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The Americas & Caribbean

About Saguenay

Founded as a French colonial trading post and bolstered by the fur trade, Saguenay is one of southern Quebec’s most cosmopolitan cities, today combining three boroughs that were once cities in their own right. But beyond its northern borders, the vast wilderness of Quebec, Canada’s largest province, stretches for hundreds of miles, endless swaths of fir trees, mountains, lakes and rivers that harbor one of North America’s densest concentrations of wildlife. Except for some Inuit and Cree villages, there are no towns due north between Saguenay and the Arctic. Like so many Canadian cities founded amid woodland, Saguenay grew its pulp and paper trade as the late 19th century saw the arrival of the Canadian National Railway. Since then, the town has recovered from a great fire, a landslide and a flood. The latter inspired construction of the riverside Pyramide des Ha! Ha!, named for the French term that refers to an unforeseen obstacle. The whimsical structure offers scenic views of the Saguenay River from an observation deck and is overlaid with 3,000 triangular “yield” traffic signs. Today, Saguenay still embraces its French heritage with prolific wine and cheese production.