Tag Archives: St. Lawrence River

Journey to the End of the Road: Following the Cote Nord

10 Jul

The end of the road has become an almost mythical place in our modern collective imagination; the place where a person runs out of options and must turn back or begin anew. The objective truth is that most highways don’t simply stop. Rather, they merge with or junction at other roads so travelers can roll on to their next destination. Yet here I am. The official highway sign says “FIN” and behind it lies a wild untamed river. I’ve been told that Quebec intends to extend the road all the way to Labrador in the future, but for now Route 138 ends at the Natashquan River.End of the road-KJA

 

It’s my father’s fault. At a very early age he instilled in me an insatiable curiosity about where a road might lead. On Sunday rides he’d spy a road and ask, “Where does this go,” and our family would be off on a minor journey of discovery for the remainder of the day. Route 138 is a familiar highway. It crosses the Mercier Bridge and becomes Rue Sherbrooke, an intimate part of Montreal that’s less than a mile from home, while the Chemin du Roy to Quebec City and even through the Charlevoix Region to the Saguenay River is well-known territory. Eight hundred and sixty miles long, it stretches from the New York border at Trout River to Natashquan on the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and 500 miles of that is east of Tadoussac. But what lies beyond Tadoussac? What will be found at the end of the road? I had to know.

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Touring the Charlevoix: From Mills to Motorcycles

7 Oct

The wheel turns and gears mesh as the shaft spins and all the components shutter into motion with an agonizing groan. The word “meccanic” wasn’t even in common use at the time this was built in the 1790’s, although this type of “engine” had been in use across Europe for hundreds of years. This original gristmill is a rare gem that still grinds wheat and buckwheat for a local baker.
Located on Route 362 east of Baie-Saint-Paul in the heart of the Charlevoix Region, the Moulin Seigneurial des Éboulements (Banal Mill) is one of those exceedingly rare sites that survived unchanged to the modern era. The seigneurial system was the quasi-feudal system that was instituted for the settlement of New France and that continued under British rule until 1854. This is one of only four seigneurial sites that have survived to the present day. Except for the electrification of the miller’s house, which remains as the private residence of the miller, and the jostle of summer tourists this place exists in a mid-19th-century time warp without the theatrical trappings of a living-history museum. Continue reading

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