Sept-Îles (French for "Seven Islands") is a city on the North Shore of Quebec, approximately 230 km northeast of Baie-Comeau, on the Route des Baleines and the Route Nature aux mille délices (gourmet route).
It is the northernmost town in Quebec with any significant population. It is among the northernmost locales with a paved connection to the rest of Quebec's road network. The population is about 25,000 in 2020 according to the 2011 census, with an added population of around 3,000 First Nations (Indigenous) people living in the Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Indian Reserve in the city.
The only settlements on the road network that are farther north are Fermont, Radisson and Chisasibi, the latter two in the extreme western portion of the province at the north end of the James Bay Road. The remaining settlements at higher latitudes in the province are mostly isolated Cree, Innu, or Inuit villages, with access limited to seasonal gravel roads.
Sept-Îles is the largest city on the north shore in eastern Quebec. This city offers many cultural and artistic attractions (performance halls, artists'/craftsmen's studios, sculpture symposium) and historical points of interest (reconstruction of the Old Post Office and Amerindian prehistory). In addition, with its several sandy beaches, forests as far as the eye can see, countless bodies of water, and privileged sites for hunting and fishing (notably for salmon fishing), Sept-Îles and surrounding areas are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
Get in Edit
By car Edit
To get to Sept-Îles, one of the only options is to come by car. It is about 638 km from Quebec City, and 926 km from Montreal. The trip should take you 7-8 hours and 10-11 hours, respectively. The nearest town is Baie-Comeau, 232 km to the southwest (pop. 25,000), but there are some villages along the way.
The main road through the region is Route 138, which follows the north shore from Montreal through Tadoussac and Sept-Îles to Kegashka, a tiny village just beyond Natashquan. Beyond this point, there is no road at all for 450 km (the few villages are served by outport ferry from Sept-Îles). Route 138 briefly reappears at Vieux-Fort and crosses from Blanc-Sablon into Labrador.
By plane Edit
- 1 Sept-Îles Airport (YZV IATA). Domestic planes leave from Montreal, but they are very expensive (usually around $800; a return Montreal-Paris flight costs around the same). Direct flights to Sept-Îles from Quebec City (1 hr 15 min to 1 hr 45 min).
- Air Liaison, toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. A regional airline operating in Quebec.
- Pascan Aviation, ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. A regional airline operating in Quebec and Labrador.
- PAL Airlines, toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the largest regional airlines operating in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
By boat Edit
- Relais Nordik, 265, rue des Pionniers, ☏ , toll-free: . M/V Bella Desgagnés operates seasonally (early April to early October), carrying passengers and cargo to several otherwise inaccessible communities that depend on this vessel for supplies. The boat travels between Rimouski and Blanc-Sablon including stops in Sept-Îles, Port-Menier (on Anticosti), Havre-Saint-Pierre, Kegaska, La Romaine, Harrington Harbour, Tête-à-la-Baleine, La Tabatière, and Saint-Augustin. Scheduled travel time to Sept-Îles from Rimouski is 11.5 hours, from Port-Menier is 7.5 hours, from Havre-Saint-Pierre is 14.5 hours, and from Blanc-Sablon is 2 days 11 hr 45 min. One round trip occurs per week. Due varying sailing conditions, the operator recommends booking onward connections 36 to 48 hours after the scheduled arrival time of the boat.
By bus Edit
- Intercar, ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. Operates bus routes within Quebec. Operates the following routes to Sept-Îles:
- Between Baie-Comeau and Sept-Îles including a stop in Godbout. Travel time to Sept-Îles from Baie-Comeau is 3 hours and from Godbout is 2 hours. Operates daily. Same day transfer at Baie-Comeau is available for travel from Quebec City (9 hr 45 min from Sept-Îles), or to Quebec City and Montreal.
- Between Havre-Saint-Pierre and Sept-Îles. Travel time to Sept-Îles from Havre-Saint-Pierre is 2 hr 45 min. Operates several days per week.
By train Edit
The train runs on the Quebec North Shore & Labrador (QNS&L) line. Schefferville is an otherwise-inaccessible mining community in northern Québec. This line is owned by three First Nations (Indigenous) groups. Tshiuetin means "north wind" in the Naskapi language. This line does not connect to the rest of the North American rail system.
The journey is 10-12 hr of spectacular scenery. Departing Sept-Îles: M & Th at 08:00. Departing Schefferville: Tu & F at 08:00. Sandwiches and microwaved meals are available in a dining car. Server may not speak English or French, so brush up on your Naskapi. The northbound train stops at Emerile Jct at about 15:00 and southbound at about 12:00 (Quebec time). Labrador City is a 45-minute drive north on Highway 500 from Emeril Jct, so you should have transportation arranged to meet you. Tickets cost $175 round trip ($115 for Indigenous persons).
