By Corey Sandler
Havre St-Pierre is in Quebec, which is the largest province of Canada on the mainland of the world’s second-largest nation.
Havre-St-Pierre is a big place, too. It sprawls across 3,900 square kilometers or 1,504 square miles, about the same size as the greater metropolitan area of Montreal.
But only about 3,500 people live in the municipality of Havre-St-Pierre, which works out to about 3 per square mile. Montreal, which lays ahead of us, has more than 4 million residents.
Today the port is in heavy use as a shipping port for iron and titanium ore.
Fishing concentrates on snow crab, scallops, and lobster in the Gulf, and salmon and trout in the freshwater rivers and lakes.
In 1857, the first European settlers were mostly French Acadians who came across from Les Isles de Madeleine, the Magdalen Islands.
Since 1948, the Quebec Iron and Titanium Company, owned by the Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto Group, has mined deposits of ilmenite, a mineral composed of iron and titanium, at a site about 40 kilometers or 25 miles north.
Their railroad, the Chemin de fer de la Rivière Romaine, brings the ore to the port, where it is loaded aboard bulk carriers and shipped upriver to Sorel-Tracy near Montreal.
Titanium is used to make white pigments, and alloyed with iron, aluminium, vanadium, and molybdenum or other elements to produce strong, lightweight metals for aerospace, military, industrial, and medical products. It is also used in jewelry in pure form or as an alloy with gold.
The other form of mining in Havre St-Pierre is aimed at the wallets of tourists. A bit west up the river is the amazing natural phenomena of the Mingan Archipelago, the largest group of erosional monoliths in Canada, limestone monoliths formed over thousands of years by wave action, strong winds, and seasonal freezing and thawing.
I went with guests by boat today to Le Petite Íle au Marteau (Little Hammer Island) to see some of the monoliths and the old lighthouse that faces out into the wide mouth of the Saint Lawrence.
All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com
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