Gros-Mécatina is a vast municipality, located in the Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent Regional County Municipality (Gulf of St. Lawrence), in Côte-Nord Region (North Shore) of Quebec (in the Lower North Shore). It’s located near the border with Labrador.
Constituted on January 1, 1994, Gros-Mecatina is deployed on the 1,388.20 km2 (535.99 sq miles). Its population is of about 500. The community is constituted of two isolated fishing villages of La Tabatière and Mutton Bay., as well as the abandoned settlements of Lac-Salé and Baie-des-Ha!-Ha! (Baie de la Terre). The name of Mecatins is an Innu word that means “mountain”.
The area called Gros Mécatina, includes a river, cape, island, archipelago, and lake.
Gros Mecatina is dependant on the fishing business as it’s located near excellent crab, lobster, and scallop fishing grounds.
There is a fish processing factory that contributes to regional economic activity.
No ground ways link Gros Mecatina to other regions and it can only be reached via a regular weekly ferry service, or La Tabatière Airport. But both villages of Gros Mecatina, that’s Mutton Bay and La Tabatiere, are connected via a 10 kilometres asphalted road that provides some spectacular views of the gulf from the mountains. In the winter the road is not plowed, thus the only way to travel between the villages is via snowmobile.
The Europeans came here in 1535 when Jacques Cartier passed by during his second voyage to Canada. Hovewer, thee place became an important hunting and fishing ground in the first part of the XVIIIth century. Indeed, in 1739, Jean-Baptiste Pommereau acquired the fishing rights of the region for a period of ten years. Later, the Gros-Mécatina fishing post, built near present-day La Tabatière, became one of the most important fishing settlements of the North Shore.
Big Mécatina Island, granted to Intendant Gilles Hocquart of New France in 1755, was a popular location with fishermen. They remained such until at least 1808 when the authorities of Quebec sold Gros-Mécatina. After that, the permanent settlement started.
On January 1, 1994, the territory of Gros Mecatina was separated from the Municipality of Côte-Nord-du-Golfe-Saint-Laurent.