Jean-Louis Courteau

Diver/ Underwater Photographer/Artist Extraordinaire

Jean-Louis Courteau is Founder/Director of CIEL (Centre d’Interprétation des Eaux Laurentiennes), Lac des Seize Iles. His work at CIEL is voluntary; he makes his living by painting and writing. He has exhibited his artwork in galleries and museums in Canada, the US, France, and in private/corporate collections worldwide.

Jean-Louis lives in Morin Heights and is a professional diver/underwater photographer who discovered many historical/pre-historical artefacts in our Laurentian lakes. He documented several fascinating geological/biological phenomenon through photos and video footage and could not keep such wonders to himself and decided to share the knowledge. Jean-Louis founded CIEL to exhibit artefacts and centralize important documents. Presentations on lake archaeology and milfoil are provided at CIEL. Other presentations and school visits are planned.

Jean-Louis is passionate about diving, ecology, geology and archaeology. He enjoys life to the fullest, pushing his boundaries, whether science, art or philosophy. 

Credit Andrée Richard

Jean-Louis, originally a cave diver and wreck searcher, thought lakes were big bowls of murky water with a few fish. His first dive into Lac-des-Seize-Îles proved him wrong. He found incredibly beautiful marble formations. The team found two prehistoric pieces of pottery; an intact 500 year old Huron vase and a broken 700 year old Iroquoian vase. They recovered hundreds of artefacts from the 19th and early 20th century; intricately folded xenoliths liberated from encased marble; an association between bacteria and rocks very close to the first life forms on the planet never found before in Québec.  They also found beautiful antique glass bottles. These bottles revealed the history of the community.  For example, many farmers used liniment for sore muscles and others used milk of magnesia for upset stomach.  Other treasures included antique anchors and grappling hooks. The sizes and weights are very varied. Another surprise, the team filmed unique mating behavior of lake trout never before seen or documented.

Jean-Louis says “people are directly influenced by the presence of man on their shores. I think people are educated about fragile ecology and are careful, but many are still careless. 3 major menaces to our waters are milfoil, wake boats and plastic.”

Jean-Louis and team have cleaned Barkmere Lake and Laurel Lake and are documenting the impact milfoil has on other lakes. Jean-Louis organizes conferences/workshops on lake ecology and participates in government programs.

Credit Jacques Lech

CIEL, 47 rue de l’Église, Lac-des-Seize- Îles, open Thursday to Sunday, 10 – 4  until September. Reservation required for other dates 450 630-1024,,, Facebook: CentreLeCiel

CIEL accepts monetary donations, are thankful to past donors and appreciate donations of artefacts with archeological interest or valuable info to archeologists.

Jean –Louis agrees « People protect what they love, they love what they understand and they understand what they are taught. » – Jacques-Yves Cousteau.  He wants us to know “rivers and lakes are a lot more mysterious and wonderful than we realize with many underwater wonders to share.”

À propos de l'auteur / Lori Leonard

Entrepreneur and the owner of Lori’s Links which provides an array of home services. Lori also writes monthly columns for Main Street newspaper and is a featured writer for Laval Families Magazine.

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