Sept-Îles, Quebec, Canada
Located just above the 50th parallel in the heart of the vast Duplessis region on Quebec's north shore, scenic Sept-Îles encompasses the former municipalities of Clarke City, Gallix and Moisie, and is adjacent to the Innu community of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam. It stretches over 842 square miles (2,182 square kilometres), and is bordered to the north by the Laurentian Plateau, to the west by Gallix and to the east by Moisie. The city overlooks the picturesque Gulf of St. Lawrence, and extends along the edges of a 17-square-mile (45-square-kilometre) bay whose entrance is protected by a natural archipelago made up of the seven islands for which it is named: Grande Basque; Petite Basque; Corossol; Petite Boule; Grosse Boule; Manowin; and the De Quen islets.
The first inhabitants of the area were varying cultures of indigenous peoples. The historic Innu people lived here at the time of European discovery in the 16th century. Early European economic activity in Sept-Îles was based on fishing and the fur trade. In 1679, Louis Joliet established trading posts here. In 1763, Great Britain took over Canada from France in 1763 following the Seven Years' War. In 1842, the Hudson's Bay Company founded a second post at this location, and was incorporated as a municipality in 1885. Lacking road access at the time, the town got its first pier in 1908. The modern city of Sept-Îles was incorporated in 1951, and built rapidly during the construction of the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway to accommodate a burgeoning iron ore industry. Shipment of this important new commodity resulted in investments that turned Sept-Îles into a major deep-water port.
Although Sept-Îles is the vibrant heart of a region renowned for its friendly inhabitants and abundant resources, tourism has become an important component to the city's local economy. Its proximity to pristine waterways, forests, parks, sandy beaches, the St. Lawrence River, and archipelago makes Sept-Îles an ideal gateway for exploring the area's exquisite coastal beauty, marine life, and flora and fauna. The archipelago encompasses seven islands in the St. Lawrence Bay, each with its own distinct features and spectacular panoramic vistas. Home to many lighthouses, Corossol Island is one of eastern Canada most important protected marine bird sanctuaries. Manowin Island is also a bird sanctuary renowned for its unique bird-nesting cliffs and limestone rock formations. Petite Basque and Grande Basque Islands were named in honour of the Basque people who frequented the region centuries ago to fish, hunt whales and trade furs.
You can relive the history, geology and ethnography of Sept-Îles through visits to the Musee Regional de la Cote-Nord, Clarke City Interpretation Centre, Pointe-des-Monts Lighthouse, Sept-Îles Historic District, St. Lawrence River Shipwreck Centre, and Vieux-Poste, the Old Trading Post. Alternatively, you can discover the indigenous Innu culture and people at the Agara Art Gallery & Artists' Residence, Musée Shaputuan, and scenic and informative Innu Camp.
The abundant natural and coastal splendour of Sept-Îles and its environs offer a wealth of sightseeing venues, including nature hikes along the lovely Manitou River Walking Trail, bicycling, sea-kayaking, excellent salmon fishing, boating, whale-watching, canoeing on the Moisie River, and a wide array of other popular outdoor excursions. The area's delightful waterways can also be experienced through visits to the Sept-Îles Waterfront, village of Rivière-au-Tonnerre, Rivière-aux-Rochers Park, Petit-Havre de Matamec, Ferme Maricole Purmer. The highlight of your visit is an opportunity to explore the incredible Sept-Îles Archipelago, which is only accessible via a scenic Zodiac cruise departing from the marina.
Due to its compact size, Sept-Îles can be easily explored in just a single day.
Going Ashore in Sept-Îles
The ship is scheduled to dock at the Sept-Îles Cruise Dock #12. Sept-Îles' town centre can be reached via a 0.50-mile (0.8-kilometre) taxi-ride or on-foot.
Shopping opportunities in Sept-Îles include a Walmart, drug store, souvenirs and a café at the Galeries Montagnaises shopping centre; boutiques, a drug store and supermarket at the Place de Ville shopping centre; and boutiques, a drug store, souvenirs and a café at the Carrefour La Baie. Aboriginal art and traditional crafts can also be found in the Innu communities. The local currency is the Canadian Dollar.
Sept-Îles' cold, clean coastal waters and rivers offer an abundance of delectable dining choices. Among the many local favourites are snow crabs, scallops, lobster, salmon, and trout, along with berries and Canadian dishes. Popular restaurants in-and-around Sept-Îles include Chez Omer, Buona Sera, Pub St.-Marc, Chez Sophie, Terrasse du Capitaine, Café Chez Edgar, Cage aux Sports, and Restaurant L'Ambiance.
Sept-Îles' town centre is easily accessible on-foot or by taxi. Observe the fishermen in action at the Fishermen's Park or take a delightful stroll along the boardwalk to the Old Dock, which features historical buildings, charming shops, boutiques and renowned local landmarks. For many years, this dock was Sept-Îles' only connection with the outside world. Today, the Old Dock with its boardwalk is the ideal location to marvel at the splendid bay, watch anglers, browse the booths of local craftsmen or simply listen to local artists performing on the park's stage.
Discover the local culture and history of Sept-Îles at the Musee Regional de la Cote-Nord, Clarke City Interpretation Centre, Pointe-des-Monts Lighthouse, Sept-Îles Historic District, St. Lawrence River Shipwreck Centre, and Vieux-Poste, the Old Trading Post.
Located on the St. Lawrence Bay, the Sept-Îles Archipelago is an ideal gateway for exploring the area's exquisite coastal beauty, marine life, bird species, limestone formations, and flora and fauna. It encompasses seven islands, each with its own distinct features and spectacular panoramic vistas. The archipelago is only accessible via a scenic Zodiac cruise departing from the marina.
Explore the indigenous Innu culture and people during visits to the Agara Art Gallery & Artists' Residence, Musée Shaputuan, and the scenic and informative Innu Camp, located on the banks of the Moisie River. Here, you can immerse yourself in the many aspects of traditional and contemporary Innu culture, history, beliefs and traditions. Learn about traditional Innu medicine, snowshoe-weaving and production, and drum-making. Hear traditional Innu chants, observe a demonstration of traditional dance and taste fresh food prepared in a traditional manner.
Built in 1830 on a rocky point at the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Pointe-des-Monts Lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in North America. The historic monument features seven floors highlighting various themes, including the lives of the eight lighthouse keepers, navigation and the shipwrecks that occurred in the area. The balcony at the top of this 100-foot (30-meter) building, offers a splendid a 360-degree view of the St. Lawrence River and its environs.
Sept-Îles Historic District
The Historic District of Sept-Îles is home to the city's only ancestral home, beautiful, modern Saint Joseph Church, and a number of interesting restaurants and businesses.
Vieux-Poste (Old Trading Post)
A replica of the Old Trading Post successively occupied by the French and English from 1673-1842, the fur-trading post was the first European establishment in Sept-Îles; today, it offers a unique insight into the daily life of the postmaster, woodsmen and Innu hunters. Several tours are available, including the trading post, a permanent exhibition originally used for trading fur with Innu hunters.
Sept-Îles pristine natural beauty and diverse topography combine to create a wonderful array of outdoor activities, including nature-watching, bird-watching, hiking and bicycling. The town's scenic coast and teeming coastal waterways are ideally-suited for boating, sailing, sea-kayaking, whale-watching, and salmon fishing.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board the ship.