Les Escoumins, Quebec Canada

Discover Les Escoumins, Quebec: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Les Escoumins, Quebec, is a charming municipality nestled in the La Haute-Côte-Nord Regional County Municipality in the Côte-Nord region. This picturesque town, located on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River, boasts a thriving economy primarily based on the service sectors, including education, health, and tourism. Accessible via Route 138, Les Escoumins also offers a ferry service to Trois-Pistoles, making it a convenient destination for travelers.

The Etymology of Les Escoumins, Quebec

The name "Les Escoumins" has a rich history, believed to originate from the Montagnais term 'iskomin', which translates to "where there are many seeds" or "there are fruits or seeds". This name is derived from the roots 'isko' or 'ishko' ("as far as this/that") and 'min' (red seeds, or wild berries in general).

However, some theories suggest that it could be a variation of the Mi'kmaq term 'eskumunaak', meaning "lookout place". Other sources propose that the place is named 'Essipit' in Montagnais, meaning "river of shells". Over the centuries, the name has seen several spellings, including Uscamin, Les Escoumains, Essuie-Mains, L'Esquemin, Lesquemin, Leschemin (Champlain, 1629), L'Esquemain, and Lesquemain (1611 map of Champlain and other texts of 1626). The oldest reference to this name dates back to the map of Levasseur of 1601, that shows 'Escanimes'; and to a contract of 1604 that included the rare spelling 'Esguenim'.

The Rich History of Les Escoumins, Quebec

Les Escoumins is considered the cradle of the Côte-Nord Amerindian, who have inhabited the area for thousands of years. The Montagnais and Mi'kmaq tribes frequented the area, particularly in the spring to gather the abundant berries that covered the rocks and adorned the mossy plains.

The first Europeans to arrive in the area were the Basques around the 1630s. In 1723, a cross was erected in honor of Our Dame of Bon-Désir, and the place was also known as Bon-Desir. That same year, the Mission of Saint-Marcellin was founded. The first permanent European settler in Escoumins was Joseph Moreau, an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company, who arrived in 1825. It wasn't until 1845 that a real village began to form when many families from the South Shore, especially from Trois-Pistoles, Rivière-Ouelle, Rimouski, and a group of Charlevoix settled there. In 1853, the local post office opened, and the timber trade caused the village to grow rapidly. In 1863, the Municipality of Les Escoumains was formed, and in 1957, the spelling of the municipality's name was corrected to the current form.

Institutions in Les Escoumins, Quebec

Today, Les Escoumins is the largest village in the so-called "Secteur BEST" (i.e., the municipalities of Bergeronnes, Escoumins, Sacre-Coeur, Tadoussac). It is home to a hospital (The Centre de santé de la Haute-Côte-Nord, previously known as Hôpital St-Alexandre), an Indian Reservation (Essipit, a Montagnais community), the Poste de Pilotage des Laurentides (part of the St-Lawrence Seaway), and is an internationally known scuba diving site. An FM radio station, CHME, is also located within Essipit.

Demographics of Les Escoumins, Quebec

As of 2016, Les Escoumins had a population of 1891, a decrease of 5.5% from 2011. The population in 2011 was 2000, a decrease of 3.5% from 2006. The population in 2006 was 2073, a decrease of 2.5% from 2001. The population in 2001 was 2106, a decrease of 2.4% from 1996. The population in 1996 was 2136, a decrease of 4.4% from 1991. The population in 1991 was 2212.

The town has 848 private dwellings occupied by usual residents, out of a total of 918 dwellings. The mother tongue of the residents is predominantly French, with 99.5% of the population speaking it as their first language. English is not a first language for any of the residents, and 0.5% of the population speaks another language as their first language.