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Baie-Comeau, Quebec (Canada)

Last modified: 2017-04-08 by rob raeside
Keywords: quebec | baie-comeau |
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[Baie-Comeau] image by Ivan Sache, 25 March 2017

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The municipality

The municipality of Baie-Comeau (21,536 inhabitants in 2016; 33,456 ha) is located on the northern coast of the estuary of the Saint Lawrence River, 400 km north-east of the town of Quebec.

Baie-Comeau was incorporated as a new town on 20 May 1937, achieving a development scheme submitted in January 1923 by Colonel Robert Rutherford McCormick (1880-1955) to the provincial government of Quebec. Robert Rutherford McCormick was appointed in 1911 President of the Board of Directors of The Chicago Tribune. He convinced the shareholders to advance 1 million USD to establish the newspaper's own paper mill. In 1915, he purchased the rights of exploitation on the forests of Rivière aux Rochers, a deserted area he had explored himself. The First World War delayed the organization of the concession; McCormick enrolled in the US Army and earned the rank of Colonel on the French battlefields.

The manager of Baie-des-Cèdres, submitted in 1922 to McCormick a report of his exploration of rivers Manicouagan and Outardes, describing huge forest resources. The Manicouagan project was officially initiated on 30 January 1923. McCormick had to pay an annuity of more than 6,000 USD and had to build, within seven years, a pulp or paper mill on the site. The building of the wharf of Comeau Bay started in 1930, but the whole project was stopped by the economical crisis. McCormick resumed the project in 1934, renegotiating the contract. The new town adopted the name already used since 1929 by the office of the Federal Post, as Comeau Bay. The first paper mill was inaugurated on 15 February 1938; Baie-Comeau was visited in October 1983 by the Board of Directors of the Chicago Herald. - Municipal website - McCormick's obituary, The New York Times, 1 April 1955

Baie-Comeau was named for the naturalist Napoléon-Alexandre Comeau (1846-1923), whose book "La vie et le sport sur la Côte-Nord" (1945), contributed to popularize the area; Comeau is also considered as a local hero since he saved in 1886 a group of people blocked by the ice on the St. Lawrence River. - Commission de toponymie
Ivan Sache, 25 March 2017

Description of the flag

The flag of Baie-Comeau is white with the municipal coat of arms.


The arms of Baie-Comeau were designed in the early 1960s. The anchor placed on the wavy base symbolizes the sea and maritime trade. The middle part of the shield represents the local topography; the patch vert symbolizes the forest resources surrounding the town. The patch gules and purpure highlights the Precambrian origin of the place and the potential underground resources. The thunderbolts symbolize the hydroelectric resources of the region. The star recalls that Baie-Comeau is called to a bright future, which is warranted by the power that fulfils it. [Baie-Comeau is locally
known as "Étoile de la Côte-Nord" (The Star of Northern Coast).] The scroll argent is inscribed with the French motto "De puissance comblée" (Fulfilled by power). - Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 25 March 2017