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Fishing boat in Blanc-Sablon in the harbour at the wharf

Blanc-Sablon is the easternmost municipality of Quebec. It's in the regional county municipality (RCM) of Le Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, in the North Shore region of Quebec, on the Route des Baleines and the Route Nature aux mille délices (gourmet route).

The main attractions of Blanc-Sablon are:

  • snowmobile and ATV activities, in a vast wild territory offering distinctive adventures in the great outdoors;
  • the unique seascapes on the Strait of Belle Isle, allowing the observation of marine fauna (whales, dolphins), icebergs drifting from the Atlantic Ocean, broken ice on the rocks of the shore, the passage of boats /ferry, magnificent bays, spectacles of the marine environment created by the interplay of banks of fog, the sun, the sea, the wind and the waves;
  • the sport fishing on the high seas, on the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence or in the hinterland;
  • the hunt on the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence or in the hinterland;
  • its great local history that the elders tell with passion: shipwrecks, the adventures of fishing, the hunting of seals, the arrival of electricity, the telegraph, the telephone, television, the first cars, the first snowmobiles, the construction of Route 138 and its gradual extension, the general store of the Hudson's Bay Company, the drying of cod, the fish warehouses, the wharves, the bays, the storms on the sea, sailing in the Blanc-Sablon archipelago, aviation, community celebrations, mutual aid between citizens, the ferry, the close relationship with the communities of Labrador and the Lower North Shore, etc.

Understand[edit]

View of Newfoundland off the Strait of Belle Isle from Blanc-Sablon

Blanc-Sablon is a municipality of the "Basse-Côte-Nord" located on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence near the entrance to the Strait of Belle Isle. It is bordered by Labrador to the east. With a population of over 1100 inhabitants, it is the most populous municipality in the regional county municipality of Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent.

The municipality of Blanc-Sablon is made up of three villages: Blanc-Sablon, to the east, Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon, to the centre, and the Brador, to the west.

The village of Blanc-Sablon is located on the bay of Blanc-Sablon. Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon is the largest community in the municipality and is located on the peninsula that separates the bays of Brador and Blanc-Sablon. It includes the airport. The place is also called Longue-Pointe. Finally, the village of Brador is located on the east coast of the bay of the same name, 7 km (4.3 mi) from the village of Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon. Formerly it was known as Fort Pontchartrain.

History[edit]

Early European explorers called the place "blanc sablon" because of the fine sand found there, "sablon" meaning "sand" in Old French. Jacques Cartier mentions the name of the place on his first trip in 1534. Thus, it is possible that he was inspired by the Blancs-Sablons cove in Saint-Malo in France where he was born. The Basque and Portuguese fishermen already frequented the region during the 16th and 17th centuries. The first French-Canadian and Acadian settlers arrived around the beginning of the 19th century.

Laid out on a peninsula jutting south into the Strait of Belle-Isle, Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon was the seat of the Vicar Apostolic of Labrador. The village of Lourdes was mainly populated by a French-speaking community and Blanc-Sablon (and the surrounding posts, Bradore, Salmond-Bay, Rivière-Saint-Paul, etc.), by an English-speaking community.

The Catholic church of Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon was built in 1895 with a steeple by the Eudist fathers and destroyed by fire in 1963. The old presbytery was built next to it. The first truck in Blanc-Sablon arrived in 1947. The first snowmobile arrived in Blanc-Sablon around 1964; this vehicle for traveling on snow has become popular. Previously, the dogs pulled the sleds and the horse served as animal traction for travel. The Hudson's Bay Co. operated a general store in Blanc-Sablon; there was a flotilla of trawlers in front of the company buildings. In the past, the Blanc-Sablon wharf was served by trawlers and schooners.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Job & Brothers company operated a salt cod warehouse in Blanc-Sablon, with a community kitchen, a shop for merchandise and fishing tackle, a stable and a workshop. The workers were drying the cod there. The Job & Brothers forge and sawmill were built in 1909 by Georges Hobbs. In 1983, Blanc-Sablon was equipped with a multi-purpose processing plant equipped with a large freezing and storage capacity, with a service and wintering centre for fishing boats.

Formerly, the men worked in particular with the cutting of the firewood, practiced hunting in particular with the seals and repaired the fishing nets. Each family had a family garden in which to grow certain vegetables: potatoes, green vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, turnips), but no carrots or tomatoes. Many of them went to work in the iron mines in Shefferville, which began operating in 1954. From the 20th century, Lourdes airport played a key role in economic development, supplies, transport services health, and exchanges with the outside world. Residents have always been dependent on supplies by boat.