By thumb Edit
Hitchhiking from Montreal to Quebec City is very easy; many people commute daily between those two cities.
Between Quebec City and Sept-Îles, there is only one main road (Route 138) going north-east along the shore of the St-Lawrence river. As such, hitchhiking is pretty straightforward. People travelling on this road are likely to accomplish long distances because towns and cities are few and far between. However, just going from Quebec City to Sept-Îles in your own car takes around 8 hours; add the waiting time, and getting to Sept-Îles is likely to take you 2 days of hitchhiking.
Wild camping is pretty easy during the summer months, but winter in Quebec is quite harsh and camping in winter is impossible without specialized gear (waiting for a ride at -30°C is also dangerous). Nevertheless, if you leave very early from Quebec City (or east of there), it is possible to arrive in Sept-Îles in one day.
Get around Edit
Car is the best way to get around the city. For places within the city, walking is quite easy, but if you want to go to the beach, or any place remotely outside the city, you will definitely need a car.
At the tourist office, you can rent bicycles for $10/day. Helmets and bicycle locks are included.
There are also taxis. If you go out in the evening, a taxi is your only option if you don't want to walk.
- 1 Alouette Smelter, 400, chemin de la Pointe-Noire (on the Marconi peninsula (west side of the large bay of Sept-Îles), 32 km (20 mi) away), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. From June 19 until the end of August, from Tuesday to Saturday, twice a day at 08:45 and at 13:15. Guided tour of the aluminum factory to see this huge industrial complex. The plant ranks first in America in the production of primary aluminum with its annual capacity of 600,000 tonnes. It is the largest employer in the city. Wearing long pants, long sleeves and closed shoes with flat heels is mandatory. The visit is prohibited to pacemakers, pregnant women and children under 12 years old. It is not allowed to bring cameras, magnetic cards, watches, jewellery and lighters.
- 2 Clarke City Interpretive Centre, 160, rue du Moulin (Clarke City), ☏ . Interpretive centre recounting the history of Clarke City and the lifestyles of the time of this place which was the first industrial city of the North Shore thanks to the Clarke brothers of Toronto who established a pulp mill there in 1898.
- IOC Rio Tinto, ☏ . M W 13:00, Tu Th F 09:00. Guided tour of the iron ore processing plant carried out inside a car in which the guide takes visitors inside the huge complex explaining the different stages. It is forbidden to leave the car. Reservations must be made at the Sept-Îles tourist information office.
- 3 Bois-Joli Creek Garden, 97, rue des Chanterelles (secteur Ferland), ☏ , email@example.com. From sunrise to sunset. The northernmost botanical garden in Quebec. It includes 4.5 km (2.8 mi) of trails and 14,000 plantations divided into 12 sectors thematic areas such as the kindergarten and bird garden, the garden of medicinal plants, the rock garden and the sea-winds trail leading to Sept-Îles bay. The site includes a picnic area. Guided tours are offered free of charge at 13:00 or by reservation in July and August. Free.
- 4 Shaputuan Museum, 290 boulevard des Montagnais, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. M–F 08:00–16:30, Sa Su 13:00–16:00 in summer; M–F 08:00–16:30 during the off season. In the permanent exhibit, the Musée Shaputuan illustrates the traditional life cycle of the Innu through the four seasons. The Shaputuan was founded to preserve and transmit Innu culture in the community through presentations of permanent and temporary exhibitions and the organization of cultural events. In this place of gathering, meeting and sharing, the visitor will be able to experience the past and present Innu culture.
- 5 Regional Museum of the North Shore (Musée Régional de la Côte-Nord), 500 boul. Laure, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. June 25 to Labour Day, daily from 09:00–17:00. Museum with a permanent exhibition about the North Shore's history. The museum is also host to different temporary exhibits, both cultural and artistic. Very interesting, worth a visit. $7 adults.
- 6 Vieux-Poste, 20, rue Shimun, ☏ . June 25-end Aug: Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, M 10:00-17:00. A fur trading post first constructed in 1661 to trade seasonally with the Innu; rebuilt in 1967. The guides on site will make you relive the time when the region relied on fur trading as an important economic activity. $12 ($15 if bundled with Musée Régional).
