Laurentian Waters Interpretation Centre


Laurentian Waters Interpretation Centre (CIEL) 47 de l'Église Street

The CIEL opened its doors in Lac-des-Seize-Îles in June 2019. It is a non-profit organization founded by divers Dominique Bernier, Jacques Lech, Richard Lahaie and Jean-Louis Courteau, its director. Exceptional collections of geological, archaeological and biological specimens from several bodies of water, in particular Lac-des-Seize-Îles, are showcased in its exhibition and interpretation space. Measuring 5.6 km in length with a depth of up to 66.6 m, the lake is a vast playground that divers have been exploring since 2011 in search of marvelous objects. Many of their discoveries have proven to be of great scientific and ethnographic interest.


Rock inclusion
Source: CIEL, photograph by Jean-Louis Courteau

Among the mineralogical fragments found at the CIEL, we can admire these quartzite xenoliths formed by tectonic pressure occurring over 20 kilometers below the Earth’s surface. These stone sculptures take us back in time to the distant geological p a s t , more than a billion years ago. This phenomenon of rock inclusion torsion also occurs out of water, but rarely so, freed entirely from their marble gangue which was slowly dissolved by the eddies.

A submerged museum

Some objects removed from the Lac-des-Seize-Îles
Source: CIEL, photograph by Jacques

Lech In addition to its geological features, the lake is littered with artifacts ranging from inkwells to 1929 Studebaker Erskines, and from a variety of eras: from a 700-year-old Iroquoian vase to sunglasses lost last summer. Some of these resurfaced objects tell fascinating stories thanks to the research of CIEL's sleuths and their scientific collaborators who interpret them.

“I've dived here many times. But I still fish out plenty of artifacts, along the big Green Island. The first time, with Gringo, we found twenty-four nineteenth-century corked beers. What happened, over a hundred and twenty years ago?”

Excerpt from 'Seize îles', by Jean-Louis Courteau, edition XYZ, collection Romanichels p.159

Life on the lake

Recognizable by its stripes, this bass nicknamed Tiger is an 'old' acquaintance of divers.
Source: CIEL, photograph by Jean-Louis Courteau

The aquatic ecosystem is home to several varieties of fish, such as bass, yellow perch, lake trout, brook trout, bluegill and sunfish. Over the course of the dives, our knowledge of these lake inhabitants has increased. The spawning period, the spawning sites and previously unknown behaviours have been observed and are the subject of advanced studies in universities.

The infinitely small

This copepod of calanoïde type is a small crustacean less than 3 mm long.
Source: CIEL, photography by Sylvain Miller

Snapping turtles, insects, mallards and loons are easily observed at the lake, as well as a good number of underwater and floating plants. However, the CIEL does not stop at what is visible to the naked eye; it also scans the world of the infinitely small micro-organisms, phytoplankton and zooplankton. At the bottom of the food chain, these organisms play an important role in the ecological balance and the maintenance of biodiversity. They are also indicators of lake health.

The health of a lake)

Eurasian watermilfoil
Source: CIEL, photograph by Jean-Louis Courteau

The work of the CIEL makes us aware that lake habitats are much more complex than they appear. In addition to research and exploration, the organization strives to educate through conferences and awareness workshops. The impact and the conditions of proliferation of Eurasian water milfoil, an invasive exotic plant present in several Quebec lakes, are among the subjects discussed with the shoreline residents in order to find appropriate solutions for its control.

Extract of
Lac-des-Seize-Iles... History and Heritage

Lac-des-Seize-Iles... History and Heritage image circuit

Presented by : Municipalité de Lac-des-Seize-Îles
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