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March 25 - April 1, 2004
Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
As we continue our
recap of our spring 1998 journey across eastern Canada (by way
of northern Maine), we've left clear skies behind - and downtown
Quebec City, too.
Our last stop in the provincial capital this June day is on
Mount Bel Air, west of the city, where we find nearly all the
city's FM stations. That's CHOI (98.1) on the right, the first
tower you pass on the way up the hill (and the last one you pass
on the way back down.)
At the top of the mountain, several towers sit in close proximity.
I'm pretty sure the ones on the left are home to CJMF (93.3),
CHIK (98.9), CITF (107.5) and CKMI-TV (Channel 20); another nearby
tower holds the CBC's FM services, CBV (95.3), CBVX (100.7),
CBVE (104.7) - and has since added CBC Radio Two outlet CBM-FM-1
(96.1) and CBVT (Channel 11).
Religious CION (90.9) is up here, too.
From Quebec City we headed west along the St. Lawrence River
to Trois-Rivieres, the major city in the region known as the
Our first stop - well, OK, our second stop after a late-ish
lunch - was north of Trois-Rivieres, in Notre-Dame-de-Mont-Carmel
near Shawinigan, a small town perhaps best known as the home
of former prime minister Jean Chretien.
Two tall towers in Mont-Carmel were home to all the FM and
TV signals for the region - and we emphasize were, because
this site was the scene of a tragedy a few years after our visit.
When we visited in 1998, there were two towers here. The short
one, at left in both photos, held TVA affiliate CHEM-TV (Channel
8) and CHEY (94.7); the tall one (more than 300 meters) was crowned
by the antenna of CKTM-TV (Channel 13), the Cogeco-owned Radio-Canada
Moving down from the tower's peak, you see the antenna of
Tele-Quebec educational station CIVC (Channel 45), the antennas
of CBC relay CBMT-1 (Channel 28) and Quatre Saisons outlet CFKM
(Channel 16), then below them Radio-Canada's CBF-FM-1 (104.3),
relaying the chaine culturelle programming from CBFX in Montreal
(and in fact, I believe the calls on 104.3 are now CBFX-1).
Just below that antenna (and, I believe, just under the big
ice shield) was another set of FM bays shared by CBC English
relay CBMZ (106.9) and Radio-Canada premiere chaine relay CBF-8-FM
(88.1, now CBF-FM-8). Finally, there was CIGB (102.3), the "Energie"
dance-CHR outlet based in Trois-Rivieres.
on April 23, 2001, a small plane hit the top of the tower, apparently
right in the middle of the CIVC antenna system, about 300 meters
above the ground.
pilot was killed on impact, but his body remained lodged in the
wreckage of the Cessna's cockpit until the tower was brought
down five days later.
More than a hundred homes surrounding the tower site had to
be evacuated for more than a day while the demolition was being
planned; when it finally happened, the tower simply crumpled
in on itself.
There's a new tower in the area now, though I don't believe
it was rebuilt on precisely the same site - and in the process
of moving towers, the CBC shuffled some of its frequencies in
central Quebec, too. CBMZ is now on 93.9 with somewhat lower
power (not that there are many English-speakers in the area to
listen to it) and CBF-FM-8 is now on 96.5, where it originates
a local morning show.
Heading into Trois-Rivieres, we find a compact downtown core
and the office buildings that are home to the studios of CIGB,
CHEY and CHLN (550). At 3625 Boulevard Chanoine-Moreau, on the
north side of town, we find the studios of TVA's CHEM-TV. Not
too far away, at 1441 Boulevard St.-Jean, we find the TV competition,
the Cogeco building that's home to both Radio-Canada affiliate
CKTM-TV and TQS affiliate CFKM-TV, which are under common ownership
but operate separate newsrooms. (This building also houses the
Mauricie bureau for Radio-Canada's RDI all-news channel.)
And on the south shore of the river, along Highway 132, we
find the lone surviving AM - CHLN 550, with its three towers
- and the nearby site of the former CJTR (1140), where one tower
still stands, carrying two-way radio antennas.
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