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Baie-Comeau
City
Hotel Le Manoir
Hotel Le Manoir
Map of RCM with Baie-Comeau highlighted
Map of RCM with Baie-Comeau highlighted
Baie-Comeau is located in Côte-Nord region, Quebec
Baie-Comeau
Baie-Comeau
Location in Côte-Nord region, Quebec
Country Canada
Province Quebec
Region Côte-Nord
RCM Manicouagan
Founded 1936
Constituted June 23, 1982
Area
 • City 432.00 km2 (166.80 sq mi)
 • Land 334.83 km2 (129.28 sq mi)
 • Urban
11.28 and 8.67 km2 (1 sq mi)
 • Metro
682.89 km2 (263.67 sq mi)
  Two urban areas: Baie-Comeau proper + Hauterive
Elevation
21.60 m (70.87 ft)
Population
 (2021)
 • City 20,687
 • Density 61.8/km2 (160/sq mi)
 • Urban
9,100 and 11,147
 • Urban density 806.5 and 1,285.5/km2 (1.0000000000000/sq mi)
 • Metro
26,643
 • Metro density 39/km2 (100/sq mi)
 • Change
2016-2021
Decrease 3.9%
 • Dwellings
10,163
  Two urban areas: Baie-Comeau proper and Hauterive
Time zone UTC−05:00 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (EDT)
Postal code(s)
G4Z, G5C
Area codes 418 and 581
Highways Route 138
Route 389

Baie-Comeau ( 2021 city population 20,687; CA population 26,643) is a city located approximately 420 km (260 mi) north-east of Quebec City in the Côte-Nord region of the province of Quebec, Canada. It is located on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River near the mouth of the Manicouagan River, and is the seat of Manicouagan Regional County Municipality.

There are two urban area population centres within the city limits: Baie-Comeau proper, with a population of 9,100, and Hauterive, with a population of 11,147, as of the 2021 Canadian Census.

The city is named after the adjacent Comeau Bay, which is named in honour of Napoléon-Alexandre Comeau, a Québécois naturalist.

Baie-Comeau is the birthplace of former Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney.

History

The oldest part of Baie-Comeau is the area known as Vieux-Poste (Old Post) near the mouth of the Amédée River where in 1889, the Saint-Eugène-de-Manicouagan Mission was founded by Eudists. In 1898, the first sawmill in the Côte-Nord region was built there by the brothers Damase and Henri Jalbert, but it closed in 1907 after their timber stock was swept into the St. Lawrence. In 1916, Route 138 was extended to Saint-Eugène-de-Manicouagan and in 1929, its post office opened with the English name of Comeau Bay (gallicized in 1936).

Baie-Comeau itself (the eastern part of the current town) was founded in 1936 when a paper mill was constructed by Colonel Robert R. McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Experiencing remarkable growth, the Town of Baie-Comeau was incorporated the following year. The area continued to see economic development with the establishment of the hydro-electric power stations on the Manicouagan and Outardes Rivers beginning with the Chutes-aux-Outardes Station in 1952, an aluminum smelter in 1958, and grain warehouses (the largest in Canada) in 1959.

In 1950, the village of Saint-Eugène-de-Manicouagan was incorporated as the Municipality of Hauterive. In June 1982, Hauterive was merged into Baie-Comeau, taking effect on January 1, 1983.

Baie-Comeau is the seat of the judicial district of Baie-Comeau.

Demographics

Canada census – Baie-Comeau community profile
2016 2011 2006
Population: 21,536 (-2.6% from 2011) 22,113 (-2.0% from 2006) 22,554 (-2.3% from 2001)
Land area: 336.59 km2 (129.96 sq mi) 338.99 km2 (130.88 sq mi) 338.88 km2 (130.84 sq mi)
Population density: 64.0/km2 (166/sq mi) 65.2/km2 (169/sq mi) 66.6/km2 (172/sq mi)
Median age: 46.5 (M: 46.0, F: 46.9) 45.2 (M: 44.9, F: 45.6) 42.1 (M: 41.7, F: 42.5)
Total private dwellings: 10,190 10,222 9,931
Median household income: $68,393 $62,180 $60,567
Notes: Population in 1996: 25,554 (-1.8% from 1991) - Population in 1991: 26,012 – References: 2016 2011 2006 earlier

The population was 25,554 at the 1996 census, declining to 22,402 according to the census of 2006. This decrease in population over the span of a decade is partly explained by the fact that many baby-boomers not born in the city retire then move elsewhere. The absence of university and many college-level courses forces young people to get their education elsewhere; there are few employment opportunities which drives migration to the larger urban areas of Montreal or Quebec City.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1941 1,548 —    
1951 3,972 +156.6%
1956 4,332 +9.1%
1961 7,956 +83.7%
1981 26,861 +237.6%
1986 26,244 −2.3%
1991 26,012 −0.9%
1996 25,554 −1.8%
2001 23,079 −9.7%
2006 22,554 −2.3%
2011 22,113 −2.0%
2016 21,536 −2.6%
2021 20,687 −3.9%
The population figure for 1981 has been adjusted to reflect the 1983 amalgamation.

