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The Border Route (Route des Frontières), along Route 289, begins at the junction of The Navigator’s Route (Route des Navigateurs) in Saint-André, crosses Saint-Alexandre-de- Kamouraska in the regional county municipality of Kamouraska, passes through the Parke Native Reserve, runs along the border of the State of Maine in Pohénégamook and Rivière-Bleue, crosses Saint-Marc-du-Lac-Long and Saint-Jean-de-la-Lande in the regional county municipality of Témiscouata near the New-Brunswick border to finally pass near the municipal limits of the town of Packington.
This scenic route was named the Route des Frontières because it runs along the borders of Quebec, New-Brunswick and Maine. Along the road, there are many sites to discover and many more to remind us of the political and geographical significance of the area: border crossing points, border markers, an International Bridge as well as the natural border created by the Saint-François River.
Life in this region was always influenced by the reality of living near a border: border crossing territory, migratory flows of populations, constant flux of labourers, commercial trade and the various recreational activities taking place on both sides of the border. Amazing stories about border crossings remain in the collective imagination of the region’s inhabitants: sharing the territory between Canada and the U.S., alcohol contraband during Prohibition or tobacco smuggling in the 80's and 90's.

Traveling on The Border Route is an easy way to discover the magnificent panoramas and natural, historical, cultural and recreational beauty of this agricultural, forest and mining region. Along the way, travellers can enjoy the region’s natural and built heritage for which this region is famous for.

Thanks to interpretative panels along the Border Route (Route des Frontières), it is possible to follow the great historical moments intimately related to the reality of the territory adjacent to the border.

The aboriginal presence during thousands of year at the named place Rivière-des-Caps is what marks the first important part of Saint-André’s history. The Rivière-des-Caps area is where the column that serves as a landmark to the Border Route is erected. A short time after this, as early as in 1703-1704, a few porpoise fishing installations are established. These installations help convince the first settlers to install themselves permanently in the area. It is also very close to this area that the Grand-Portage Path begins. This path connects the Acadian region to Quebec via the Témiscouata Lake and the Saint-Jean River. Saint-André’s parish was established canonically in 1791 and the church built in 1806, a few kilometers further West. It is the oldest church of the Bas-Saint-Laurent region and is considered a structure of historic significance. The church is opened to visitors during the tourist season. Tourists are also invited to discover the municipality’s natural beauty as well as its walking paths, climbing walls, inns and local products.

 

The small river that runs along the column is one of the most important spawning grounds of rainbow smelt, a small fish that is very important in the food chain of the marine mammals of the estuary. For ten years, a watershed committee has been working with determination to conciliate the farming, residential and industrial usages of the territory with the containment of the desired quality of the waters of the river as to ensure the sustainability of this fish population.

Several site inventory, water characterisation, planting and development activities take place every year in order to ensure the best conditions possible for the spawning of smelts in this river.

 

Between 2,500 and 3,000 wayside crosses can be found in rural Québec. These crosses were erected for many reasons. Tom’s Cross commemorates a miraculous event that occurred around 1866.

Tom’s Cross keeps alive the memory of Tom Fox a catholic Scotsman from Madawaska who was a pioneer of the construction of the route connecting Saint-Alexandre to Saint-Éleuthère, one of the sections of today’s Border Route.

While it is a bit difficult to see it from Route, Tom’s Cross still stands in the Parke reserve. Of all the crosses erected in Saint-Alexandre, Tom’s Cross is certainly the most fascinating and the most intriguing.

 

From the 1860s to the end of the 1920s, there was a migratory movement towards the Transcontinental. The Transcontinental region, which crosses the Border Route, attracted people from Kamouraska, Témiscouata, New Brunswick and New England.

At the end of the XIXth century, the land settlement campaign of the lands of the Appalachian plateau brought Tom Fox, Clovis Roy and Ignace Nadeau to come build Saint-Éleuthère. At the beginning of the XXth century, the construction of the Transcontinental Railway brings a second wave of migration into the region.

