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Monument to Jacques de Lesseps, Gaspé

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The son of Ferdinand de Lesseps, the promoter of the Suez and Panama canals, Frenchman Jacques de Lesseps (1885-1927) was a pioneer of aviation. Second pilot to cross the English Channel in 1910, and the first to fly over Montreal and Toronto (in the same year), this hero was decorated for his endeavors during World War I (1914-1918).

In 1926, de Lesseps moved to Gaspé, where he was in charge of the first cartographic work done in the Gaspé using aerial photos for the Compagnie aérienne franco-canadienne. On October 18, 1927, during a flight in poor weather, de Lesseps and his copilot Chichenko disappeared off Matane. In December of that year, de Lesseps’ body was found in Newfoundland and buried in Gaspé cemetery according to his wishes. In 1932, a monument sculpted by Henri Hébert to honor de Lesseps and Chichenko was unveiled during a service presided by Mgr. F.-X. Ross, the first bishop of Gaspé.The monument can be seen on York Boulevard South, in downtown Gaspé.