Knowledge of official languages from 2016 (multiple answers were possible):

  • English: 4,415
  • French: 20,840
  • Other languages: 550
Visible minority and Aboriginal population (Canada 2006 Census)
Population group Population  % of total population
White 21,665 97.6%
Visible minority group
Source:
South Asian 0 0%
Chinese 25 0.1%
Black 50 0.2%
Filipino 0 0%
Latin American 0 0%
Arab 15 0.1%
Southeast Asian 10 0%
West Asian 0 0%
Korean 0 0%
Japanese 0 0%
Visible minority, n.i.e. 0 0%
Multiple visible minority 0 0%
Total visible minority population 110 0.5%
Aboriginal group
Source:
First Nations 230 1%
Métis 165 0.7%
Inuit 35 0.2%
Aboriginal, n.i.e. 0 0%
Multiple Aboriginal identity 0 0%
Total Aboriginal population 430 1.9%
Total population 22,205 100%

Transportation

Baie St-Pancrace pres de Baie-Comeau
St-Pancrace Bay

The town is along Route 138 about 100 km (62 mi) east of Forestville and about 230 km (140 mi) west of Sept-Îles. A ferry service and rail ferry service also links the town to Matane on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. The town is the southern terminus of Route 389, which leads to the Daniel-Johnson Dam, the town of Fermont, and the Labrador region of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Baie-Comeau Airport, located in neighbouring Pointe-Lebel, has scheduled flights by Air Canada, Air Liaison, and Pascan Aviation.

City council

The Baie-Comeau city council consists of the mayor of Baie-Comeau and eight elected city councilors, four from each of the two sectors of town. The current mayor of Baie-Comeau is Claude Martel.

Climate

Although at the same latitude as Vancouver or Paris, Baie-Comeau has a borderline subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc), a little short of a humid continental climate. The cold Labrador Current makes the Gulf of St. Lawrence very cold and tends to cool the weather during summer much more than the marginal warming of the winters resulting from its maritime location. With the moist northeasterly winds coming in from the Icelandic Low, snowfall is very heavy, averaging around 3.6 metres (141.7 in) per year with a peak depth of around 0.63 metres (24.8 in) in March typical. The extreme snow depth was 2.26 metres (88.98 in) on 10 January 1969.

