"Blanc-Sablon and Quebec's Lower North Shore" Blanc-Sablon by crummey

Blanc-Sablon Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 10 photos

Base Cote Nord du Quebec

Blanc-Sablon is situated on Quebec's Lower North Shore. The Lower North Shore spans the St. Lawrence coastline from Sept Isles, Quebec to the Labrador border. In French this coast is called the Base Cote Nord du Quebec.

Many of the settlements in the Base Cote Nord do not have roads; ship and airplane are the mode of transportation.

There are regular cargo and passenger service runs from Rimouski to Blanc-Sablon from June to October. One can buy a ticket to a selected community and camp or B&B for several days until the ship returns.

This writer has taken this voyage on no less than four occassions and is enchanted with the ice, the sea, the dark grey cliffs of land and the shelter of friendly ports.

Blanc Sablon is the terminous for two ferry services. The Newfoundland/Quebec Run and the Base Cote Nord run. Both ferry services can accomodate cars.

This writer suggests the Lourdes-Blanc-Sablon's celebrations for Quebec's National holiday Fete de St. Jean; There is a huge bonfire on the Brador beach. People gather from all up and down the Coast. Young people frolic and party until dawn in the light of the bonfire and the shelter of the sand dunes; it is a must see for anyone in the area on the June 21 weekend.

The ocean voyage starts out at Rimouski. In scant days the ferry ship arrives in the Labrador Strait where there can be fields of sea ice and icebergs, even in summer. Whales and seals can also be seen as the vessel approach the barren snow flecked cliffs of Blanc-Sablon.

The Lower North Shore communities are small and mostly centered around the fishery. The ferry ship docks at a community. Often near the fish plant. Passengers, mail & cargo and off loaded. Then onloaded. A ship's captain might elect to stay in port a few hours or a night, depending on weather and ship maintenance.

Harrington Harbour, St. Paul's River, St. Augustine, and the other communities are all typically small and homogenous. The people are friendly and curious. Many of the communities have a bar or liquor store.

The population of the Base Cote Norde is Innu, English and French. As a result geographic areas often have up to three names: Innu, French and English.

For example: La Tabatier means Tobacco House in French. The French and the English each pronounce it differently but really it is a corruption of a Innu place name. Tete a la Baleine is also called Whale Head. Vieux Fort and Old Fort are synonymous.

If you do intend to visit the Base Cote Nord, bring a heavy sweater and a rain jacket. And remember, as a general rule, the farther down the coast you go-towards Blanc Sablon and the Labrador Strait, the progressively more inhospitable the weather will become.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Blanc Sablon and the Base Cote Nord is a wonderful place with much scenery and nature. The communities and small and isolated. The people and kind and curious.
  • Cons:The winters drag on. As spring arrives, the arctic ice begins to break up and drift towards the region. Large fields of ice and cold water can bring the temperature of the region down; dress warm.
  • In a nutshell:A wonderful and romantic three or four day boat- ride along the Base Cote Nord is a great experience.
  • Last visit to Blanc-Sablon: Aug 2008
  • Intro Updated Aug 20, 2008
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Reviews (3)

Comments (2)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    May 18, 2005 at 12:04 PM

    Interesting information on this little-visited part of Canada! I have always had a fascination with off the beaten path places like this, especially when the sea is involved!

  • kiwi's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2003 at 6:30 PM

    Nice start, Welcome to VT. Quebec looks very interesting.


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