Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Located on the north shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, between the Sainte-Marguerite and Moisie rivers, Sept-Îles lies on the shore of a deep-water bay fronted by a seven-island archipelago. The bay constitutes a 45 km² natural harbour.
The seven islands are named:
- La Grosse Boule ("the big ball")
- La Petite Boule ("the small ball")
- La Grande Basque ("the large Basque", named after the visiting Basque fishermen)
- La Petite Basque ("the small Basque")
- Île Manowin (from the Montagnais manouane meaning "where eggs are picked")
- Île du Corossol (named after the French ship Corossol wrecked on the island in 1693; site of a lighthouse and a bird sanctuary )
- Îlets De Quen (a group of tiny islands named after Jean de Quen who founded the local Catholic mission in 1650)
The archipelago is under provincial jurisdiction, with some parts administered by the federal government or by particulars.
The city includes two First Nations reserves, Uashat in the western city proper, and Maliotenam in the east near the Moisie River.
History and economy
The first inhabitants of the area were the "Montagnais" Innu people, who called it Uashat ("Great Bay"). Official discovery is attributed to French explorer Jacques Cartier, who sailed by the islands in 1535 and called them the Ysles Rondes ("Round Islands"). He was not the first European on the site however, as he encountered Basque fishermen who were coming yearly for whaling and cod fishing.
Early economic activity in Sept-Îles was based on fishing and the fur trade, with trading posts established by Louis Joliet in 1679, and by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1842. The village was incorporated into a municipality in 1885. The town, lacking road access at the time, got its first pier in 1908. The City of Sept-Îles was incorporated in 1951, on the 300th anniversary of the first Catholic mass held in the village.
The modern Sept-Îles was practically built overnight during the construction of the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway, 357-mile (575 km) railway link to the northern town of Schefferville between 1950 and 1954 by the Iron Ore Company of Canada . Iron ore mined near Wabush , Labrador was transported on this railway and shipped from the Port of Sept-Îles, then a deep-water seaport second in Canada only to Vancouver in terms of yearly tonnage. This huge engineering project led to a major population boom: from 2,000 inhabitants in 1951 to 14,000 in 1961, and 31,000 in 1981.
However, the decline in worldwide iron ore prices has since caused employment and population to shrink. A moderately successful attempt was made to revive the town during the early nineties, with the foundation of the Aluminerie Alouette aluminum processing plant. Construction for Phase 1 began in September 1989, and operation started in 1992. Construction of Phase 2 began in 2003.
The City amalgamated with the communities of Gallix and Moisie in 2002
- Official website (currently only in French)
- Musée régional de la Côte-Nord (city museum)
- Port of Sept-Îles
- Quebec government listing for the local arboriginal reserves
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