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HomeDiscover our regionPortrait of the Côte-Nord Region

Portrait of the Côte-Nord Region

The history of Côte-Nord is closely interwoven with its abundant natural resources. The Innu and Naskapi people were the first to occupy the land generations ago. In the mid-20th century, companies and workers from Québec and further afield flocked to the region, lured by its forests, powerful rivers, and mineral wealth. Today, the economy is still largely based on big industry, even as it grows increasingly diverse. Tadoussac and Sacré-Coeur are the gateways to Côte-Nord. Situated at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord, Tadoussac is a member of the World’s Most Beautiful Bays Club and the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of Québec. Nicknamed “the cradle of New France,” this one-time fur trading post is renowned worldwide for its whale watching, abundant activities, and popular song festival— Festival de la Chanson de Tadoussac.


Route 172 will take you to the village of Sacré-Coeur—and to sensational views of the Saguenay Fjord at various sites on the way. The Fjord Route and the Whale Route intersect at the junction of routes 172 and 138.  Back on the 138, the boreal forest rises like a sea of green from the coastal waters to dominate the North Shore landscape. In this rich ecosystem where evergreens reign supreme, plant and animal life abounds. North of the 50th parallel, the forest gradually gives way to the taiga. In the south, Route 138 hugs the estuary as it broadens into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

As you travel the coast, don’t miss the many interpretation centers along the way for fascinating insights into the marine environment, whales, lighthouses, shipwrecks and other secrets of the St. Lawrence. Be sure to take advantage of Côte-Nord’s culinary diversity too. Local eateries showcase a host of tasty regional products and specialties.

At Baie-Comeau, Route 138 intersects with Route 389, your link to the Côte-Nord backcountry, and Manic-5, site of the world's biggest multiple-arch-and-buttress dam, a marvel of Québec hydroelectric engineering. Further north lie the towns of Fermont and Schefferville, and several First Nations communities. A realm of massive mines, taiga, and caribou, the Caniapiscau region is a paradise for seasoned hunters, anglers, canoeists, and snowmobilers. From here, you can make your way back down Route 389 and continue your coastal journey eastward on the 138.