December 16, 2010
Meggie Richard, a name to remember!
Today, we have the pleasure of sharing with you an interview with Meggie Richard, an individual as passionate about cruiseshipping as she is about her native Minganie. Ms Richard occupies the post of International Cruise Development Officer with Rendez Vous Minganie, a division of the Port of Havre Saint-Pierre.
Meggie Richard, could you tell readers about your job and what it entails?
As International Cruise Development Officer, my role is to promote Havre Saint-Pierre as a Saint Lawrence port of call, to coordinate port welcome activities and to cooperate with stakeholders from across the region in developing our tourism supply.
How long have you worked in a position connected to the cruise industry?
Actually, I have been on staff for just two short months but made my cruiseshipping début in 2008 when I was hired for the summer by the Port of Havre Saint-Pierre. I then went on to complete an eight-month, university level traineeship with Rendez Vous Minganie under the tutelage of the Cruise Development Officer who preceded me in this position.
Could you tell readers a little about your professional background?
Well, I left my native region to complete an undergraduate degree in Leisure, Culture and Tourism at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. After graduating, I returned to the region to begin my career and ended up in cruise product development.
What is it about your job that you especially enjoy?
For me, I derive great motivation from meeting new people whether they are passengers arriving in port, regional tourism stakeholders or individuals I meet in my travels. In addition, I feel privileged to work in the wonderful world of tourism. As a result, I am able to share my love of the Mingan region with visitors and promote the magnificent area that I call home!
What does Havre Saint-Pierre have to offer cruiseshippers?
Havre Saint-Pierre boasts a number of important attributes of decided appeal to cruiseshippers. First of all, Havre Saint-Pierre is located in Minganie, a region which stretches out over 360 km of coastline. This vast area is home to a host of activities set against a backdrop of rugged natural beauty. Comprising a dozen villages and two Innu communities, the tourism supply extends beyond the confines of the municipality of Havre Saint-Pierre which is situated half way between Rivière au Tonnerre and Natashquan. The region's best known attribute is the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, a major regional drawing card. Cruiseshippers have the privilege of admiring the singular monolithic rock formations for which the island archipelago is known as their ship heads into port at Havre Saint-Pierre.
In addition, we are always pleased to showcase the abundant peat bogs present in the Mingan region. The grandeur of these vast expanses impresses time and again!
This having been said, two of the area’s most important attributes remain the warm welcome received from the local people and the singular beauty of the surrounding countryscapes. The proximity of the port to the village of Havre Saint-Pierre is a further source of cruiseshipper appeal.
Are there any development projects planned for Havre Saint-Pierre that would be of particular interest to cruiseshippers?
At this point in time, a number of projects are already under way. The municipality of Havre Saint Pierre plans to have completed Phase 1 of portside development in time for the 2011 season. Plans include construction of Place des Artisans, a building located just opposite the port where cruiseshippers will be able to watch local artisans work their creative wonders. The second project, the Cod Shed, was once part of the fish processing plant and is scheduled for transformation into a multipurpose entertainment and exhibition venue. Work will then continue with the development of Allée des Cayens (main street) and the dock sector.
The Port of Havre Saint-Pierre also plans to move ahead with a number of other important development initiatives: expansion of Portail Pélagie Cormier, construction of a welcome pavilion, as well as the addition of a wooden boardwalk, taste-testing facility, fossil collection and rest areas. Each component has been designed to meet cruiseshipper needs and expectations.
As you can see, Havre Saint-Pierre believes firmly in the Mingan area’s international cruise ship potential and seeks to pursue development of the port of call for the ultimate benefit of cruiseshippers.
How many cruiseshippers currently transit through Havre Saint-Pierre?
Despite having structured development to welcome ships carrying between 2500 and 3500 passengers, to date we have attracted only smaller ships. As a result, annual volume stands at about 500 passengers. In 2011, four ships are scheduled to call in at port and we are working hard to boost that number in 2012.
What Havre Saint-Pierre activity favourites would you recommend to cruiseshippers?
As we aim to appeal to the broadest number of visitors possible, we offer a highly varied program of activities for cruiseshippers stopping in at Havre Saint-Pierre. Our key attraction remains the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. The archipelago is made up of over a thousand islands and is home to an exceptional array of flora and fauna. It is in this location that visitors will find the largest concentration of monoliths in Canada.
Other activities of interest include: a historic walking tour of the village of Havre Saint-Pierre, Roland-Jomphe Cultural Centre, a discovery trail dotted with churches and picturesque villages, Innu culture, the Mingan Island Research Station and excursions to Natashquan!
All visitors, whether sports or cultural enthusiasts, will find something to their liking at Havre Saint-Pierre given the variety of activities on offer.
What is your favourite port of call restaurant?
At Havre Saint-Pierre, I would suggest Chez Julie known for its excellent seafood. Or there’s Restaurant de la Promenade with its magnificent waterfront vistas. Considering the region as a whole, I would suggest L’Échourie in the village of Natashquan. Located directly on the beach, the restaurant boasts a unique décor, savoury menu and warm, friendly ambience!
Have you ever been on a cruise?
No, but I am planning to take a cruise to Alaska in the winter of 2012.
What is the nature of your involvement with Saint Lawrence Cruise Association (SLCA)?
The Port of Havre Saint-Pierre has been a member of SLCA since 2006. The port’s president represents our port of call on the SLCA board of directors. Rendez Vous Minganie, a division of the Port of Havre Saint-Pierre, takes part in SLCA activities throughout the year and represents our destination.
I have had the pleasure of meeting almost every member of the team and particularly enjoy the palpable energy and drive. We share the same goal of enhancing exposure for Destination Saint Lawrence and are working hand in hand with the membership to achieve this goal.
The association makes it possible for us to share ideas, opinions and personal experiences from one year to the next, and to improve the overall cruise ship experience for visitors to Québec and the shores of the Saint Lawrence.
What would you like to see for cruiseshippers and for Havre Saint-Pierre in 2011?
When cruiseshippers depart our port of call, I hope that they will take with them the thrill and fulfilment associated with their visit to Havre Saint-Pierre. I should also sincerely hope that our attractions, our warm welcoming ways, and the genuineness of the local people will charm visitors and encourage them to become ambassadors in their own right for the magnificent Mingan region!
Many thanks, Meggie Richard, for your infectious drive and enthusiasm!