May 3, 2010
Sept-Iles: A dynamic, thriving community!
Located some 900 kilometres northeast of Montréal, Sept-Îles surprises visitors with its vigour and refreshing energy! Set in the heart of Québec’s North Shore region, Sept-Îles is traversed by the Sainte-Marguerite and Moisie rivers, and stretches out across the entire 10-kilometre, semi-circular, deepwater Bay of Sept Îles.
Offshore from the city lies an archipelago of seven islands, hence the name of the city in French. These islands are as follows: Grosse Boule, Petite Boule, Grande Basque, Petite Basque, Manowin Island, Corossol Island and Dequen Islets. The archipelago shields the city—one of the sunniest locations in Québec in terms of the annual number of days of sunshine—from the strong Gulf of Saint Lawrence winds. With the advent of summer, the waterfront promenade and terraces along the shore come alive with people out to meet friends or to catch a breath of fresh air. The shorefront area is also ever popular for watching the city’s magnificent sunsets.
The year 2009 marked the beginning of international cruise ship activities for Sept-Îles with visits by three ships. The local community proudly welcomed over 5000 passengers during this inaugural season. The upcoming season also promises to break new ground with the inauguration of a new dock which is expected to be ready to welcome the first cruise ship passengers in the fall of 2010.
Sept-Îles continues to captivate cruiseshippers for a number of reasons, including as follows:
First Nations presence
Long before the arrival of the first European settlers, the region was frequented by various First National peoples. The Innu arrived each summer in the area which is now the City of Sept Îles and retreated northward come autumn. Even today, some 3000 Innu live in close proximity to Sept-Îles and visitors to the region can learn much about First Nations culture by selecting one or other of the various excursions on offer when their ship calls in at port.
These excursions include as follows:
- Rail and River proposes a discovery journey up the majestic Moisie River, world-renowned for salmon fishing. Visitors travel up the river bordered on each side by coniferous forests and valleys carved out by glaciers during the last ice age. On their journey by rail, passengers enjoy an introduction to the way of life and traditional practices of the Innu community, including medicines, crafts and cuisine. During the stop at a traditional Innu site, visitors will delight as they are immersed in Innu chants and traditions.
- Visit to Shaputuan Museum where personnel are all to glad to share their knowledge of traditional Innu culture and life cycles.
Diversity of natural surroundings
With the sea—Gulf of Saint Lawrence—on one side and boreal forest on the other, visitors will revel in the beaches which extend for kilometres, and the wealth of forest flora and fauna. For those with something more urban in mind, the city offers an abundance of walking tour opportunities in local parks and along the waterfront.
Marine mammals readily visible
There are, of course, offshore excursions to observe the numerous marine mammals which migrate to the waters of the Saint Lawrence to feed. A 2-hour trip by zodiac will doubtless provide its share of adventure, not to mention the opportunity to catch sight of belugas, fin whales and seals. The abundant birdlife is certain to thrill birdwatchers one and all!
Will you be among those on hand to inaugurate the new dock in 2010? The Norwegian Spirit will be the first ship of the season to call in at Sept-Îles on October 4th. Passengers will appreciate the opportunity to discover a port of call rich in nature and First Nations traditions!