La Tabatière

What to KNOW

Stretching across several kilometres of coastline, the modern community of La Tabatière is composed of the hamlets of Old Post, Red Bay and La Tabatière. The hamlet of La Tabatière has been known as the best seal-fishing station on the Lower North Shore since the 18th century. French concessionaires with fishing and land-holding rights ran a seal fishery here. They also traded eider down collected from the duck nests. The name Tabatière comes from the Aboriginal word tabaquen, meaning sorcerer. Innu who traded with settlers in La Tabatière usually consulted a sorcerer-soothsayer before heading on a hunting trip. The French trading post fell into British hands in the 1760s. After a period of British ownership, a Quebec-City based company purchased the post.

In 1820, after the company went bankrupt, former employee Samuel Robertson from Scotland bought it and produced seal oil. During the 19th century, Jersey, French-Canadian and Newfoundland fishermen arrived in the hamlets that now make up La Tabatière. The major seal oil rendering and fish oil factory in the community burned down in the 1930s and was rebuilt as a fish-processing plant.

What to SEE

Robertson seal foundry

The Robertson family once had the largest seal fishing operation on the Coast. Pots that were used for rendering blubber into oil are still visible at Spar Point.

Gros Mecatina Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Located east of the community of La Tabatière, the Gros Mecatina bird sanctuary is spread over three areas – the Plate, Marmettes and Trois Collines islands. Here, Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and Tern species form small colonies. Along these islands, blueberries and cloudberries grow on the hilltops in abundance.

Outer islands

A local boat owner can be hired for an informal tour of the outer islands. Big Mecatina Island, also known as Grosse Île, was formerly home to several fishing families during peak fishing season, and is located 6 kilometres (4 miles) east of La Tabatière.

WHAT TO DO

IN SUMMER

Hiking and walking, bird and whale watching, iceberg viewing, boat tours, sea kayaking, berry-picking, salmon fishing, wilderness camping, ATV

  • Priest’s Hill boardwalk trail: Located across from Mecatina School on Priest’s Hill, this newly established wooden boardwalk leads up Priest’s Hill. At the top, stop to admire the spectacular scenery and view of the outer islands. You can also walk or get a ride to the Sands, a stretch of sandy beach located 3 kilometres (2 miles) from La Tabatière.
  • Point aux Neiges Park: Walk along a gravel footpath on the outskirts of the village to reach this local park. An observation deck with explanatory placards and a telescope allows you to take in some incredible sights of marine and bird life.

IN WINTER

Snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, winter carnival, hockey tournaments

Services

AUBERGE DE LA MER INC

La Tabatière (QC), G0G 1T0
Tel: 418.773.2596
Fax: 418.773.2449

MAGASIN REALM

La Tabatière (QC), G0G 1T0
Tel: 418.773.2444
Email: realmoffice@xplornet.com

SEASIDE SUPPLIES

11 Chemin Cove
La Tabatière (QC), G0G 1T0
Tel: 418.773.2424
Fax: 418.773.2649
Email: seasidesupplies@xplornet.ca

WOODY’S BAR & RESTAURANT

La Tabatière (QC), G0G 1T0
Tel: 418.773.2200