March 13, 2017
Sept-Îles, a melding of two cultures
When you call into port at Sept-Îles, you are guaranteed a warm, authentic encounter with the local Inuit community. Sept-Îles boasts a bustling, deep water port where the focus is on the transport of goods and materials used or produced by iron ore and aluminum plants present in the region.
Cruise ships dock directly at the pier only metres from the large pavilion used as a cruise ship terminal. Upon entering the pavilion, visitors are immediately transported into a realm intended to solicit each of the senses. Indeed, as the door opens unto a forest-like space with boughs of evergreen lining the footpath, one is immediately summoned into the present.
Inside the pavilion, artisans grouped together in the centre proudly display a vast selection of local products, including items of interest from the museum shop, handmade Inuit crafts and goods made using recycled animal fur. Visitors quickly gain a telling insight into the varied array of local crafts on offer. The ever popular sampling station features a host of regional specialties such as cloudberry jam, Labrador tea and mouthwatering terrines and spreads. A gourmet experience certain to delight! Cruise ship passengers will wish to stock up on souvenirs as they are serenaded by local musicians and singers.
Purchases made, it is time to board the shuttle located just outside the welcome pavilion and discover the local attractions. Readers will wish to bear in mind that the city of Sept-Îles is quite spread out, with restaurants, shops and attractions located across the region. It is therefore preferable to use the shuttle to travel to specific locations around the city. If you are interested in renting a bicycle, you may do so right in the welcome pavilion. The bicycle is an excellent means of getting about if you are not averse to the odd gust of wind.
In the mood for a short stroll? Strike out along the riverfront boardwalk nearby the terminal. Interpretive signs provide informative insights into the history of the city.
If you are feeling a little peckish, be certain to stop in at the snack bar located adjacent to the waterfront promenade not far from the terminal. There is nothing quite like a quick bite when the menu features seafood teasers such as lobster salad or crab sandwich. Which will it be?
A visit to Sept-Îles would not be complete without a discovery tour of an Inuit camp. This decidedly unique experience transports visitors back to an ancestral Inuit time and place, with explanations of traditional medicines, beliefs, culture and community values. Expect dance and song in the finest of Inuit traditions.
Readers will note that this unique experience is available only to passengers who book their excursion through their cruise line operator. Be certain to book ahead to ensure that your visit to Sept-Iles figures among the highlights of your cruise.