Named in honour of Bishop Lionel Scheffer who served in Labrador for 40 years.
Schefferville was established by the Iron Ore Company of Canada in 1954 to access the rich iron ore deposits in the area. At the time of the town's founding, Innu from Maliotenam as well as Naskapi from Fort Chimo were resettled in Schefferville to assist with geological exploration work and railway construction, bringing the population to about 5,000.
After a decline in the global price of ore, most of the 4,000 or so non-aboriginal occupants abandoned the town, leaving behind the extensive housing units constructed during the boom. Thus, in 1968, parts of the town became a reserve known as Matimekosh and most of the Naskapi and Innu moved to the new site.
Fortunately, after 20 years of near total disuse, rising prices reversed the trend in the late summer of 2010. As a result of increased global demand for iron and steel, Canadian and overseas investors have announced billions of dollars in investments for the extraction and processing of ore-derived products over at least the next 20 years. Mining operations have officially been re-establishing in the area, with more to follow; some will set up in nearby Labrador, 30 km to the west. In fact, the entire region is seeing unprecedented growth. And for the first time ever, native interests, such as the Naskapi and Innu, have become partners in certain ventures presently underway.
The rebirth of the Schefferville mining region is thus expected to boost the prosperity and well-being of the people of northern Quebec well into the foreseeable future.
Depending on the time of year, you will find blueberries to pick, caribou to hunt and majestic waterways to explore by canoe. There are many local artists and craftspeople, as well as guided tours by entrepreneurs who offer adventure tourism opportunities such as snowmobile trips and caribou hunts.
Photo credit : Will Harren