Chibougamau, Quebec


Chibougamau, Quebec

Chibougamau is a town in central Quebec, Canada, located on Lake Gilman. It has a population of 7,563 people (Canada 2006 Census), which makes it the largest community in northern Quebec. Because of its remoteness from the Lac Saint-Jean area (over 200 km south-east) and from the Abitibi-Témiscamingue area (over 250 km south-west), it serves as the centre of services for the few small communities surrounding it (Mistissini and Chapais) and for the regional resource-based industries.

Close by are Lake Aux Dorés and the vast Lake Chibougamau, after which the town was named. The name "Chibougamau" comes from the Cree language meaning "Crossed by a river". The nearby Cree village of Oujé-Bougoumou is a more traditional Cree spelling of the same name.

The area around Lake Gilman is Obalski Park. Its amenities include a beach, pier, pic-nic tables, cabins, among others. The many trails allow for hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing, or even snowmobiling through the park's boreal forest.

Access to the town is by Route 167 from Lac Saint-Jean and by Route 113 from Lebel-sur-Quevillon. Chibougamau's airport is along Route 113, about halfway to Chapais.

History

The area has long been part of the Cree traditional hunting grounds. It was in the early 17th century that French explorers and traders, including Charles Albanel in 1671, came to the Lake Chibougamau area. But no permanent European settlements were established at that time.

Not until the late 19th Century did the area attract the interest of mining prospectors. When gold was discovered in 1903, there were periods of intense exploration. Due to the difficulty of access, [St.-Hilaire, Marc. "Chibougamuau", in "The Canadian Encyclopedia" (Edmonton: Hurtig Publishing, 1988), Volume 1, p.407.] no lasting development took place at that time. Not until 1949 was copper first exploited, [St.-Hilaire, p.407.] with the opening of a multi-metallic mine in the area, and a permanent community was established in 1952. [St.-Hilaire, p.407.] Chibougamau started out as a company town but soon after, in 1954, it was incorporated as a municipality. Many mines have exploited the area since. While still thought of as a mining town, Chibougamau is now also the centre of a large logging and sawmill [St.-Hilaire, p.407.] industry.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Royal Canadian Air Force operated a radar station in Chibougamau as part of the Pinetree Line.

Since December 2001, the mayor of Chibougamau is also part of the municipal council of Municipality of Baie-James.

The city is home to an annual "Folies frettes" festival and a snowmobile rally. [St.-Hilaire, p.407.]

chools

French-language schools in Chibougamau, past and present, are:
*École Bon-Pasteur
*École Vatican II
*École Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire
*École La Porte-du-Nord
*Le Centre l'Élan
*École Vinette (closed 1991)
*Centre de formation professionnelle de la Jamésie
*Centre d'études collégiales Chibougamau

The English-language school is MacLean Memorial School [http://www.cqsb.qc.ca/mms/] , formerly Chibougamau Protestant School. There also used to be a Catholic English-language school called Holy Family School.

ee also

*List of communities in Quebec
*Nord-du-Québec

References

Notes

Sources

*St.-Hilaire, Marc. "Chibougamuau", in "The Canadian Encyclopedia", Volume 1, p.407. Edmonton: Hurtig Publishing, 1988.

External links

* [http://www.ville.chibougamau.qc.ca/ Official site]
* [http://www.municipalite.baie-james.qc.ca/html/e_communautes12.htm Municipality of Baie-James]


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