Saint-Fidèle (Secteur de La Malbaie)
The earliest settlers arrived in Saint-Fidèle in the whereabouts of 1834. Built between 1872 and 1883, its precious fieldstone church – easily distinguished from the roadside – lends the locale an undisputed charm.
A quaint coastal village, Saint-Fidèle is known as the portal to the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park. The Saint-Fidèle Welcome & Information Centre is there for visitors to acquaint themselves with the very first marine park of its kind in Québec.
Covering an area of approximately 1,245 km2, the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park has several objectives, of which the conservation of the particularly complex St. Lawrence estuary and Saguenay Fjord ecosystems, and the observation of the whales drawn to its feeding grounds. Even downriver, it is not unusual to see fin whales here in Saint-Fidèle, as well as belugas.
Across the way, two steps from the Marine Park Welcome Centre, la Fromagerie St-Fidèle is a must for anyone who wishes to sample delicious cheddar and Swiss cheeses prepared at this fromagerie that boasts over 100 years of savoir-faire. Renowned among locals and tourists alike, la Fromagerie Saint-Fidèle has been in existence since 1902 and over time, has crafted a solid reputation for itself for the quality of its cheeses. Terroir products are also available on the premises, at the cheemaking facility.
A prime nature interpretation site, Saint-Fidèle is also home to le Centre écologique de Port-au-Saumon (CEPAS), located in a splendid natural amphitheatre dominating the St. Lawrence. Covering a 97-hectare area, since 1989 le Centre écologique de Port-au-Saumon has enjoyed UNESCO status as the nucleus of the Charlevoix World Biosphere Reserve.
Saint-Fidèle’s Centre écologique de Port-au-Saumon also proposes youth summer camps where the focus is turned towards marine and land ecology. Its emblem is an orchid – the Calypso or Fairy/Venus Slipper. Thanks to a team of expert educators, le Centre écologique allows young people to broaden their horizons, and explore the universe from the "starfish to the Northern Star".
A full range of equipment helps visitors better understand this awesome marine kingdom. At the ever popular salt-water marinarium, guests are invited to observe starfish, sea anemones and crabs native to the middle estuary before they are released back into their habitat. Astronomy camps are also held for the young and young at heart, offering interested parties an opportunity to understand and appreciate the countless splendours of the Charlevoix skies.