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THE LOWER NORTH SHORE
The Lower North Shore is the section of Québec located along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence between roughly 50 and 52 degrees north latitude and 58 and 64 west longitude. As this section of Québec is contiguous with southern Labrador, it is sometimes referred to as “Québec Labrador”, and during the 19th century, at the time of John James Audubon’s visit, it was considered an integral part of "The Labrador".
From the west, the Lower North Shore can be approached from a variety of directions. Along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, one can proceed northeast on Highway 138 through the port towns of Baie-Comeau, Sept-Îles, Havre-Saint-Pierre, and through Mingan Archipelago, a gorgeous Canadian National Park.
From the south, one can approach by ferry from the Gaspé by crossing the Gulf from Rimouski or Matane, disembarking at either Baie-Comeau, Godbout, or Sept-Îles. However, to travel farther east to the Lower North Shore one can go no further by automobile than Natasquan, the end of the road from the west and the beginning of the remotest portion of the Lower North Shore. From the east, one takes the ferry from St. Barbe, Newfoundland, to Blanc Sablon, Québec, the last community on the Québec shore before entering Labrador, which lies only a few miles to the north. The road runs westward for only a few miles, to the town of Vieux-Fort, making most of the area inaccessible by road.›
To reach this coast one either flies from Blanc Sablon, Trois Rivieres, or Natashquan, Qu»bec; from Goose Bay, Labrador; or, more likely takes the coastal ferry, Nordik Express, which stops at most of the coastal communities along the LNS.
Major settlements along the LNS, a coastline of roughly 400 km (250 m), include Natashquan, Kégashka, La Romaine, Chevery, Harrington Harbour, Tête-à-la-Baleine, Baie Mouton, La Tabatiére, Saint-Augustin, Vieux-Fort, St. Paul’s River, Middle Bay, Brador Bay, Lourdes-de-Blanc Sablon, and Blanc Sablon. Most of these villages are connected to the outside world only by steamer or light plane.›
In the terminology used in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, these villages would be called "outports", that is, accessible only by water or, sometimes, by air.› Most of these villages were settled in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by French, Basque, Jersey, or English whalers and fishermen, and many had been settled seasonally thousands of years earlier by Native American groups.›
Today, with the decline
of the North Atlantic cod fishery and its closure by