Rimouski Explained

Official Name:Rimouski
Settlement Type:Ville (city)
Motto:Legi patrum fidelis
Flag Size:140px
Subdivision Type:Country
Subdivision Type1:Province
Subdivision Type2:Region
Subdivision Name2:Bas-Saint-Laurent
Leader Title:Mayor
Leader Name:Éric Forest
Leader Title1:Governing body
Leader Title3:MNAs
Established Title:Constitution date
Established Date:January 1, 2002
Area Total Km2:254.16
Population As Of:2006
Population Total:42240
Population Density Km2:167.1
Utc Offset:−5
Blank Name:Geographical code
Blank Info:24 10043
Blank1 Name:People
Blank1 Info:Rimouskois, Rimouskoises
Website:Ville de Rimouski

Rimouski is a Canadian city in the central part of Bas-Saint-Laurent region in eastern Quebec. It is located on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River at the mouth of the Rimouski River, north-east of Quebec City.

The city, whose population was 42,240 in the Canada 2006 Census, offers several tourist attractions. With the new Desjardins-Telus theatre and the expansion of the industrial district to include many department stores, Rimouski has become a major service centre for the region.

Rimouski is a major regional centre and is home of several institutions such as Université du Québec à Rimouski and Cégep de Rimouski. It is the seat for the Rimouski-Neigette Regional County Municipality. It is also the centre of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Rimouski. The Saint-Germain Cathedral is the tallest building in the downtown area.

Rimouski is part of Maritime Quebec, a territory which includes the largest group of francophone and bilingual institutions dedicated to ocean sciences and technology in North America. These organizations include the Institut Maritime du Québec (IMQ), the Institut des sciences de la mer (ISMER), the Centre de recherche sur les biotechnologies marines (CRBM), the Centre interdisciplinaire de développement en cartographie des océans (CIDCO) and the Maurice-Lamontagne Institute (the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans Marine Science Research Centre), based in Mont-Joli.


The city was founded by Sir René Lepage de Ste-Claire in 1696. Originally from Ouanne in the Burgundy region, he exchanged property he owned on the Île d'Orléans with Augustin Rouer de la Cardonnière for the Seigneurie of Rimouski, which extended along the St. Lawrence River from the Hâtée River at Le Bic to the Métis River. De la Cardonnière had been the owner of Rimouski since 1688, but had never lived there. René Lepage moved his family to Rimouski, where it held the seigneurie until 1780 when it was gradually sold to the Quebec City businessman Joseph Drapeau.

Today, a boulevard, park and monument at the western entrance of the Rimouski bear the name of the Sir René Lepage de Ste-Claire.

On May 6, 1950, Rimouski suffered a terrible fire in which 319 houses burned to the ground. This event is known as La nuit rouge (French for Red Night). The fire originated in the Price Brothers Company yard on the left shore of the Rimouski River and quickly crossed the river and spread throughout the city pushed by strong winds, destroying half of the city. No one died in the blaze. Legend has it that a priest sprinkled holy water around the city's cathedral and that the fire would not cross the line. The French-Canadian novel Après la nuit rouge by Christiane Frenette references the events of the fire. The novel was translated into English by Sheila Fischman and will be published by Cormorant Books in 2009 under the title, After the Red Night (ISBN 9781897151143).


The city is divided in 10 districts:

In 2002 Rimouski amalgamated with the following communities. (2001 populations)


Rimouski has a rich cultural life. Each year, it hosts a jazz festival (Festi Jazz International de Rimouski) and a film festival for children (Carrousel international du film de Rimouski). One of its main tourist attractions is the Musée de la mer (Museum of the Sea), which is centred on the RMS Empress of Ireland disaster and the Pointe-au-Père lighthouse. The museum commemorates the most fatal shipwreck after the Titanic tragedy in the 20th century.

The city is the host each year of the Book Show of Rimouski, oldest of all the events of the kind in Quebec. It was created in 1964 by a group of impassioned women of literature and who wished to make the literature more accessible to the young public. The Show presents each year more than 125 authors of the area and besides, representing more than 300 Quebecers publishers distributed on some 75 stands. Supported by Canada Heritage, the Canada Council of the Arts, the Society of development of the cultural companies of Quebec and the city of Rimouski, the event attracts more than 8000 visitors each year in November.


Sports are also very popular. Since 1995, the city is home to the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, who were the Memorial Cup champions in 2000 and finalists in 2005. Rimouski was the host of the Jeux du Québec as well, during the winter of 1975 and 2001. Rimouski will be the host city for the Memorial Cup in May 2009.


There is a ferry service which crosses the river to Forestville, Quebec on the north shore. The ferry is called CNM-Evolution and is the fastest in Quebec, crossing the Saint Lawrence River in only 55 minutes. The city can also be reached by train on VIA Rail. There is also a municipal airport (IATA airport code YXK).

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