A Bit of History

Since its exploration by the famous explorer from Saint Malo, Jacques Cartier, in August of 1535, the Bay of Sept-Îles has become the site of a warm dynamic city. Its rich past not only laid the groundwork, but has also made it an important urban centre. Tradition cohabits here with modernism, influenced by the Euro-Quebecois and Innu cultures that are wonderful to discover.
 
The archipelago and the Bay of Sept-Îles have been visited for thousands of years due to the geographic advantages that they offer. Their history has been dictated by the exploitation of natural resources found in the area. Fur-bearing animals, (beaver, martin, fox…), various species of fish (cod, herring, mackerel, salmon…) and marine mammals (harbour and harp seals, fin whales and blue whales), coniferous forests, rivers and mineral resources have all made Sept-Îles what it is today.
 
From a fur trading post and fishing village at the end of the 19th century, Sept-Îles became a modern city in the 1950s due to the presence of the Iron Ore Company of Canada that extracted and transported iron ore from mines in Nouveau-Québec. In two decades, the local population rose from 2000 to over 20 000. Wabush Mines made its contribution to the demographic boom by choosing Pointe-Noire as its base of operations in 1963. Despite the crisis in the iron ore market experienced in the 1980s, a strong demand from Asian countries in recent years has breathed new life into this mining industry that still today is the most important in the region.
 
Four important means to diversify the local economy came to light in the last quarter of the century. Enlarging the Port of Sept-Îles’ installations in the Pointe-Noire sector in 1983, the construction of the l’aluminerie Alouette in 1989, the development of Sainte-Marguerite 3, a hydroelectric power plant in the 1990s, and an expansion phase of the Alouette aluminum plant in 2003 have consolidated the economic future of the region.

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