Ville de Sanguenay, QUÉBEC – The Pearl Mist pulled into the dock smoothly and quietly on Monday, July 13 at around 8 EST and breakfast was enjoyed by the guests; many of whom were eager to go ashore and see the ‘La Fabulese’ show.
Most passengers were extremely impressed with the show after final curtain around noon. The all-volunteer cast and crew got a standing ovation for their work.
The piece had an air of self-promotion, but mostly it was about highlighting the History of the ville. Sanguenay residents are very proud of their heritage and it shows.
In many ways, the tourism bureau’s job is done without anyone lifting a finger. The views, the smells, even the French-Canadians – it is hard to find very much offensive in the town.
The tour bus that took guests to the Théâtre du Palais Municipal, was led by a woman named Bivian (although I am unsure on the spelling; she told us it was like the name Vivian, but with a ‘B’ at the start).
The tour guide told visitors that millions (over the years, of course) had visited the show. Their audience primarily made up of Europeans and Americans.
There were about 150 volunteer actors and actress and a few theater crew members working to ensure a show the visitors would not only not forget, but one they’d go home and share with their friends and family.
One of The Gilbert Gumption‘s favorite quotes from the play’s narrator was:
“While they were small in number, they had gumption.”
Bivian told passengers that our bus driver was part of a family that was well-known in Sanguenay: Tremblay.
Here is their Family Crest:
Bivian said that the Tremblays were about seven percent of the local population. The total population of the town is about 150,000 people.
About 98 percent of the residents speak French and are Roman-Catholic.
Visitors then learned that the pavilion they had exited to get to the tour buses were built in 2009 and made using local pine wood and aluminum ore.
A bit of a surprise, was the factoid shared by the tour guide, that the wharf is as long as the Eiffel Tower is tall.
The morning proved a great exit from the boat. There were local residents singing, dancing and wearing formal, period garb. They would allow passengers of the cruise liner to get a hands-on experience, as well.
Visitors could saw a log of wood and get a free Aspen sliver as a souvenir. There was also free blueberry pie and Maple-Molasse type of gooey treat to indulge in (even though breakfast had concluded merely minutes before).
The main art piece near the newly built visitors’ center was a Saguenay sign that was split between “SAG,” a heart symbol and “UE,” and on the bottom “NAY.”
Bivian told visitors the port of call has been given three different awards since it opened.
There is a saying in Sanguenay: “You are always two steps away from nature.”
For those who are looking for adventure, during the Fall and Winter, Sanguenay (or Lubbock, an nearby ski town) has a Skiing Center: Mont-Fortin: Accueil.
As the bus drove around the town, a number of trains were visible from the passenger (right) side of the bus. They are used to transport copper and aluminum ore – quite possibly to the nearby port, where Alcoa Ltée-Aluminerie de Baie-Comeau has an aluminum processing plant.
One question that came up was about the flag. The Le St. Jean flag represents a small community within Sanguenay that has an explination for every color and symbol found in their flag.
One of the local gas/petrol stations elicited a laugh (or two) from the less sophisticated of guests because the name (at least in American English) could be used as an insulting nickname: Couche-tard.
NOW, HERE’S A MULTIMEDIA GALLERY OF THE GUMPTION‘S REPORTAGE (more, different images and videos coming soon!):
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