It was originally called “Chischedec” (islands seen from afar) by the Micmacs and was officially known under such name by the first Basque fishermen who frequented the premises. It is now called “Uashat” (the round bay) by the Innus who use it regularly.
The name “Seven Islands” was given by explorer Jacques Cartier who, during his second trip in 1535, and after naming them “The Round Islands”, officially renamed them “Les Sept-Îles” on his way back from Québec.
Sept-Îles was initially known for its port, because the first settlers, American Indians, Basques and French, as well as Jacques Cartier and the first Canadians, were simply attracted by this huge round bay whose entrances were hidden by the islands. It was their refuge in stormy weather or their escape from potential nemesis, often searching for lands to hunt and fish.
The first territorial grant including the Port of Sept-Îles was given by King Louis XIV (Sun King) to François Bissot, Louis Jolliet’s father-in-law, and to Louis Jolliet himself in 1673. The latter had built approach facilities and a fur trading post. In 1690, English sailors en route to Québec destroyed it.
Rebuilt in 1733 and named the “Domaine Royal”, it was destroyed by the English Marine who was preparing for the Québec attack. Shortly after, in 1761, it was General Murray himself who had it rebuilt, proof of the strategic location of the port for sailors, warriors, fishermen, traders and merchants who then navigated the St. Lawrence.
Until the beginning of the 1900s, the only port facilities that existed were approaches along the shore, at the entrance of rivière au Poste, where the first buildings were erected. That sector is now known as Vieux Poste (Old Trading Post).
It was in 1904, in the neighbouring bay of Pointe-Noire, that the first dock was built by the “Gulf Pulp and Paper Company”. This dock served as the railway terminal linking it to its pulp and paper mill in Clarke City.
In 1905, at L’Anse à la Sybille, the Canadian Steam Whaling Co. built a ramp that was used as a dock for the whalers supplying its plant. This Canadian company was sold to the Norwegians in 1911.
The first public dock, today called “Vieux Quai”, was built in 1908. It was destroyed by a storm in 1914, rebuilt in 1916 and restored and extended in 1932 and in 1982. At the end of the last century, the terminal was completed by the construction of a boardwalk and a marina.
The first industrial dock was built in 1950, thanks to the IOC Mining Company. Simultaneously, the federal government had the Pointe-aux-Basques dock built, which was the extension of an adjacent private dock. In the early ’60s, another dock was added to the Port of Sept-Îles, the Mgr Blanche dock was built and used for the handling of general cargo.
In 1961, the Imperial Oil dock, built by the company bearing the same name, was used to unload petroleum products. The federal government acquired it in 1977 and baptized it “Quai des Pétroliers”.
The first major docking installations in the Pointe-Noire sector were built by Wabush Mines Company in 1962. This dock, acquired by the Canada Ports Corporation in 1998, is now called “Quai Pointe-Noire”.
In 1973, the management of the Port of Sept-Îles, including all of its facilities, was entrusted to the National Harbours Board, which became Canada Ports Corporation (Ports Canada) in 1981.
In 1982, the Canada Ports Corporation built “La Relance” terminal to allow the development of the sector. In 1989, Aluminerie Alouette became one of its main users. A railcar ferry terminal, next to La Relance dock, was built in 1992.
Under the Canada Marine Act, adopted in 1999, the Port of Sept-Îles became a Canada Port Authority in 1999, under the direction of a local board of directors and designated as the “Sept-Îles Port Authority”.
Current logo of the Port of Sept-Îles
In 2008, the Port gave itself a new signature… A modern image, open to the world!