Before the arrival of electricity, people lit themselves with kerosene lamps. Before the arrival of the telephone system, citizens used the telegraph line to communicate, especially between villages; however, the system was unreliable due to distances, atmospheric conditions and the technology of the time. The rural telephone cable and a telephone exchange were installed in the mid-1960s by Québec-Téléphone. At the time, each telephone line had several subscribers in rural areas; and one or two subscribers near the telephone exchange. The radio was used to communicate with other villages on the coast and the boats.

In the past, the main holidays celebrated in Blanc-Sablon were Saint-Jean-Baptiste (June 24), the procession for Corpus Christi, the feast of Saint Anne. The Blanc-Sablon region has a long history of stranded ships.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By boat[edit]

  • Bella Desgagnés (Maritime service Anticosti Island-Basse-Côte-Nord) - Departing from Rimouski, the vessel Bella Desgagnés offers weekly maritime service to the ports of Port-Menier (L'Île-d'Anticosti), Sept-Iles, Havre-Saint-Pierre and Natashquan, reaching as far as Blanc-Sablon. Operated by the Government of Quebec, this ship makes the connection between the localities of the MRC Le Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent (formerly called "Basse-Côte-Nord") which is part of the municipality of Côte-Nord-du-Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent: Saint-Augustin, La Tabatière (Gros-Mécatina), Tête-à-la-Baleine, Harrington Harbour, La Romaine, Kegaska and Blanc-Sablon. This cargo-passenger ship has eight decks and can accommodate 420 passengers, including around 40 crew members. It has 63 cabins with private bathrooms to accommodate passengers, a cafeteria, a dining room, a bistro and seascape observation lounges. Internet site: [1] - Phone: +1 800 463-0680

Dock of the ferry running between Blanc-Sablon (Quebec) and St. Alban (Newfoundland) on the Strait of Belle Isle

  • MV Apollo - Ferry operated by the Department of Transportation Works of Newfoundland and Labrador crossing the Strait of Belle Isle between Sainte-Barbe and Corner Brook on the island of Newfoundland and Blanc-Sablon. The schedule varies according to the seasons, consult the website. The crossing from Sainte-Barbe lasts at 1 hr 45 min (i.e. 36 km) and, from Corner Brook 12 hr. The capacity of the ferry is 300 passengers and 120 vehicles. Internet site: MV Apollo. Phone=+1-709-535-0810, +1-866-535-2567 (toll free).

By car[edit]

Blanc-Sablon is located on Route 138, which travels 72 km between the Quebec-Labrador on at the east and Vieux-Fort at the west. The only way to reach the remainder of the Quebec road network by road, including the rest of Route 138 on the North Shore, is to travel through Labrador. Route 138 in Quebec becomes Highway 510 (Trans-Labrador Highway) in Newfoundland and Labrador.

To get to Blanc-Sablon by car from the rest of Quebec, you must take Quebec Route 389 from Baie-Comeau for 577 km (359 mi), until the highway becomes Highway 500 (Trans-Labrador Highway) when it enters into Labrador near Labrador City. Continue on Highway 500 transfer to Highway 510 (the two highways form the Trans-Labrador Highway), for its entire length 1,151 km (715 mi) to reach the border between Labrador and Quebec. Then follow the same road which becomes Route 138 in Quebec for about 2 km to get to Blanc-Sablon. This therefore corresponds to a total journey of about 1,730 km (1,070 mi) between Baie-Comeau and Blanc-Sablon.

From Sept-Îles, take Route 138 to Natashquan. From there, you can board the Relais-Nordik ferry for one night and two days to reach Blanc-Sablon.

By snowmobile[edit]

Blanc-Sablon is also accessible in winter by snowmobile via the route Blanche from Natashquan. This 525-km snow road passes through the villages of Kegaska, La Romaine, Chevery, Harrington Harbour, Tête-à-la-Baleine, Mutton Bay, La Tabatière, Saint-Augustin and Rivière-Saint-Paul. Trail layout and conditions may vary from winter to winter. Users of this trail should act proactively by having enough fuel, geolocation instruments, a satellite telephone system, spare parts in case of breakage, mechanical repair tools, a gun, a map and survival gear. Group travel is recommended.

Get around[edit]

Map of Blanc-Sablon

  • Station-Service Blanc-Sablon, 1569, boulevard Docteur-Camille-Marcoux, +1 418-461-2440. Motor vehicle service station.

