Monday, September 22, 2014

Road Trip Along Quebec’s North Shore: Tadoussac to Sept-Iles

Photo by Kate Tompkins
The day we drove to Sept-Iles was grey, windy, and rainy. Despite that, we did make a couple of stops. The first was at a lookout near Ragueneau, which offered not only a view of the St. Lawrence, but a giant obelisk and two life-size dinosaurs in cement. I’d expected the obelisk to be a war memorial, but the plaque said that it and the dinosaurs were a tribute to the early settlers. If you’re travelling with kids, it’s probably a good spot to pull off and let them run around for a bit. This part of highway 138 is called the Route des Baleines, but we never saw any whales, even with our binoculars.

Our next stop was the Centre National des Naufrages du Saint-Laurent (St. Lawrence shipwreck centre). The weather continued to be appropriately gloomy at this point, adding to the atmosphere of the centre. There’s not a lot to see but there is a 20 minute multimedia show about some of the many wrecks in a very small section of the river (nearly 200 in around 80 kilometres if memory serves), a detailed wall map of all the wrecks, and, at least the day we were there, a very well-informed staff member who was quite happy to tell us about the shipping history of the area and answer all our questions. We thought it was worth the stop.

Photo by Thomas Tompkins
Things began clearing off as we got closer to Sept-Iles. It’s very much an industrial town. The number of hydro lines converging on it is impressive, as is the sheer size of the aluminum factories. There were a dozen or so large freighters docked in the river. My husband was more interested in the Argo outside a store next to our motel, however. Judging by the number of dealers, everyone on the North Shore must own a snowmobile, a 4 wheeler, a dirt bike…

Photo by Kate Tompkins
And, while it was actually on our return trip, also saw this at a gas station in Sept-Iles. Pretty cool!

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