Climate data for Baie Comeau Airport (1981−2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Humidex 8.8 8.4 9.6 21.7 30.4 39.1 38.3 46.3 33.2 31.8 20.2 9.0 46.3
Record high °C (°F) 11.4
(52.5)
8.2
(46.8)
10.3
(50.5)
21.8
(71.2)
30.0
(86)
31.8
(89.2)
32.8
(91)
31.1
(88)
28.1
(82.6)
21.7
(71.1)
18.1
(64.6)
13.9
(57)
32.8
(91)
Average high °C (°F) -8.7
(16.3)
-6.7
(19.9)
-1.5
(29.3)
4.5
(40.1)
11.9
(53.4)
18.0
(64.4)
20.9
(69.6)
20.2
(68.4)
15.2
(59.4)
8.5
(47.3)
1.9
(35.4)
-4.5
(23.9)
6.6
(43.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) -14.3
(6.3)
-12.7
(9.1)
-6.5
(20.3)
0.6
(33.1)
6.8
(44.2)
12.4
(54.3)
15.6
(60.1)
14.7
(58.5)
10.1
(50.2)
4.3
(39.7)
-1.8
(28.8)
-9.3
(15.3)
1.7
(35.1)
Average low °C (°F) -19.9
(-3.8)
-18.6
(-1.5)
-11.4
(11.5)
-3.2
(26.2)
1.7
(35.1)
6.8
(44.2)
10.3
(50.5)
9.2
(48.6)
5.0
(41)
0.1
(32.2)
-5.5
(22.1)
-14.1
(6.6)
-3.3
(26.1)
Record low °C (°F) -47.2
(-53)
-44.4
(-47.9)
-35.6
(-32.1)
-21.0
(-5.8)
-8.3
(17.1)
-3.2
(26.2)
0.6
(33.1)
-0.7
(30.7)
-6.1
(21)
-11.0
(12.2)
-22.8
(-9)
-37.8
(-36)
-47.2
(-53)
Wind chill -53.0 -56.9 -48.3 -29.5 -19.0 -4.8 0.0 -2.7 -8.4 -15.1 -31.1 -51.5 -56.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 83.4
(3.283)
65.2
(2.567)
68.4
(2.693)
79.7
(3.138)
91.1
(3.587)
88.7
(3.492)
93.1
(3.665)
75.4
(2.969)
86.3
(3.398)
95.3
(3.752)
95.8
(3.772)
78.7
(3.098)
1,001.0
(39.409)
Rainfall mm (inches) 12.3
(0.484)
14.4
(0.567)
23.7
(0.933)
50.7
(1.996)
88.3
(3.476)
88.7
(3.492)
93.1
(3.665)
75.4
(2.969)
86.3
(3.398)
90.0
(3.543)
57.7
(2.272)
17.0
(0.669)
697.6
(27.465)
Snowfall cm (inches) 83.8
(32.99)
59.1
(23.27)
48.2
(18.98)
30.3
(11.93)
2.7
(1.06)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.01
(0.004)
5.4
(2.13)
40.2
(15.83)
73.2
(28.82)
342.9
(135)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 16.2 12.8 12.8 12.3 14.2 13.5 14.6 13.5 13.5 15.0 14.1 14.8 167.3
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 1.6 1.8 3.7 8.3 14.1 13.5 14.6 13.5 13.5 14.8 8.7 2.6 110.9
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 16.8 11.8 10.7 6.2 0.89 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.05 1.7 8.6 14.3 71.1
Sunshine hours 112.5 134.4 163.5 181.7 217.3 237.1 244.0 238.4 163.8 123.4 90.7 94.7 2,001.5
Source: Environment Canada

Economy

The region is a major forestry centre for the pulp and paper industry, owned by Abitibi Consolidated as of October 2006. Alongside hydro-electricity and the paper industry, an aluminum plant has fed employment for decades. Cargill has a large elevator there that is used to transfer grain from Great Lakes boats to ocean-going ships.

Sports

Para-Cyclists at the 2019 UCI Para-Cycling World Cup
Para-Cyclists at the 2019 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup in Baie-Comeau, Canada. Left to right: Carla Shibley, Hassan Dia, Meghan Brown.

The 1993 Quebec Winter Games were played in Baie-Comeau.

Many different sports are played in Baie-Comeau:

Hockey

Baie-Comeau is home to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, an ice hockey team playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League since 1997. The team plays in the Centre Henry-Leonard located in the eastern sector of the town.

Skiing

The Centre de ski du Mont-Tibasse is an alpine ski centre located a few kilometers north of the town where it offers twelve slopes. Cross-country skiing is also popular. Students often frequent Mont-Tibasse as part of their school programs.

Golf

An 18-hole golf course is available in the western sector of the town. It is a semi-private golf club and is open for most of the summer.

Swimming

The two major high schools of the city each offer an indoor swimming pool and are open to the public year-round. Two outdoor swimming pools are also available to the public. These are open from the end of June until the middle of August each summer.

Some beaches are also available in the summer. There are other beaches are along the shore of the St. Lawrence river such as the Plage Champlain and the Plage Pointe-Lebel, among others.

Tennis

Several outdoor tennis courts are available to the public in the different parks across town. They are open for most of the summer.

Football

The Baie-Comeau Vikings represent the Polyvalente des Baies in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean League. The team won championships in the eastern Quebec circuit in 2003, 2004 and 2006, and were finalists in 2005.

Education

Baie-Comeau is home to several French-language public elementary schools, two French-language public high schools and one English-language public school that includes both the elementary and high school levels of education.

The town is also home to one French-language CEGEP called the Cégep de Baie-Comeau.

List of schools in Baie-Comeau:

School name Level Sector
École Bois-Du-Nord Elementary Western
École Boisvert Elementary Eastern
École Leventoux Elementary Eastern
École Mgr-Bélanger Elementary Western
École Saint-Cœur-de-Marie Elementary Western
École Serge-Bouchard High School Western
École Trudel Elementary Western
Polyvalente des Baies High School Eastern
Baie-Comeau High School Elementary and high school Eastern
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