The region which stretches along the Saint Lawrence Estuary has been called the Bas-Saint-Laurent since the end of the 19th century. It is located in the province of Quebec on the continent of North America. Its geographic boundaries include the Saint Lawrence River, the province of New Brunswick, the state of Maine and the Gaspésie and Chaudière-Appalaches regions.
Its location makes it easily accessible by road, sea or air. Travellers can arrive by highway 185 or 132, autoroute 20, the Montreal-Halifax rail line, one of a number of ferries using regional port facilities or at one of the region's airports.
A Vast Region
The Bas-Saint-Laurent region covers an area that stretches 320 kilometers along the coast and varies in width from 50 to 100 kilometers, representing an area of 22,404 km2. This is more than half of the area of Switzerland (41,288 km2) and only 1.7% of that of the province of Quebec! The varied topography offers the viewer glimpses of the majestic Saint Lawrence, the massive Appalachians and a network of rivers and streams that eventually spill into the estuary and the Baie des Chaleurs.
Economically Active Centers
The 206,064 people who live in the Bas-Saint-Laurent are distributed among 135 cities, towns and villages and grouped into 8 administrative regions known as regional county municipalities (RCM's): Kamouraska, Rivière-du-Loup, Témiscouata, Les Basques,
Rimouski-Neigette, La Mitis, Matane and La Matapédia. The populated areas are located in the lowlands of the St. Lawrence, the foothills of the Appalachian plateau and in the Témiscouata and Matapédia valleys.
Urban centers are distributed throughout the region. In each of the RCM's there is a major center which offers services to the surrounding population. Rimouski is the largest of these centers with a population of approximately 33,000
The Bas-Saint-Laurent region is home to a wide variety of resources, industries and support services as well as a competent, adaptable and highly productive work force.
An abundance of natural resources has shaped the economic activity of the region which is closely tied to natural resource exploitation and 1st, 2nd and 3rd stage processing. Peat production as well as the manufacture of transportation equipment and metal products illustrate the diversity of the region's economic base.
Agriculture, the main primary sector industry, is dominated by dairy production. Efforts to diversify and develop new potential have led to an increase in the number of agricultural companies which specialize in sheep and pig farming.
The forestry industry is a major player in the region's economic landscape and represented 8.9% of the province's total harvest in 1992-93. A strong market and a higher price for lumber and newsprint have stimulated activity in the industry resulting in increased investments in infrastructure.
The peat industry in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region is growing and ranks among the top peat-producing regions in the province, representing 45% of Quebec's total production. About 20 companies export 90% of their products to foreign markets.
The Bas-Saint-Laurent's strategic location along the Saint Lawrence estuary has precipitated the development of a unique maritime industry. Whether it is through its research and development, shipyards or harbours, the Bas-Saint-Laurent has developed this field through links with the rest of Quebec and Canada.
The region is also equipped with structures to support development, including the welcome, support and follow-up of new businesses, with the aim of achieving an optimum return on each individual's investment.
Warm, Friendly People
The accessibility of the region and its proximity to many recreational and tourist attractions contribute to a stimulating quality of life. The richness of the natural landscape along with a dynamic population make the Bas-Saint-Laurent not only an active regional tourist destination but add to Quebec's international reputation for excellence in tourism.
Within this environment the people of the region have developed a culture that embodies a strong and dynamic sense of community and a love for life.
Visit the RCM's of our region:
Kamouraska | Rivière-du-Loup | Témiscouata | Les Basques
Rimouski-Neigette | La Mitis | Matane | La Matapédia