines had become so intense that a decision was made to move the station. In 1914, a suitable location for Montréal's new station was found at St-Michel de Laval. The size of the location, in the old measuring system, was nine arpents, and the purchase price was $1,400 per arpent. Unfortunately, because of more pressing war-related work, the move did not take place immediately. Work on the new station, which had been delayed as a result, finally started on August 1, 1921. A three-piece mast with an umbrella aerial was also built. The old station was officially closed and the new facilities were opened on October 10, 1921.

With the growth in radiotelephony and radiotelegraphy, as well as the appearance of new Omni directional radio beacons, the Department of Transport saw its responsibilities increase. There were also the new responsibilities related to the military stations, which had become Department of Transport stations. All these factors resulted in the opening of regional offices across the country. In 1946, a departmental office was inaugurated in Montréal to serve a new district covering the sector from Montréal to Chaleur Bay.

In 1961, the Montréal station located at Ville St-Michel moved to Dorval Airport. The radio operators and technicians would henceforth report to the Department of Transport's Air Services, which would be responsible for Telecommunications and Electronics/Marine until 1978.

The Trois-Rivières/VBK station was later closed because it was redundant and its services were added to Montréal's in 1978. At that time, Montréal/VFN was operating VHF and MF on R/T and MF on C/W.

In 1990, all the Coast Guard services in Montréal were united under one roof at 101 Rolland Therrien Boulevard in Longueuil. The Centre brought together the staff from the Coast Guard Radio Station and the Marine Traffic Regulators who had been at Sutherland Wharf.

Vessel Traffic Services (VTS)

Since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, the volume of vessel traffic has grown annually. In the early 1960's, the Canadian government decided that it would be a good idea for vessels traveling on the River to be equipped with a system to control vessels movement, facilitate tracking aids to navigation, sound pollution warnings and coordinate search and rescue operations. This is why the system was introduced.

In 1967, the Minister of Transport was mandated to implement a Vessel Traffic Management system, since the number of accidents was likely to increase.

In 1968, Montreal VTS was inaugurated subsequent to implementation of the provisions established by the Minister of Transport. The traffic regulation services, which were the responsibility of the Port of Montréal, were also integrated into VTS at that time. The Centre consisted of two sectors. Sector 6 included the Port of Montréal up to berth 110, and Sector 5 extended from berth 110 to Tracy. In late 1968, two radar sites were installed, one on Sutherland wharf, and one on Île Grosbois, with a microwave radio link to the operations Centre.

In 1975, the increase of vessel traffic and the risk of accidents on the River in both sectors (manoeuvres carried out near the sector boundaries) resulted in their restructuring. After being transferred from Quebec VTS, Sector 4, which stretched from Grondines to Yamachiche, became the responsibility of Montréal VTS, and the boundaries of Sector 5 were changed to include the zone from Yamachiche to Cap St.-Michel. Sector 6 was also changed to cover the zone from Cap St.-Michel to the upstream boundaries of the Port of Montréal.

In 1990, the Centre moved to Longueuil, on Montréal's south shore. In 1995, Montréal CGRS and VTS amalgamated to become what is now known as Montréal MCTS and subsequent to program review, Sector 4 was transferred to Québec MCTS, the same year. In 2007, the responsibility of the sector from Yamachiche to Tracy was transferred to Québec MCTS.

MCTS closed on March 31st, 2014 and all remaining services were transferred under the responsibility of Québec MCTS.

Unifor Local 2182
Montréal / VFN
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