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Archaeology in National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada

Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park has 8000 years of history!

Cap-de-Bon-Désir, outillage lithique Cap-de-Bon-Désir, lithic tools (4,500 and 3,000 BC.)
© Parks Canada

The Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park is a very biologically diverse area, but did you know that it also contains archaeological remains that prove that humans occupied this area several thousand years ago? The discovery and dating of seal bones in the present-day park shows that Aboriginal people were already hunting on this land close to 8000 years ago.

In the 16th century, the park’s wealth of marine resources attracted Basques and others who came to hunt whales and other marine mammals, and to fish for cod. The remains of ovens discovered on the shores of the Marine Park and Île aux Basques mark their passing.

The 16th century is also when Aboriginal and European civilizations (Basques and others) first made contact, a meeting that would shape our history. In the late 16th and early 17th century, the area at the mouth of the Saguenay River was a true cultural hub and Tadoussac was the largest fur trading centre in North America.

It is not just the oldest evidence of human life that is worthy of note in this heritage area. Other distinct traces of human occupation abound, including a number of shipwrecks, several fisheries, wharves and other industrial sites related to 18th and 19th century logging (such as support structures, wharves, sawmills, flumes and dams), as well as lighthouses and navigational aids.

SS Carolina wrecked at Pointe à Passe-Pierre SS Carolina at Pointe à Passe-Pierre
Source : BAnQ-C, SHS, P2, S7, 00642-1
Remains of a long warf at Les Escoumins Remains of a long warf at Les Escoumins
© Parks Canada / M.-A. Bernier

Les Escoumins Mill Les Escoumins Mill
(Souce : BAnQ-C, Fond Price)

Located in a wonderful environment, these heritage features translate the spirit of the place.

For more information: Parks Canada website for Saguenay-St.Lawrence Marine Park or Joint website by Parks Canada and Parks Québec for Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park