Québec’s Baie Comeau an Unexpected Surprise!

B.C., Q.C., .ca – Am I learning #Francias through osmosis?

By Matt Lewis
Multimedia Reporter, Editor & Publisher 

After asking the Woman who was at the Lumberjack camp tour where the best place to find an American Newspaper in Baie Comeau, Québec is, I got this response: ‘Tabagie Place – Lasalle.”

She told me it was on the main street going in the opposite direction of the Sea.

Since she spoke so quickly, and my French is not ‘tre manifique,’ I knew that she meant a local shop in downtown. I had my heart set on buying a Sunday edition of the print New York Times paper.

The town used to be famous for it’s connections with the New York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune. Robert Rutherford McCormick came to Baie Comeau and discovered the abundance of trees.

Mr. McCormick had the paper shipped from the paper mill in Canada down to America; and the rest – as they say – is History.

Okay, so back to my ‘Tin-Tin’-esq adventure in British Columbia, Canada: I took the Lumberjack tour and found another surprise; I like the culture of the Canadian loggers.

When I first got off the tour bus (which was actually a school bus used for tourists during the times when school is not in session) I noticed bugs swarming everywhere.

Our tour guide told me that there were fewer mosquitoes in the log cabin, so I followed him in and found it to be true.

I later found out from my New York friend that these bugs were actually known as “black flies” in the Adirondacks.

In the 1950’s snowmobiles were brought to the Lumberjack camp to haul the bundles of wood.

Most of the logging was done during the Fall and Winter seasons when there was snow and ice on the ground. Apparently it was easier and safer to cut and move a lot of logs during that part of the year, because they could use Horses and sleds (until mechanization came in and changed everything completely).

Snowmobiles also doubled as transportation during emergencies and to shuttle students long-distances.

After taking a photograph of a black snowmobile, I learned that it has a Chrysler motor in it; and the only reason I took note of that is because my best friend is a fan of not only engines, but also American motors – and I wanted to share this with him.

The yellow snowmobile next to the other one was made out of Iron.

A typical Lumberjack was a Farmer from the banks of the Southern parts of the St. Lawrence River area.

Our tour guide told us that the leaves don’t begin to reappear on the trees until mid-May and that the flowers don’t begin to bloom until June.

In one of the log cabins, I snapped a photographed of a stuffed and mounted Red Fox. The reason I took this photo is because the cleverness and cunning of a Fox makes it one of my favorite Animals.

The tour guide then held up a wooden-carving of a Moose; but because the antlers had been broken off, it was now a Female Moose, he said. He then was excited to share with us that his Father was the one who had carved the figure.

As I sat on the bus during our commutes between destinations, I spoke to a Hamburg, N.Y. man and was fascinated to learn how much he knew about HDMI, Blu-Ray and other modern media technology.

I think we became fast friends because he and I had similar interests. The most amusing part was that he shared with me how I could find him on Facebook.

The name of the paper mill in Baie Comeau, for your information, is called Resolut Paper, which now has a connection to the United States of America. It is the blue building in town that is hard to miss. There are two out of four smoke stacks billowing and pluming white smoke, almost as if to signal a new Catholic Pope has been elected.

The town, as I later came to find out, has at least two Catholic Churches. The Church we visited had a very beautiful granite exterior. Our guide told us that the stones had come from the North Bay.

At the tour of the local hotel, I heard an anecdote from our tour guide that there was a film the town was proud of because the director was a local Woman named Manon Briand; who had directed ‘Turbulence Desfluides.’

The population of Baie Comeau is about 22,500 people; however, the population has been declining due to young people leaving for the larger surrounding cities, and also to attend university.

Our guide was sad to report that many young people couldn’t find work locally, or they fell in love with something in the Québec City area and never came back.

Finally, as we pull back into the wharf where the Pearl Mist (our cruise liner) is docked, more questions emerge about the Aluminum ingots lying next to our ship. They are called “T-ingots” and weigh about 1,500 lbs. The nearby Alcoa Smelter was used to process the aluminum and make them into bricks ready for transport. The company used to be called Reynolds.

Sam noted that BSAF and Auswego are some local Copper companies. They produce Copper wire by using electrolysis. The ore used to come from a local mine, but now outside sources supply the Copper.

We found out that these aluminum bars were likely headed to Detroit to be used for the frames of the new Ford F-150’s.

Sam told us that this area has the largest grain silos in Canada. All the grain comes from the Midwest and is temporarily stored here for Cargill.

My Family noticed that there was lots of fog this morning.

The paper mill employs about 300 people and is no longer one of the top employers in Baie Comeau.

As I edit this post with my Father, we see what we think is a German tanker, pulling into the dock, preparing

to load the ingots.

“It blocked out our Sun when it passed by our tiny boat,” my Father said in jest.

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