Official carrier of the Îles de la Madeleine since 1944
Timeline - CTMA from 1944 to the present
The Coopérative de Transport Maritime et Aérien (CTMA) was founded on May 28, 1944 by a group of determined Madelinots, including Ovide Hubert (1905-1967), the first president.
The CTMA purchased its very first ship, the Maid of Clare, to connect the Islands with Halifax. In the same year, the CTMA purchased its second ship, the Bradford.
A fleet of small vessels was added to meet Islanders’ needs. The Lavernière (1946), used to ship lobster to Chéticamp, as well as the Havre-Aubert and its twin, the Havre-aux-Maisons (1947), connecting the Islands to Gaspésie, Côte-Nord and Montreal, were commissioned by the cooperative.
Roméo Cyr (1932-2007) joined the cooperative, first as secretary, then, in 1956, as manager.
Purchase of the Flojald II to carry live lobster to the United States via Cheticamp, Nova Scotia.
Purchase of the Brion to carry freight and a few passengers between the Islands, Quebec City and Montreal.
Purchase of the first ship named the Madeleine to link the Islands with Montreal. The Brion was transferred to carry fish to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
A Danish ship, first christened CTMA but subsequently named the Madeleine, was purchased to replace the original Madeleine and to provide service between the Islands and Montreal. This ship faithfully carried freight to the Islands for 20 years.
Purchase of the Manic, a milestone in the CTMA’s history: the first ferry service (roll on – roll off) between the Islands and Souris, Prince Edward Island. This ship, with capacity for freight, 45 cars, and about 300 passengers, launched the Islands’ tourist industry and gave economic development a significant boost.
The subsidiary Express CTMA Ltée was created to provide road freight transportation. By adding a fleet of tractor trailers, the CTMA addressed the issue of increased commercial traffic and met residents’ need for integrated transportation services.
Faced with increasing tourist traffic, the cooperative was forced to look for a larger ship. The Manic was replaced by the Lucy Maud Montgomery. The latter, continuing to provide the connection between the Islands and Prince Edward Island, could accommodate up to 100 vehicles and 425 passengers.
To meet modern-day freight transportation needs, the CTMA purchased the CTMA Voyageur, a ship previously operating in Greece under the name of the Mirela. This cargo ship provided service between the Islands and Matane.
Introduction of winter service between the Islands and Matane by the CTMA Voyageur.
A new ship, able to accommodate 200 vehicles and 800 passengers, was purchased to replace the Lucy Maud Montgomery. Providing service between Cap-aux-Meules and Souris, it was rechristened the Madeleine. Its purchase facilitated further, significant expansion of the tourist industry on the archipelago.
Start of cruise service on the St. Lawrence between the Islands and Montreal, with the purchase of the CTMA Vacancier. This gave new impetus to the Îles de la Madeleine tourist industry.
In October 2003, after 50 years of service with CTMA, Mr. Roméo Cyr ended his career and was replaced by Mr. Gérard Leblanc as General Manager of the cooperative.
Start of uninterrupted ferry service during the winter months. In the same year, opening of the new head office in Cap-aux-Meules and appointment of Mr. Emmanuel Aucoin as General Manager, replacing Mr. Gérard Leblanc.
Passage of private legislation in the National Assembly recognizing the special status of CTMA. Unlike other cooperatives, CTMA is not required to conduct 50 percent of its operations with its own members. Under this legislation, CTMA continues to maintain its status as a cooperative, thereby perpetuating this strong link with the Islands’ residents.
Acquisition of the island companies Dragage IM and IM Tug. CTMA expanded its field of expertise to specialize in dredging of various harbours in the Îles de la Madeleine as well as ship towage and berthing.
The CTMA celebrates its 75th anniversary through a range of festivities. With 500 employees, 100,000 ferry passengers annually, 15 weeks of cruises between Montreal and the Islands and a ground fleet of nearly 90 tractor trailers, the cooperative contributes more than ever to the socioeconomic and tourism development of the archipelago.