Chicoutimi and Jonquière are former cities in the Saguenay region of Quebec which (with Bagotville, Ville de la Baie and other surrounding towns) were merged in 2002 into one municipality named "Saguenay" for the Saguenay River.
The region is strongly unilingual francophone; principal local industries have historically been forestry, paper (Abitibi, Price, Stone-Consolidated) and aluminium smelting (Alcan). CFB Bagotville is the local air force base; a community college (Collège de Jonquière) offers an intensive three-week immersion programme in French as a second language which has long attracted civil servants from the nation's capital and draws students from as far as New Brunswick.
Chicoutimi-Jonquière is geographically isolated as the 2½ hours of four-lane road leading into the municipality from Québec City runs almost entirely on provincial parkland with just one opportunity to stop for fuel at the midpoint. There is cellular telephone service on the main road in, but along many other roads (such as Chicoutimi-Nord to Tadoussac) there is truly nothing.
- By air
- While there is some service to Bagotville, the local Royal Canadian Air Force base, the closest major airport to the region is in the Québec City suburb of Sainte Foy.
- Aéroport de Bagotville, 7000, chemin de l'Aéroport, La Baie, ☏ , toll-free: . Scheduled service to Montréal, not inexpensive.
- By bus
- By train
- Via Rail runs a train from Montréal to Jonquière via Shawinigan.
- By ship
- Various cruise ships include the Saguenay River as one stop on a longer tour
- By automobile
- from Québec City, Route 175 is the main road through the Laurentian provincial park.
- from Tadoussac or Saint-Siméon, a highway follows the full length of the river on each side (Route 172 on the north shore, Route 170 on the south shore). There are no villages and no services on most of this route.
- from New Brunswick, follow the Trans-Canada Highway to Rivière-du-Loup then cross by ferry to Tadoussac
- from Trois-Rivières, Route 155 meets the ring road (Route 169) around Lac-Saint-Jean
- Ride share may be available through Allô-Stop in Québec City
- Transport STS, 1330, rue Bersimis, Chicoutimi, ☏ , fax: . Local city bus. $3/person.
- Taxis in Chicoutimi include A52 Taxi (+1 418-543-3868), Taxi Saint-Ambroise (+1 418-718-1414) and Taxis Unis (+1 418-543-3868)
- Taxi service in Jonquière is offered by Taxi Diamond (+1 418-548-2121)
- La fabuleuse histoire d'un royaume, 1831, 6e Avenue, ville de La Baie (Théâtre du Palais Municipal), ☏ , toll-free: . Jul-Aug (en français), Sep-Oct (in English). Theatrical performance recounting the history of the region (as "the Saguenay Kingdom") from native settlement to colonial and pioneer times onward. Presented annually in French for 26 years, an abridged English-language version is now offered in the fall.
- La Pulperie de Chicoutimi, 300 Dubuc, Chicoutimi, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Mid-Jun to early Sep: daily 09:00-18:00, off-s: W-Sau 10:00-16:00. A regional museum and cultural centre. La Pulperie is an historical site in the middle of the city, surrounded by a huge park, and lodged within an old mill. Adult $15, child $7.50, senior $12.50.
- Musée du Fjord, 3346, boulevard De la Grande-Baie Sud, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Museum and aquarium in La Baie, east of Chicoutimi, in one of the areas hardest-hit by flooding in 1996. Adults $16.00, seniors (65 years or older) $12.25, students (18 years or older with ID) $11.75, children (6 to 17 years) $9.00, children (5 years or younger) free. Taxes are included in the fees. Some admission fees will be higher during this summer’s feature exhibition..
- Pont d'aluminium d'Arvida, route du Pont, Arvida et Shipshaw. First all-aluminium arch bridge in North America, built 1950 by Alcan and Dominion Bridge Company to span the Saguenay River at Arvida and listed on the provincial historic register in 2004. Arvida, named for industrialist Arthur Vining Davis, was a planned community built around an aluminium factory which took advantage of plentiful hydroelectric power. Shipshaw was the second of two generating stations in-region. Both are now part of Jonquière (Saguenay).
- 1 Pyramide des Ha! Ha!, Le parc des Ha! Ha!. 21-metre-tall aluminium pyramid covered in 3000 reflective "yield" signs, with (seasonal) live performance stage, stairs and observation deck, in riverside park. A memorial to the 1996 flood which destroyed 250 buildings and displaced 3000 people, tours available in high season from Musée du Fjord.
