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The picturesque Bas-Saint-Laurent region extends east along the St. Lawrence River from the little town of La Pocatière to the village of Sainte-Luce, and south to the borders of the United States and New Brunswick. Besides the particularly fertile agricultural land next to the river, much of the Bas-Saint-Laurent is composed of farming and forestry development areas stretched over gently rolling hills glittering with lakes and streams.
Rivière-du-Loup is set on several ranges of rolling hills. It has become one of the most important towns in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. Its strategic location made it a marine communication centre for the Atlantic, the St. Lawrence, Lac Témiscouata and the St. John River in New Brunswick. Later, it was an important railway centre, when the town was the eastern terminus of the Canadian train network.
At the end of the 17th century, a French merchant named René Lepage, originally from Auxerre, France, undertook the monumental task of clearing the Rimouski seigneury. The land thus became the eastern-most area on the Gulf of St. Lawrence to be colonized under the French Regime. In 1919, the Abitibi-Price company opened a factory, turning the town into an important wood-processing centre. Today, Rimouski is considered the administrative capital of eastern Québec, and prides itself on being on the cutting edge of the arts. Rimouski means "Land of the moose" in Micmac.
The Canyon des Portes de l'Enfer (Saint-Narcisse-de-Rimouski, 5.6km along a dirt road, 735-6063) is a fascinating natural spectacle, especially in winter. Literally, the "gates of hell," this canyon starts at the 18m Grand Saut falls, and stretches nearly 5km on either side of the Rivière Rimouski, with cliffs reaching as high as 90m in places. Guided boat tours are conducted in the canyon.
Parc du Bic (869-3333) is an area of 33km2 featuring a jumble of coves, jutting shoreline, promontories, hills, escarpments and marshes, as well as deep bays rich in a tremendously wide variety of plant and animal life.
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