Ignotus Locus: Lac Manicouagan & Fermont, PQ

For whatever reason I’ve been mentally traveling to new and exotic places. Not typical places though like Fiji or Sandals Resorts.  I’m thinking more about obscure locations.  Geographically unique, desolate or isolated places that seem to hold amazing treasurers of history, culture, nature or some type of implied mythology.

This is Lac Manicouagan in Quebec.  It is along Highway 389 which connects southern Quebec with the Labrador Peninsula.  This route runs along historical aboriginal and explorer routes but is now used primarily to connect to several mining operations.  Fermont, with a population of 2,918 is the last Quebec port-o-call on this road.  It is said that the drive from Baie-Comeau (the highways southern beginning) to Fermont is about 16 hours – with another 16 hour drive to reach Happy Valley/Goose Bay, NFLD.

Lac Manicouagan is about half way between Baie-Comeau and Fermont and it hosts the head pond for several hydro-electric projects.  It was created by an impact crater 214 million years ago and is the 5th largest reservoir in the world (by volume).  This crater impact is not connected to the Triassic/Jurassic Extinction event as it predates crazy-ass dinosaurs by about 12 million years.  It is commonly referred to as “the eye of Quebec” and this unique topography can be seen clearly from space – a feature that was part of the astronaut Marc Garneau’s pitch for Lac Manicouagan to be one of Canada’s 7 great wonders.

This is Fermont.  It the lone mining city in the region.  It was chosen (I’m not sure how) to remain in existence following the razing of a couple of other mining towns.  Fermont has the unique distinction of having “The Wall”.  An architecturally unique building that serves as the town hall, apartment building, shopping centre, recreation centre as well a massive windbreak to protect Fermont from powerful North Atlantic winds.

It is said that “The Wall” feels like a giant dormitory and contains within it the ability to house 600 people in its 5 story,  1.3 kilometre structure.  People who live in the wall have the option of meeting all of their needs without every having to leave the building (especially during the difficult 7 months of winter weather).

This is a Ignotus Locus that our family would like to travel to.  We would camp along Lac Manicouagan, boat across the reservoir and hike Mt. Babel or swim in Lac X, than rent a hotel room or apartment in the wall and spend the summer in Fermont learning more about French culture, mining and event taking a trip into Labrador.  What an amazing Canadian adventure this could be.

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