Baie-Comeau is a port town in Quebec Canada, located approx 420 km (260 mi) northeast of Quebec City. It is on the banks of St Lawrence River and close to the mouth of Manicouagan River.
There are 2 urban centres within city limits - Hauterive (population around 12,000) and Baie-Comeau proper (population around 10,000). The city is named after Comeau Bay, which name honours the French naturalist Napoleon-Alexandre Comeau (1848-1923).
The city's oldest part is Vieux-Poste - the Old Post area near the mouth of Amedee River. There in 1889 was established Saint-Eugene-de-Manicouagan Mission. The first sawmill in Cote-Nord was built here in 1898 by Jalbert brothers (Damase and Henri). The sawmill ceased operations in 1907 after the timber stock was swept into Saint Lawrence. Route 138 was extended to Saint-Eugene-de-Manicouagan in 1916.
Baie-Comeau itself (town's eastern part) was established in 1936 when a paper mill was built there by Colonel Robert McCormick (1880-1955, publisher of Chicago Tribune). In 1937 the town was incorporated. The region continued to experience economic development with the creation of hydro-electric power stations (on Outardes and Manicouagan Rivers) - Chutes-aux-Outardes Station (opened 1952), aluminum smelter (1958), grain warehouses (Canada's largest, opened 1959). Currently, the region's largest industries are pulp and paper and hydro-electricity.
In 2017, the cruise port handled a total of 10 ship calls with around 6000 tourists (passengers and crew). The two newcomers were the Geman liners MS Hamburg (Plantours) and MS Artania (Phoenix Reisen). Port's stats for 2017 showed around 1/3 of all passengers being Germans, 41% from the USA and 17,5% from the UK. Among the most popular cruise shore excursions are Lumberjack Village (located approx 29 km / 18 mi from the port), Eglise Sainte Amelie (Church of St Amelie), The Garden of the Glaciers (scientific indoor-outdoor museum), Hotel le Manoir, Manic-2 (hydroelectric dam), Parc Nature de Pointe-aux-Outardes.
For season 2018, the port installed a new passenger gangway system (mobile bridge) that improved its capacity to handle large-sized vessels. The number of scheduled ship calls was 21 calls (from 11 different vessels).
In August 2018, at Parc des Pionniers were installed 3 giant megaphones. The project was funded by Tourisme Quebec (total investment nearly CAD 30,000). These are large-scale wooden structures, each with a diameter of 12 ft (3,7 m) and depth 12 ft. The 3 "megaphone sites" can be also used as gathering places for both citizens and tourists.
Baie-Comeau cruise terminal
Downtown Baie-Comeau is located approx 1,5km (1 mi) from the cruise port or approx 20-min walking distance. The port provides free of charge shuttle buses from the passenger terminal. Since June 2018, at the terminal is available bicycle rental service (electric and tandem bicycles, kids bicycles, scooters). Pioneer Promenade links the terminal to Pioneer Park.
The port offers a dock and cruise terminal capable of handling big vessels. During double-call (2 visiting ships) days a nearby anchorage is additionally used.
Baie-Comeau tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
Baie-Comeau port's best-rated shore excursion is the Lumberjack Village tour. In 2017 to the cruise tour was added a newly-opened microbrewery.
The town itself features restaurants, cafes, specialty shops (selling locally-made products), an art gallery.
The nature reserve "Le Boise de la Pointe-Saint-Gilles" is located in the town's center and along St Lawrence River. The park covers a total area of 175 ha and has 11 km (7 mi) of walking paths, sculptures, rest areas.
In 2017 was started a 50-hour long tour guide training program at the Cegep de Baie-Comeau college. The new course covers all tour guide basics, including bus and walking tours to local attractions.
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