Everyone knows that the Charlevoix Region owes its unique geography to a meteorite that helped shape not only the land but its agriculture and cuisine. The impact created the forty-mile-wide crater that is the heart of Quebec’s Charlevoix region, ranging from just west of Baie-Saint-Paul to just east of La Malbaie.
It was a fifteen-billion-ton, two-kilometre-wide meteorite that fell to earth along the north shore of the St. Lawrence in the late Devonian period about 350 million years ago.
Today, the area inside the meteorite crater is home to 90 percent of Charlevoix residents and is a very pastoral setting. Many small farms and villages dot the gently rolling hill, and most of them are laid out in their original fashion, with long, narrow strips of land running from the coast up the hill to a stand of trees. This eighteenth-century artifice allows each farmer to own waterfront, arable land, and woodland in one plot and results in a quaint and unique pattern on the countryside.
Charlevoix is one of the smaller regions which extends from the Quebec City Region, in the west, to Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, in the north, and Manicouagan, on the east.
Some of the most famous Charlevoix attractions are located outside the crater. For example, the ski resort Le Massif, part of the High Laurentians, where downhill skiers enjoy some of the steepest slopes in North America.
Nevertheless, meteorite is not the only event to have shaped this landscape. In fact Charlevoix is the most active earthquake zone in eastern Canada. A gigantic earthquake occurred here in 1663, and it event changed the shape of the region. The landslide that followed caused part of the coast to be swept into the St. Lawrence.