- 2 Saint-Jean-Vianney. Village near Shipshaw, abandoned after thirty-eight houses were destroyed in a landslide on May 4, 1971. A stone memorial marker, a crater and some damaged road are all that remain.
- Croisières du Fjord, ☏ , toll-free: . June-mid Oct, runs daily from June 24 to early Sep. "Marjolaine II" cruises, charter and shuttle on Saguenay river, depart from La Baie (east of Chicoutimi).
The main street of downtown Chicoutimi is la rue Racine; construction of shopping malls has greatly diminished the number of downtown businesses. Local confections such as maple syrup or chocolate blueberries are usually less expensive in the main street shops frequented by locals in the city than at tourist establishments... even for blueberries in Lac-Saint-Jean.
The region is known for two dishes. Tourtière, a traditional French-Canadian meat pie, is named for la tourte (the passenger pigeon), a bird of prey which was once common in Lac-Saint-Jean but now extinct worldwide. More famous are the region's blueberries. Various farms around Lac-Saint-Jean invite you to pick your own blueberries in season (usually August, weather permitting).
- Le Barillet, 2523, rue St-Dominique, Jonquière, ☏ , fax: . Steakhouse, salads, seafood.
- [dead link] Papy Resto Pub steakhouse Chicoutimi, 367 Racine Est, Chicoutimi, ☏ . Steakhouse, seafood and pub.
- Sorrento Pizzeria, 3880, boul. Harvey, Jonquière, ☏ . Pizzeria in Place Centre-Ville mall.
- Restaurant aux 3 points, 3645 boul. du Royaume, Jonquière, ☏ , fax: . Daily 06:00-21:00. Pizza, BBQ, family restaurant.
- [dead link] Restaurant les Colombes, 164 Rue Racine E, Chicoutimi, ☏ . closed from 14:30-16:30. Vietnam and fusion cuisine.
- Restaurant Sam Sam, 3880, boul. Harvey, Jonquière, ☏ . 11:00-14:00 and 16:00-21:00. Asian buffet.
- Restaurant La Cuisine, 387-A rue Racine est, Chicoutimi, ☏ . M-F 11:30-13:30, and daily from 17:00. French.
The main street of Jonquière (la rue Ste. Dominique, the "Saint Do") has a fairly extensive and notorious bar strip with several bars in close proximity. Some other options include:
- Brasserie Arvida, 1983 Davis, Jonquière, ☏ , fax: . Sports bar and restaurant. Steak, seafood, sandwiches.
- Café-Théâtre Côté-Cour, 4014, rue de la Fabrique, Jonquière, ☏ . Cinema, music and live performance venue.
- [formerly dead link] La Tour à Bières, 517 rue Racine Est, ☏ , fax: . 16:00-20:00 (restaurant), bar closes 03:00. Microbrewery with eight local beers; a "sampling tower" offers a four-ounce taste of multiple beers on one tray. Brewery tours available for groups. Bistro with patio, live music on summer weekends.
- La Voie Maltée, 777, boulevard Talbot, Chicoutimi, ☏ , fax: . M-F 11:30-03:00, Sa Su 12:00-03:00. Microbrewery with locations in Chicoutimi, Jonquière and Québec City.
- [dead link] Auberge Cépal, 3350, rue Saint-Dominique, Jonquière G7Y 1B3, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . On Rivière aux Sables south of Jonquière. Cycle path, heated outdoor pool, tennis court, restaurant, bistro, 67-room inn with seven meeting rooms.
- [formerly dead link] Hôtel Chicoutimi, 460, rue Racine E., ☏ , toll-free: . Downtown main street hotel overlooking Saguenay fjord, 85 rooms, three restaurants, boutique in lobby with souvenirs and regional art. $117-262/night.
As the largest city in-region, Chicoutimi serves as a jumping-off point to Lac-Saint-Jean in the west and the Saguenay River to Tadoussac in the east:
- Lac-Saint-Jean is famous for its blueberries, to the point where locals in the region are referred to as "les bleuets" (literally, blueberries), with a Trappist monk group manufacturing tasty chocolate-covered blueberries and other confections in Mistassini at the far end of Lac-Saint-Jean. Other key landmarks around the lake are a zoo at St. Felicien, the tourist ghost town of Val-Jalbert (near Roberval) and a good collection of cycling and snowmobile trails.
- Tadoussac, at the eastern end of the fjord of the Saguenay River, is notable primarily for whale-watching. Both sides of the Saguenay River fjord between La Baie and Tadoussac - St. Siméon are largely parkland with no services. Boat tours of the river and fjord depart from either endpoint.