See[edit]

  • 1 Lower North Shore Tourist Information Centre (Centre d'information touristique Basse-Côte-Nord), 1550, boulevard Docteur-Camille-Marcoux, +1 418-461-3290. This centre provides visitors with information and guides on the Blanc-Sablon and Basse-Côte-Nord regions. Its resource provider offers maps, trail information, educational exhibits, artifacts and area attractions.
  • Sheffer Museum (Musée Sheffer), boulevard Docteur-Camille-Marcoux (in the Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes church, Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon sector), +1 418-461-2000, . Variable according to the seasons. This museum evokes the life of Monsignor Scheffer who exercised the function of first apostolic vicar of Schefferville-Labrador, from 1946 to 1966; a local street and school are named after him. The museum presents many artifacts, a collection of photographs and a twenty-minute video summarizing the local history and the region. This Catholic church had been built in 1964-65, after the fire of the previous one.
  • 2 Middle Bay Interpretive Centre (Centre d'interprétation de Middle Bay), Township Phélypeaux of the municipality "Côte-Nord-du-Golfe-Saint-Laurent" (near the Saint-Paul River and the Old Fort). Located in a former school and newly renovated, this centre serves as the gateway to the villages of Middle Bay. The permanent exhibit highlights the history and culture of the village and region through a display of artifacts and images. This centre also features an exhibition of paintings, handcrafted model boats and handicrafts that showcase local traditional skills.

Place of worship[edit]

  • 3 Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon. Sanctuary.

Do[edit]

Buy[edit]

Food[edit]

Specialized food stores[edit]

Eat[edit]

Several restaurants or dining rooms have transformed the mode of meals at the tables into take-out or delivery service. In general, restaurateurs have demonstrated great resilience by updating their website, integrating interactive and automated applications for remote orders, as well as the display of the menu, opening hours, their mode of operation (e.g. by reservation, drive-thru service), required health measures (e.g., vaccination record, mask, distancing), other services (e.g., caterer, shops, accommodation, access for disabled, wi-fi, take-out, delivery), contact details and often the history of the restaurant or site.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Hotels, motels[edit]

Gîtes, chalets[edit]

Connect[edit]

  • 1 CFBS Radio Blanc Sablon inc, boulevard Docteur-Camille-Marcoux, +1 418-461-2445. Community radio station (89.9 & 93.1 FM) serving the village and the Lower North Shore. This radio station presents local and regional news, public service announcements, community information, music by local artists, anecdotes, etc.

Cope[edit]

Municipal services[edit]

  • 1 Blanc-Sablon Arena (Aréna de Blanc-Sablon), boulevard Docteur-Camille-Marcoux. Community arena, with Gym. Free.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Blanc-Sablon
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END  N Aiga watertransportation inv.svg S  St. BarbeJct N NL Route 430.svg S


  • 1 Bonne-Espérance Riverside municipality of the North Shore served by the Jacques Cartier road (route 138). Besides the main village, visitors can see the hamlet Vieux-Fort (on Baie du Vieux-Fort) and Rivière-Saint-Paul (on Baie des Esquimaux). The route 138 circuit allows you to admire the seascapes, shorelines, icebergs drifting in the Strait of Belle Isle, ice breaking on the banks in winter, marine fauna and winged fauna.
  • 2 Côte-Nord-du-Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent Municipality bordering the Gulf of St. Lawrence and made up of five villages not yet connected to Route 138 (except Kegaska which has been connected since fall 2013), therefore served by boats and planes: Kegaska, La Romaine, Chevery, Harrington Harbor and Tête-à-la-Baleine. This municipality is part of the MRC Le Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent. The languages spoken are: English, French and Innu. The Innu community, Unamen Shipu, made up of a population of 1,350 inhabitants, has its own administration which reports to the Band Council.
  • 3 Forteau Forteau is a village on the mainland of Labrador, about 15 km from the Quebec border and the municipality of Blanc-Sablon. Forteau is a fishing and service centre for travellers/tourists using Route 510 (Newfoundland and Labrador). It has a small docking port. The hamlet of L'Anse Amour, which is part of Forteau, is renowned for its prehistoric tumulus (the oldest in the New World), and for the Point-Amour lighthouse, the highest Atlantic Provinces.
  • 4 Petit-Mécatina Unorganized territory of the MRC Le Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, in the Côte-Nord region. This territory is a hunting & fishing paradise under the aegis of outfitters, with access by seaplane. It can be crossed by snowmobile or ATV.


This city travel guide to Blanc-Sablon is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.