- Base Moisie / Rivier Moisie, a beautiful little settlement (formerly a Royal Canadian Air Force base) that is on the edge of the junction of the Moisie river and the St Lawrence River. The view of the junction between the two rivers is truly amazing. The settlement itself does not have much but a little dépanneur (convenience store) a minute walking distance down Chemin des Forges.
- 1 Parc Aylmer-Whittom (Parc Aylmer Whittom), Route 138 Ouest (7 km (4.3 mi) from the tourist information office), ☏ , toll-free: . Hiking, the park has two observation towers allowing you to see Conan Island, the western part of Sept-Îles Bay and the birds. There is a miniature village for children. Free.
- 2 Pointe Noire Trail (Sentier de la Pointe Noire), chemin de la Pointe Noire (in the centre of the Marcani peninsula). Free.
- Innu Apakuai, 1005, boul. Laure (Galeries Montagnaises Mall). Little shop in the middle of a mall that sells mostly artisan crafts made by native Innus.
In Sept-Îles, it is possible to eat very fresh seafood, and it is what many people are looking for when coming here. Truly, all restaurants offer fresh and tasty seafood; it is all a matter of what you are looking for (price and atmosphere).
- Chez Omer, 372 av. Brochu. Locally-renowned restaurant, famous for its fresh seafood. The food is quite expensive.
- Casse-Crôute du pêcheur. Cool little fast-food place at Sept-Îles's port. Offers standard fare (poutine, hamburgers, etc.) but also offers crab club sandwiches, and the like. There are picnic tables to eat outside, but they have a very unique interior eating space that is made like a huge lobster trap!
- Pub St-marc. Cozy pub that serves mainly seafood. Average meal is $20 without tax or tip. Fairly sizeable beer list (around 15 Québec beers on tap) and wine list. Pitchers are $22.
Sept-Îles being on the smaller side, there aren't that many places to drink or party. However, it is still possible to have fun.
- Edgar Café Bar, 490 Arnaud, ☏ . Café/bar with a terrace near the sea, Edgar is pretty popular with young adults. The prices are average for a bar, maybe a bit on the expensive side. Serves fancy beer, nicely decorated. Good place to chill in the evening.
- Youth Hostel Le Tangon, 555, rue Cartier, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The only youth hostel in town, therefore the cheapest accommodation too. The hotel is pretty great: good for meeting other travellers, very lively atmosphere. Kitchen, TV room, laundry, courtyard. Dorms from $22, private rooms from $35 single, $55 double.
- Wild camping. If that's your thing, and you have some mobility, you can go to any of the beaches, forests, etc., that surround the city, and pitch your tent there.
- Hotel Gouverneur Sept-Îles, 666, boul. Laure. Sixty standard rooms and 58 business-class rooms and suites. Business centre and meeting rooms, fitness centre, high-speed Internet, restaurant (the Resto-Bar de l’O) serving regional cuisine. Various packages bundle tours of the National Park of the Mingan Islands or the Faunic Reserve of Port Cartier. From $109.
- Quality Inn, 1009 Boulevard Laure, ☏ . contentCclose to all the key area attractions: Museum Shaputuan, Regional Museum of the North Shore, Les Galeries Montagnaises mall, Place de Ville, Conrad-Parent and Guy Carbonneau sports arenas. The city’s main shopping centre is within walking distance. From $119 double.
There is no GSM mobile coverage in Sept-Îles. Bell/Telus users will get 3G (UMTS) coverage within the city, but no signal anywhere else.
Go next Edit
|Routes through Sept-Îles|
|Quebec City ← Baie-Comeau ←||W E||→ Havre-Saint-Pierre → → Blanc-Sablon|
- 1 Rivière-au-Tonnerre Being the gateway to the MRC of Minganie, this municipality is made up of two picturesque and modern villages: Sheldrake and Rivière-au-Tonnerre. It offers resorts (especially the hamlets of Rivière-Chaloupe and Rivière-aux-Graines), many coves, beaches, church, falls, whale watching, hunting and fishing.
- 2 Port-Cartier A town oriented towards services for travelers and recreational tourism activities: resorts, hunting and fishing, museums and historic sites, parks, heritage circuits, fine sandy beach stretching over 11 km in Pointe-aux-English.
- 3 Anticosti This natural island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is the largest island in Quebec. It is known for its outdoor activities, fishing and deer hunting. Main attractions: falls of the Vauréal river, the Petit Canyon of the Chicotte river, Port-Meunier, observation of flora and fauna.
- 4 Lac-Walker
- 5 Rivière-Nipissis
- 6 Lac-Jérôme This territory is a hunting & fishing paradise under the aegis of outfitters, with access by seaplane. It can be crossed by snowmobile.