Fourteen bilingual guides begin work thanks to Baie-Comeau’s Collaborative Economic Development Venture

Baie-Comeau’s Collaborative Public, Private, and Civil Society Economic Development Venture leveraged the growing number of cruise ship visits and the availability of bilingual talent in the region to, (a) create 14 new bilingual guide jobs in the local economy and (b) collaborate with workforce development service providers to also upskill 3 existing talents. Nineteen cruise ships are confirmed to dock in Baie-Comeau in 2023, with an expected 12,000 visitors, and the 17 Bilingual Guides debuted their services on May 24, 2023.

Creating amazing tourist experiences and telling stories about people, places, and activities in Baie-Comeau provides cruise ship passengers with the encounters, adventures, dreams, and memories they look for. With this in mind, the Collaborative Venture reached out to multiple community partners to help equip the new guides with the skills they need to engage, inform, interest, and entertain their cruise ship visitors. Venture Partners include:

  • The North Shore Community Association (NCSA) – a community organization serving, the English-speaking community of Quebec’s North Shore.
  • Les Croisières Baie-Comeau – responsible for welcoming cruise ships and their passengers and providing for the ships’ logistical needs.
  • Archéo-Mamu Côte-Nord – an organization that works with aboriginals and non-aboriginals alike to protect, understand, and disseminate the North Shore’s First Nations and Euro-Canadians archaeological heritage through an innovative, respectful, and inclusive approach.
  • Espace K Théâtre – a local theatre company specializing in communication, creativity, and storytelling.

On May 9 and 10, 2023, Archéo-Mamu Côte-Nord conducted a comprehensive training curriculum for the guides, which included sessions on the history and archeology of the region. Espace K Théâtre complemented this training with a skills development session related to creative storytelling and audience engagement.

As a result of this training, Walter Bisson, an 86-year-old retired explosives expert turned tour guide stated “I can now speak about arrow heads found in archaeological digs in a more informed and dynamic way. The training helped us to think about and act differently with our clients.”

 “It was also the first time we received presentations from representatives of five local tourist attractions. We now have more compelling local information to share with our visitors.”

Meaningful tourist experiences will prompt cruise ship passengers to promote Baie-Comeau as a vacation destination to their friends, neighbours, and colleagues. In creating such experiences, Baie-Comeau will strengthen the longevity and sustainability of its local cruise ship tourist market. This opportunity was identified and enabled by the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC) and its Collaborative Economic Development and Labour Market Development approach.