Bonne-Espérance, Quebec

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Location within Le Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent RCM.
Location within Le Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent RCM.
Bonne-Espérance is located in Côte-Nord region, Quebec
Location in Côte-Nord Region of Quebec.
Coordinates: 51°23′N 57°40′W / 51.383°N 57.667°W / 51.383; -57.667Coordinates: 51°23′N 57°40′W / 51.383°N 57.667°W / 51.383; -57.667[1]
Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Côte-Nord
RCM Le Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent
Constituted January 1, 1990
 • Mayor Roderick Fequet
 • Federal riding Manicouagan
 • Prov. riding Duplessis
 • Total 1,198.70 km2 (462.82 sq mi)
 • Land 646.73 km2 (249.70 sq mi)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 732
 • Density 1.1/km2 (3/sq mi)
 • Pop 2006-2011 Decrease 12.2%
 • Dwellings 319
Time zone UTC-4 (AST)
Postal code(s) G0G 2P0
Area code(s) 418 and 581
Highways Route 138
Climate Dfc

Bonne-Espérance is a municipality in the Côte-Nord region of the province of Quebec in Canada.

The municipality is made up of the fishing villages of St. Paul's River (Rivière-Saint-Paul), Middle Bay, and Old Fort (Old Fort Bay),[4] and was incorporated as a municipality on January 1, 1990.[2] All three communities are accessible via Quebec Route 138 from Blanc-Sablon to the east only; this road currently ends at Vieux-Fort before commencing again at Kegashka some 300 kilometres (190 mi) west-south-west.


Early history of Bonne Esperance[edit]

Bonne Esperance was first known to be inhabited by the Maritime Archaic people. The Maritime Archaic people are probably the ancestors of today's Innu people, and lived on the coast about 9,000 years ago. When the French met the Innu they called them Montagnais, because of the hilly land they lived on, however since 1990 the preferred name is Innu.

French colonial history[edit]

In 1534, Jacques Cartier established a short-term storehouse around the modern-day location of Old Fort to help resupply his ship crews. The words "Old Establishment" found on the map of Nicolas Bellin in 1744, would indicate that "Vieux-Fort" is the former site of "Brest", visited especially by Basque and Breton fishermen at the turn of the sixteenth century to hunt whale and render their blubber for lamp oil. But Brest was later relocated to Brador Bay, where in 1907 a township was created with the same name.[5] In 1702 Augustin Le Gardeur de Courtemanche was granted a large concession by the King of France from the Kegaska River (Kegashka) to the Kessessakiou (Hamilton River).[6] In 1702, Courtemanche built a fort on Old Fort Bay to protect the fishermen and trappers he employed to harvest the region's abundance in cod, whale, seal and furs from the hostile Eskimos. This fort was replaced by Fort Pontchartrain, that Courtemanche built on Brador Bay in 1704. However, in 1714 800 Eskimos attacked the fort and stole everything they could.[7] Courtemanche, planning to strike back at the Eskimos to pacify them, died in 1717. His son François Martel De Brouague took over the Labrador fishery and managed it profitably through two naval wars between France and England, until his death in 1761.[8]

British colonial history[edit]

It was not until the 19th century that permanent residents from Newfoundland and elsewhere in Quebec began to establish the three fishing communities, whose current day inhabitants are largely descended from these people.


In addition to the three villages mentioned below, the municipality also includes the ghost town of Salmon Bay (51°25′27″N 57°36′55″W / 51.42417°N 57.61528°W / 51.42417; -57.61528).

Middle Bay[edit]

Middle Bay is a small fishing village with a population of thirty-three permanent residents (2016), but in the summer seasons more people go there to fish.[9]

St. Paul's River[edit]

The town of St. Paul's River is between the communities of Old Fort Bay and Middle Bay. The population of this village is 100 (2016).[10]

Old Fort[edit]

As the name suggests, Old Fort has a long history but in 2016 was a town of 234 people.[11]



Canada census – Bonne-Espérance, Quebec community profile
2016 2011 2006
Population: 681 (-7.0% from 2011) 732 (-12.2% from 2006) 834 (-2.1% from 2001)
Land area: 646.73 km2 (249.70 sq mi) 646.73 km2 (249.70 sq mi) 646.73 km2 (249.70 sq mi)
Population density: 1.1/km2 (2.8/sq mi) 1.1/km2 (2.8/sq mi) 1.3/km2 (3.4/sq mi)
Median age: 50.9 (M: 51.0, F: 50.8) 46.6 (M: 46.4, F: 47.0) 41.3 (M: 41.7, F: 40.7)
Total private dwellings: 296 319 315
Median household income: $67,584 $.N/A $45,811
References: 2016[12] 2011[13] 2006[14] earlier[15]
Historical Census Data - Bonne-Espérance, Quebec[16]
1991 896—    
1996 906+1.1%
2001 852−6.0%
2006 834−2.1%
2011 732−12.2%
2016 681−7.0%


Canada Census Mother Tongue - Bonne-Espérance, Quebec[16]
Census Total
French & English
Year Responses Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop %
10 Decrease 33.3% 1.37% 715 Decrease 10.1% 97.95% 0 Steady 0.0% 0.00% 5 Decrease 83.3% 0.68%
15 Steady 0.0% 1.79% 795 Decrease 1.9% 94.64% 0 Steady 0.0% 0.00% 30 Steady 0.0% 3.57%
15 Increase 33.3% 1.75% 810 Decrease 9.0% 94.74% 0 Steady 0.0% 0.00% 30 Increase n/a% 3.51%
10 n/a 1.11% 890 n/a 98.89% 0 n/a 0.00% 0 n/a 0.00%


One of the main jobs for people in Bonne Esperance area is the fishery. There are three fish plants, one located in each of the villages: Middle Bay, St. Paul's River and Old Fort. The fish plants are open during the summer months. This facility employs around 100 people. There is also a school board which employs about 25 people, including teachers, janitors, secretaries and technicians. There is the municipality which employs about 10 people. There is the Coasters Association which employs about 11 people and there are local grocery stores/ businesses that employ a number of people. There is also USL; this is a construction company which operates in Ontario and Alberta. Every year, many of the men leave their community and go to work in both places usually leaving in the spring and returning in the fall. During the winter months, most people who fish, work in the fish plants, and go to work in Alberta and Ontario collect employment insurance benefits.


St. Paul's River is the only village on the Lower North Shore that has a high school that is not combined with an elementary school. The school was once an elementary and secondary school, but in 2004, it became St. Paul's High School. As well, Commission scolaire du Littoral operates Mountain Ridge School (anglophone) in Old Fort.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reference number 236020 of the Commission de toponymie du Québec (in French)
  2. ^ a b c "Bonne-Espérance". Répertoire des municipalités (in French). Gouvernement du Québec, Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  3. ^ a b "Bonne-Espérance census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  4. ^ Lavallée, Claudia (2004-10-12). "A Summer in Bonne Esperance". CITIZENShift. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  5. ^ "Vieux-Fort". Commission de toponymie de Québec. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  6. ^ Corley, Nora T. "LE GARDEUR DE COURTEMANCHE, AUGUSTIN". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  8. ^ Igartua, José. "MARTEL DE BROUAGUE, FRANÇOIS". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census Baie du Milieu, Designated place". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census Rivière-Saint-Paul, Designated place". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census Old Fort, Designated place". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  12. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. February 21, 2017. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  13. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  14. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  15. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012.
  16. ^ a b Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 census
  17. ^ "Schools and centers." Commission scolaire du Littoral. Retrieved on September 23, 2017.

External links[edit]