Place:Bas-Saint-Laurent, Québec, Canada

TypeAdministrative region
Coordinates48.3°N 68.7°W
Located inQuébec, Canada
See alsoGaspé, Québec, Canadahistorical county from which it was formed
Kamouraska, Québec, Canadahistorical county from which it was formed
Matane, Québec, Canadahistorical county from which it was formed
Matapédia, Québec, Canadahistorical county from which it was formed
Rimouski, Québec, Canadahistorical county from which it was formed
Rivière-du-Loup, Québec, Canadahistorical county from which it was formed
Témiscouata, Québec, Canadahistorical county from which it was formed
Contained Places
Historical county
Kamouraska ( 1982 - )
Matane ( 1982 - )
Matapédia ( 1982 - )
Rivière-du-Loup ( 1982 - )
Rivière-du-Loup ( 1982 - )
Regional county municipality
Kamouraska RCM ( 1982 - )
La Matanie RCM ( 1982 - )
La Matapédia RCM ( 1982 - )
La Mitis RCM ( 1982 - )
Les Basques RCM ( 1981 - )
Rimouski-Neigette RCM ( 1982 - )
Rivière-du-Loup RCM ( 1982 - )
Témiscouata RCM ( 1982 - )
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

The Bas-Saint-Laurent (Lower Saint-Lawrence) region is located along the south shore of the lower Saint Lawrence River in Québec, Canada. The river widens shortly downsteam of Quebec City and further down becomes a bay or estuary which discharges itself in the Atlantic. This part of the Saint Lawrence is often nicknamed "Bas-du-Fleuve" (Lower-River). The region is formed by 8 regional county municipalities and 114 municipalities.

It has a a land area of 8,584.63 sq mi (22,234.10 km2) and had a population of 199,977 in the 2001 census. For a map of the regions of Quebec, see the article in Wikipedia.

The region is bounded by the Saint Lawrence River to the northwest, and inland by the Notre Dame Mountains section of the Appalachians, as well as the Matapédia and Témiscouata valleys, which form the natural communication corridors with the Gaspé Peninsula, Maine, and the Maritime provinces of Canada.

Bas-Saint-Laurent region was formed from the historicial counties of Gaspé, Kamouraska, Matane County, Matapédia County, Rimouski County, Rivière-du-Loup County, and Témiscouata.



Regional County Municipalities (RCM)

Indian Reserves

  • Cacouna (not to be confused with Cacouna the city)
  • Whitworth

Inside the RCMs are important cities including:

Other communities

Research Tips

French names for places

Because French is the one official language of Québec, WeRelate employs the French names for places within the province. Many placenames will be similar to their counterparts in English, with the addition of accents and hyphens between the words. The words "Saint" and "Sainte" should be spelled out in full. Placenames should be made up of four parts: the community (or parish, or township, or canton), the historic county, Québec, Canada. You may find placenames red-linked unless you follow these conventions.

Local government structure

The Province of Québec was made up of counties and territories. Counties in Québec were established gradually as the land was settled by Europeans. Each county included communities with some form of local governement (often church-based). Territories referred to the undeveloped sections under the control of the government in charge of the whole province at the time. The communities included townships and/or cantons, depending on the English/French makeup of the county concerned, and also included ecclesiastical parishes with somewhat different boundaries which could overlap with local townships or cantons. Ecclesiastical parish registers have been retained and are available to view (online through Ancestry). Since the 1980s many small townships and parishes are merging into larger "municipalities", often with the same name as one of their components.

Beginning in 1979 the historic counties of Québec were replaced by administrative regions and regional county municipalities (abbreviated as RCM in English and MRC in French). Regional county municipalities are a supra-local type of regional municipality, and act as the local municipality in unorganized territories within their borders. (An unorganized area or unorganized territory is any geographic region in Canada that does not form part of a municipality or Indian reserve. There is a list in Wikipedia.) There are also 18 equivalent territories (TEs) which are not considered to be RCMs. These are mostly large cities with their suburbs, but include 4 very large geographical areas where the population is sparse.

The administrative regions (above the RCMs in the hierarchy) are illustrated on a map in Wikipedia. The regions are used to organize the delivery of provincial government services and there are conferences of elected officers in each region. The regions existed before the change from historic counties to regional county municipalities.

The above description is based on various articles in Wikipedia including one titled Types of municipalities in Quebec

NOTE: WeRelate refers to Québec communities as being within their historic counties because this is the description which will be found in historical documents. FamilySearch and Quebec GenWeb follow the same procedure. However, it is always wise to know the current RCM as well in order to track these documents down in local repositories and also to describe events which have taken place since 1980.

Because the former or historic counties and the modern regional county municipalities can have the same names but may cover a slightly different geographical area, the placenames for Regional County Municipalities or "Territories Equivalent to regional county municipalities" are distinguished by including the abbreviation "RCM" or "TE" following the name.

Historic counties (which were taken out of use in about 1982) were made up of townships or cantons. The two words are equivalent in English and French. Eventually all the Québec cantons in WeRelate will be described as townships. Many townships disappeared before 1980 with the growth of urbanization.

If the word parish is used, this is the local ecclesiastical parish of the Roman Catholic Church. Parish boundaries and township or canton boundaries were not always the same.

The WeRelate standard form for expressing a place in Québec is township/canton/parish, historic county, Québec, Canada,
or local municipality, administrative region, Québec, Canada for places established after the changes of the 1980s.

Other Sources

  • FamilySearch Wiki Information for the province and for indivdiual counties, and places within counties.
  • The Drouin Collection: explaining its history and purpose in a FamilySearch Wiki article
  • The Drouin Collection provided by and (pay websites).
  • Genealogy Quebec in French, the website of the Drouin Institute. (also a pay website) with more databases than are on Ancestry.
  • Quebec GenWeb (English version--for the most part)
  • The Quebec Familiy History Society is the largest English-language genealogical society in Quebec. Most of their services are members only, but their Bulletin Board has useful tips for everyone. These may change from time to time.
  • The CanGenealogy page for Quebec. An overview of available online sources with links written by Canadian genealogist Dave Obee.
  • La Mémoire du Québec online. Édition 2017. "Le dictionnaire des noms propres du Québec." In other words, an up-to-date gazetteer of places in Québec organized as a wiki. Each entry is a timeline.
  • Eastern Townships of Quebec Connector. A blogpost with links to many websites dealing with Quebec genealogy, particularly for those who don't speak French well. All parts of Quebec are mentioned.
  • Google "translate French to English" for those words and phrases you can't quite remember from schooldays.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Bas-Saint-Laurent. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.