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Village municipality
Tadoussac - Panorama 01.jpg
Location within La Haute-Côte-Nord RCM.
Location within La Haute-Côte-Nord RCM.
Tadoussac is located in Côte-Nord Region Quebec
Location in Côte-Nord region of Quebec.
Coordinates: 48°09′N 69°43′W / 48.150°N 69.717°W / 48.150; -69.717Coordinates: 48°09′N 69°43′W / 48.150°N 69.717°W / 48.150; -69.717[1]
Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Côte-Nord
RCM La Haute-Côte-Nord
Settled 1600
Constituted October 10, 1899
 • Mayor Hugues Tremblay
 • Federal riding Montmorency—Charlevoix
 • Prov. riding René-Lévesque
 • Total 194.10 km2 (74.94 sq mi)
 • Land 53.98 km2 (20.84 sq mi)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 813
 • Density 15.1/km2 (39/sq mi)
 • Pop 2006-2011 Decrease 4.4%
 • Dwellings 400
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code(s) G0T 2A0
Area code(s) 418 and 581
Highways Route 138
Route 172
Website www.tadoussac.com

Tadoussac (French pronunciation: ​[tadusak]) is a village in Quebec, Canada, at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Saguenay rivers. It was France's first trading post on the mainland of New France and an important trading post in the seventeenth century, making it the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in Canada, and the oldest surviving French settlement in the Americas.

The indigenous Innu called the place Totouskak (plural for totouswk or totochak) meaning "bosom", probably in reference to the two round and sandy hills located on the west side of the village. According to other interpretations, it could also mean "place of lobsters", or "place where the ice is broken" (from the Innu shashuko).

Although located in Innu territory, it was frequented by the Mi'kmaq people in the second half of the 16th century, who called it Gtatosag ("among the rocks"). Alternate spellings of Tadoussac over the centuries included Tadousac (17th and 18th centuries), Tadoussak, and Thadoyzeau (1550).[1]


Tadoussac in about 1612, illustrated by Samuel de Champlain
Tadoussac, 1900

Jacques Cartier came to the site in 1535 during his second voyage, and found there Innu hunting seal. Later that same century, it was visited by Basques, whaling on the river.[1]

Tadoussac was founded in 1600 [4] by François Gravé Du Pont, a merchant, and Pierre de Chauvin de Tonnetuit, a captain of the French Royal Navy, when they acquired a fur trade monopoly from Henry IV. Gravé and Chauvin built the settlement on the shore at the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River to profit from its location, but only five of the 16 men with them survived the first winter. In 1603, Samuel de Champlain visited the place. In 1615, the Mission of L'Exaltation-de-la-Sainte-Croix-de-Tadoussac, named in memory of a cross planted by Jean de Quen, was founded by the Récollets who sang the first Mass two years later.[1]

Tadoussac remained the only seaport on the river for 30 years. By the 17th and 18th century, it was the center of fur trade between the French and First Nations peoples. Competition over the fur trade increased among the nations. Historians believe the St. Lawrence Iroqouians, who inhabited the St. Lawrence river valley further west, were defeated and pushed out by the Mohawk by the early 17th century. Colonists from the Tadoussac area were involved in whaling from 1632 until at least the end of the century.

In the 19th century, with industrialization reaching other parts of Canada, tourists discovered the appeal of the rural village and wealthy Québécois built a number of villas. A Victorian hotel was built in 1864; it later was lost to a fire. In the 1940s, it was replaced by the large Hotel Tadoussac.

In 1855, the geographic township of Tadoussac was established and in 1899, it was incorporated as a village municipality. In 1937, the Parish Municipality of Tadoussac was formed, but dissolved in 1949 because it had less than 500 inhabitants.[1]

Present day[edit]

Tadoussac as seen from the St. Lawrence

The modern village of Tadoussac lies close to the site of the original settlement at the mouth of the Saguenay River. It is known as a tourist destination because of the rugged beauty of the Saguenay fjord and its facilities for whale watching. The authority for the Port of Tadoussac was transferred in April 2012 to the Municipality of Tadoussac.[5]

The entire area is either rural or still in a wilderness state, with several federal and provincial natural parks and preserves competing for prestigious spots. Tadoussac encompasses the first marine national park of Canada. The nearest urban agglomeration is Saguenay about 100 km (62 mi) west.

The film The Hotel New Hampshire based on the 1981 John Irving novel was shot at the Hotel Tadoussac and released in 1984.


Old chapel, built 1747-1750 (the oldest wooden church in North-America)

Tadoussac is located on the north-west shore of the Saint Lawrence River, at its confluence with the Saguenay River. The cold, fresh water from the Saguenay and the warmer, salty water of the St. Lawrence, meet to create a rich marine environment. The rivers support an abundance of krill, making the area very attractive to whales.


Tadoussac is the north-east terminus of the Baie-Ste-Catherine/Tadoussac ferry, which offers free and frequent service across the Saguenay River. The ferry is part of Quebec Route 138 and the main link to Sept-Îles. The village is thus considered the gateway to the Manicouagan region.

Bus service to and from Quebec City and Montreal is offered by Intercar, twice a day, 7 days a week.[6]

Tourism and attractions[edit]


Painting of Tadoussac by Charles Comfort, including the Old Chapel (1935)

Population trend:[8]

  • Population in 2011: 813 (2006 to 2011 population change: -4.4 %)
  • Population in 2006: 850
  • Population in 2001: 870
  • Population in 1996: 913
  • Population in 1991: 832

Private dwellings occupied by usual residents: 382 (total dwellings: 400)

Mother tongue:

  • English as first language: 1.8%
  • French as first language: 92.3%
  • English and French as first language: 1.8%
  • Other as first language: 4.1%


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Reference number 61428 of the Commission de toponymie du Québec (French)
  2. ^ a b Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire - Répertoire des municipalités: Tadoussac
  3. ^ a b Statistics Canada 2011 Census - Tadoussac
  4. ^ Canadian Biography online
  5. ^ tc.gc.ca: "Transport Canada - Deproclamation Notice Subsection 2(1)"
  6. ^ bonjourquebec.com: "Intercar (Montréal - Québec - Charlevoix - Côte-Nord)"
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 census

External links[edit]