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St. Lawrence North Shore

Travel Information

  

Overview map of the St. Lawrence North Shore, to show where it is located.
Also shown are the Trans-Labrador Hwy and the James Bay Road.

 

 

 

Ferries along the North Shore and Labrador Area

 

  

  

    Natashquan is 1,010 km east of Quebec City (570 km east of Baie Comeau), so you have a long drive ahead of you.  Fortunately it is paved all the way, and the longest stretch between gas stations is 100 km.  There isn't much traffic, even before you reach Sept Iles.  Sept Iles is the last town of any real size as you head east, and the traffic really thins out after you pass it, but definitely not to the extent that it thins out on the road to Labrador!!
    Pick up what supplies you need in Sept Iles, since the stores further east are much smaller.

    There are numerous small fishing villages through which you pass.  As you head east, the land becomes more and more empty, and the towns smaller and more frontier-like.  Also, as you proceed further east the land becomes more barren.  Spruce bogs and rocks become the prevalent vegetation and landform.  Again, it is the emptiness and remoteness that is appealing about this area.  There are no magnificent mountains and majestic vistas.  Just mile after mile of forest and bog, empty (to varying extents) of human habitation.

    Since this is Quebec, knowing some French is essential.  However, I found people always willing to try to communicate with you, as long as you made some effort to communicate with them in their own local language (ie, French).

  

  

The St. Lawrence North Shore on a motorcycle or bicycle

  

The highway is paved all the way to the end, so there are no real road surface considerations to worry about. Although the longest stretch between gas stations is about 100km, it's best to gas up where possible, just in case.

Remember that this is still a remote area.

  

 

TRAVEL INFORMATION LINKS

  • Tourism Quebec - the official Quebec Tourism site (English).  This area is known as the "Cote-Nord" tourist area.

  • Ferry ("Relais Nordik") between Blanc Sablon & Natasquan (in Quebec, along the Lower North Shore) There's no website. Telephone (418) 723-8787 for more information.
     
    Here is some more info on the Blanc Sablon - Natasquan ferry that was posted on http://www.labradorstraits.net/forum in June 2001:

    From Natashquan down to Blanc Sablon... assuming the boat's on schedule, you leave Natashquan on a Thursday morning and get into Blanc Sablon late on a Friday night.
    On the way up, you'd leave Blanc Sablon Friday night/very early Saturday, and get into Natashquan Sunday middayish.
    Here's contact info for Relais-Nordik, the company that operates the service. I don't know the tariff for a vehicle offhand, having never had occasion to take one:
    Telephone : 418-723-8787 
    Telephone #2 : 418-692-5000 
    Toll-free number : 1-800-463-0680 (418) 
    Fax : 418-722-9307 
    Circuit or destination : Route des Navigateurs 
    E-Mail : robin.kelleher@relais.nordik.desgagnes.com 

    Your vehicle is loaded into a container and handled like containerized freight.
    The boat is no luxury ship, but it's a fascinating trip. Well, the drive down to Natashquan itself is very interesting. If you have the time, I'd recommend going out to the islands in Sept-Isles, taking in some activities in the Mingan Islands National Park (Havre-St-Pierre), and taking at least a quick stroll around the villages, esp. Magpie, Sheldrake, Baie-Johann-Beetz, and Natashquan. Beautiful spots.
    From the boat it's a bit of hike into La Romaine, and you really need a ride for Tête-à-la-Baleine, but Kegaska, Harrington Harbour, and part of Tabatiere are easily accessible on foot. Your best chance to visit Harrington is on the way up.
    St. Augustine is way across the bay from the dock, but the entry into and out of the port through the "rigolets" is unforgettable.
    All the people involved in the public operations of the boat are fully bilingual (pursers, stewards, reservations, etc.) In the peak season a lot of the tourists are French (as in from France) or Quebecois.

    And another message posted in the same forum on April 2003:

    I just called Relais Nordik regarding prices and availability for the summer of 2003. **I know your message was posted in September, but just in case it's useful to anyone, here are details:
    From Natashquan to Blanc-Sablon, the price to ferry a light vehicle (less than 1133kg) is $256.22 taxes included.
    Places are limited to 12 vehicles. 6 get in at Rimouski, and 6 more in Havre St-Pierre and/or Natashquan. So you'd better book ahead of time. Some weeks were already complete! I asked about August, and most weeks had 3 places left at most.
    Then there's a passenger fee since you spend the night on the boat. The passenger fee for the cheapest cabins (shared 4-bed cabin) is:
    $191,87 per person tx incl. (meals included)
    $130.58 per person tx incl. (meals NOT included)
    Pretty reasonable considering you travel about 1000km, over 36 hours or so.
    PS: I tried to look up this information online, but no schedules/prices are available to my knowledge. So you really have to call. The phone number still works: 1-800-463-0680 and the folks are friendly and helpful.

 

  

Some links to other sites about
the St. Lawrence North Shore

 

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