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Amqui
City
Amqui.jpg
Coat of arms of Amqui
Coat of arms
Location within La Matapédia RCM.
Location within La Matapédia RCM.
Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Bas-Saint-Laurent
RCM La Matapédia
Settled 1870s
Constituted January 16, 1991
Area
 • Total 126.80 km2 (48.96 sq mi)
 • Land 120.81 km2 (46.65 sq mi)
Population
 (2011)
 • Total 6,322
 • Density 52.3/km2 (135/sq mi)
 • Pop 2006-2011
Increase 1.0%
 • Dwellings
2,925
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Postal code(s)
G5J
Area code(s) 418 and 581
Highways Route 132
Route 195

Amqui is a town in eastern Quebec, Canada, at the base of the Gaspé peninsula in Bas-Saint-Laurent. Located at the confluence of the Humqui and Matapédia Rivers, it is the seat of La Matapédia Regional County Municipality. The main access road is Quebec Route 132.

Etymology

The Mi'kmaq word amgoig, also written humqui, unkoui and ankwi, means "the place to have fun", "half wall" or "place of amusement and pleasure." Another Mi'kmaq name for the area is Amkooĭk or Mkooögwĭk which aptly describes the area as "boggy." One source postulates that its name comes from the swirling water at the junction of the Humqui and Matapédia rivers. However, the most plausible explanation appears to be more pragmatic: Amqui was formerly a place where Amerindians gathered for pow wows.

History

Originally Mi'kmaq territory, the area was granted as a seignory by Louis de Buade de Frontenac to Charles-Nicolas-Joseph D’Amours in 1694. D'Amours died in 1728 and none of his descendants claimed the rights to the seignory. So it remained a remote and undeveloped land until the 19th century. In 1830 construction began on the Kempt Road, a strategic military road between Quebec and the Maritimes, completed in 1833, that opened the area to colonization. But it was the construction of the Intercolonial Railway in the 1870s that brought real development.

In 1879, the post office opened under the name Amqui. In 1881, the Mission of Saint-Benoît-Joseph-Labre was established, named after Benedict Joseph Labre. By 1884, the town became known as a great destination for salmon and trout fishing. In 1889, the mission became a parish and the following year it was incorporated as the Parish Municipality of Saint-Benoît-Joseph-Labre.

In 1907, the village itself separated from the parish municipality and was incorporated as the Village Municipality of Saint-Benoît-Joseph-Labre, renamed to Amqui in 1948. It gained town status in 1961.

In January 1991, the Parish Municipality of Saint-Benoît-Joseph-Labre was merged into the Town of Amqui.

Geography

Amqui is located to the south of the Saint Lawrence River in the Matapédia Valley, which was formed by the Chic-Choc Mountains. The valley is of glacial origin and was formed during the Paleozoic era millions of years ago. The region is characterized by gentle slopes through which the Matapédia river snakes from the northwest to the southeast. The city is located at the confluence of the Humqui and Matapédia rivers.

The city is situated 415 km northeast of Quebec City, 345 km west of Gaspé and 80 km north of New Brunswick. Neighboring urban centres include Rimouski and Mont-Joli, at 105 km and 70 km to the west, respectively, and Matane, 65 km to the north. Amqui is located 25 km east of Sayabec and 20 km northwest of Causapscal, the two largest municipalities of La Matapédia after Amqui. The city borders Saint-Vianney and Saint-Tharcisius to the north, Saint-Alexandre-des-Lacs to the east, Lac-au-Saumon and Saint-Léon-le-Grand to the south, as well as Sainte-Irène and Val-Brillant to the west. The Courtuval hamlet is part of Amqui.

Climate

Amqui's climate is temperate. Being surrounded by the Chic-Chocs creates unique climatic conditions in the region: a long and snowy winter and a hot and humid summer.

Demographics

Population

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1956 3,247 —    
1996 —    
2001 —    
2006 6,261 —    
2011 6,322 +1.0%
2016 6,178 −2.3%

The central community of Amqui, excluding the smaller communities within its municipal boundaries, is counted as a population centre in Canadian census data, with a population of 4,557 in 2011; three non-contiguous parcels of land which were part of the pre-1991 boundaries of Amqui but are not sufficiently urbanized to be included in the primary population centre are also separately counted as a designated place, with a population of 258 in the same census.

Canada census – Amqui, Quebec community profile
2011 2006
Population: 6,322 (+1.0% from 2006) 6,261 (-3.3% from 2001)
Land area: 120.81 km2 (46.65 sq mi) 120.81 km2 (46.65 sq mi)
Population density: 52.3/km2 (135/sq mi) 51.8/km2 (134/sq mi)
Median age: 47.2 (M: 46.2, F: 48.0) 44.2 (M: 43.8, F: 44.4)
Total private dwellings: 2,925 2,836
Median household income: $49,702 $40,733
Notes: Population in 1996: 6,800 (+4.3% from 1991) - Population in 1991: 6,518 – References: 2011 2006 earlier

Language

According to the Statistics Canada website, 6,090 of Amqui's 6,120 residents speak French as their first language. In addition, 12% can speak both French and English.

Mother tongue Population Percentage
French 6,090 99.51%
English 10 0.16%
English and French 0 0%
Other languages 15 0.25%

Infrastructure

The two-story Amqui railway station built in 1904, is served by Via Rail's Ocean, and Montreal – Gaspé trains. Both trains share the same rail line between Montréal and Matapédia. It is protected by the federal government under the Act on the Protection of heritage railway stations since 1993.

The station is representative of the boom at the turn of the century, and the associated expansion of the railways in general, the Intercolonial Railway of Canada (IRC) in particular. Amqui depended on the railway to transport their agricultural products and finished parts made of wood. Subsequently, Amqui became an important stop on the train's route from Montréal to Halifax, and from Montréal to Gaspé.

The design of the station Amqui is unusual for a station of the IRC. It is distinguished by its two-stage design, housing the housing of the station master and his family.

Notable people from Amqui

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