The village of Saint-Alexandre then became to be a very important economic and service centre for the people living in the new parishes along of what is now the Border Route.

 

The current border between Canada and the United States of America stems from more than two hundred years of negotiations and treaties.

Once the Treaty of Versailles was ratified in 1783, disputes and political dealings became unceasing between the new republic of the United States of America and the British North America. The Aroostook’s zone, a border region of Quebec, Maine and New Brunswick is at the centre of the dispute.

It is only in 1842, with the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, that the actual border is recognized; the border issue between Quebec and Maine is laid to rest in 1908.

 

Bootlegging and the prohibition of alcohol radically spark the collective imagination of the regions’ residents who then lived in the middle of a highly lucrative smuggling network.

The region is ideally suited for bootlegging thanks to its proximity to the US and New Brunswick borders. Therefore, caches and sales point are set up in the villages along the Border Route.

However, the smugglers didn’t always have it easy.

 

Around 1908, the construction of a railway in Rivière-Bleue and Saint-Éleuthère begins. This railway was to link the region to Moncton in New Brunswick and to the west coast of Canada, in British Columbia.

The new railroad line of the National Transcontinental generated a very successful period of development. Thanks to this line, Rivière-Bleue and Saint-Éleuthère broke through their geographical isolation and the parishes of Sully, Estcourt and Saint-Marc-sur-le-Long were born.

To this day, the Transcontinental rail system is a very busy transit line.


 

The Rivière-Bleue train station is the legacy of a dynamic period in the recent history of the Transcontinental region.

By 1914, the train station is already a major hub. But as the popularity of train travel declines during the 50s, railway companies and government authorities gradually neglected the network. And that is the reason why, in the 1970s, the Rivière-Bleue train station ceased its activities.

Since then, the station is preserved thanks to the efforts of volunteer artisans.

 

This small Gospel Baptist Chapel bears witness to a troubled period in the religious history. Around 1907, the Protestant community of Rivière-Bleue takes root quietly despite the protests of the Catholic clergy.

At the beginning of the 1920s, the Gospel Baptist community has approximately 225 followers, among which are French-speaking protestants from New England.

The community builds itself a chapel school which serves as both a place of worship and of learning. Illustrious families allow the establishment of the Gospel Baptist community in Rivière-Bleue.

 

At the beginning of the1900s, thanks to the construction of the railway from the Transcontinental to Saint-Marc-du-Lac Long, a slate deposit is discovered. Some European workers have a good knowledge of slate and see to the exploitation of these resources.

Internationally renowned, the slate extracted from the deposit of Glendyne is characterized by its bluish grey color that is said to be a result of the exceptional geological formations.

 

In 1940, in Saint-Jean-de-la-Lande, Romain Caron built this Québec Town style bridge. This bridge is one of the 70 remaining covered bridge in Quebec built with this kind of beam.

Also called the “red bridge” because of its blood red color, the covered bridge was for a long time considered to be one of the best pieces of work built in a rural area to get over a stream of water.

 
 

 

 
 

The sculptures of the animated tour of the Transcontinental Region highlight the social and economic aspects that forged the identities of the communities of this border region.

Tree of Life

This sculpture illustrates the symbiotic relationship between the maple sugar industry and Saint-Athanase, maple sugar capital of the Témiscouata region.

Tale of a tail

This work illustrates the tail of the mythical monster of the Pohénégamook Lake, affectionately known as Ponik.

Learn more about the Ponik monster

River Drive

This sculpture symbolizes two of the most significant elements in the history and development of Rivière-Bleue: its rivers and sawmills.

Thunderbird

This work erected in Saint-Elzéar revisits the myth of the thunderbird and is symbolized by the legendary falcon.

Bridging the Gap

This sculpture reveals in a glance two of the distinctive historical symbols of Saint-Marc-du-Lac-Long: the old covered bridge and the railway.