Kegashka, population 138 (as of the 2011 census), is the easternmost point in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec, Canada to be reachable by road without passing through Newfoundland and Labrador. Quebec Route 138 reached the community on September 26, 2013 with the inauguration of a bridge across the Natashquan River.
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|• Federal riding||Manicouagan|
|• Prov. riding||Duplessis|
|• Land||4.10 km2 (1.58 sq mi)|
|• Density||33.7/km2 (87/sq mi)|
|• Change (2006–11)||1.5%|
|Time zone||UTC−04:00 (AST)|
|Area code(s)||418 and 581|
An unconstituted locality (as defined by Statistics Canada in the Canada 2011 Census) within the municipality of Côte-Nord-du-Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, its name is also spelled Kégashka and Kegaska (the latter is preferred by the Commission de toponymie du Québec).
Kegaska village is located about 60 km east of the town of Natashquan and 47 km (in direct line) west of the town of La Romaine. Kegaska is built on a point of land between two bays (Muddy Bay and Kegaska Bay). Located opposite of the village, the Black Isle (Île Noire, in French) is connected to the mainland by a bridge. This island has an old lighthouse used for navigation.
- several small rivers that empty into the Gulf of St. Lawrence: de l'Étang (Pond), Long, Clay, Sam, Kegaska and Belley;
- the "Pointe du Vieux Poste" (Tip of Old post), Cape Tiennot (Mont Joli is in back), Mistanekau beach, Ehkuahiniu rocks, Kegaska Harbour (havre Kegaska, in French), Muddy Cove and Kippin islands.
The east side, between the Kegaska village and the Musquaro River, there is situated (from West to East):
- Kegaska Bay, Mount Hatsheuiat Tshehkahkau, le Havre Mistassini (harbourg), the Pepihtnahu bay and the tip Musquaro (located on the west side of the mouth of the river Musquaro);
- a series of islands up to 4 km away from the mainland: Island Black, Green Tshinahat, Parsons, Kakatshihipinukut, Uhatshistsh, Ketshinukuteuat, Tshiahkuehihat, Menahkunakat and islands kahakaut;
- the area waterfowl gathering of part-Chicoutai Kégaska.
The lake Kegaska (length of 11.7 km) is located 16 km northwest of the town of Kegaska and its mouth is in the south of the lake. It empties into the Kegaska river (20 km long) flowing at first on 7.7 km to the southwest; and 5.3 km to the east; and finally a segment of 7 km to the south, ending in a bay of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, at 7.2 km west of the village of Kegaska.
Kegaska village is the eastern end of an over-1400km segment of route 138 which starts south of Montreal at the Quebec-New York State border. The road reached the village on September 26, 2013 following the inauguration of a bridge across the Natashquan River. It is currently not possible to drive beyond Kegaska by road; the 450km between Kegaska and Vieux-Fort is accessible by a weekly coastal ferry which runs from Rimouski.
Its name derives from the Innu word quegasca, first recorded on Franquelin's map of 1685. This place name is also used to refer to a river, a lake, an island, a haven, a tip, a bay and a canton (township).
In 1831, Kegaska was the site of a Hudson's Bay Company trading post, but the actual settlement was formed in 1852 when Acadian settlers came from the Magdalen Islands. They abandoned the place in 1871-1873 to settle at Betchewun (now Betchouane between Havre-Saint-Pierre and Baie-Johan-Beetz) and were replaced by Newfoundland fishermen, almost all of Irish origin. They in turn left around 1887-1888, leaving the place completely deserted by 1890. Yet in 1898, a few families relocated from Perth, Ontario, whose descendants now populate the area.
At the end of the 19th century, predominantly English-speaking settlers came from the Anticosti Island to settle in Kegaska.
Victor-Alphonse Huard wrote this description in 1897 of the region: At Kégashka begins a long trail of islands, which continues to near the entrance to the Strait of Belle Isle. There are large, but most are only islands that crowd in several rows along the coast and sometimes up to twelve or fifteen miles offshore. Listed on the map this dust accumulated islands to the north coast, it looks like the scum of the Gulf that the fury of the winds from the southwest would have rejected his rivage.
Crab fishing is currently the main economic activity of the community.
In the 2011 Canadian census, only 138 inhabitants were recorded.
- Reference number 142821 of the Commission de toponymie du Québec (in French)
- "(Code 240223) Census Profile". 2011 census. Statistics Canada. 2012.
- "Une nouvelle route pour Kegaska".
- "Le pont de Natashquan inauguré".
- Tourism Lower North Shore: Kegaska
- Published in the book written by Serge Lambert and Eugen Kedl, La Côte-Nord, Les Éditions GID, Sainte-Foy, 1997, p. 95.
- "Schools and centers." Commission scolaire du Littoral. Retrieved on September 23, 2017.