A Book to Celebrate the History of the Pioneers

Picture: Le Quotidien, Jeannot Levesque

To mark the 85th anniversary of Vaudreuil Works and the 95th anniversary of Port and Railway Services (IPSF), Rio Tinto contributed to historian Dany Côté’s book, La rivière Saguenay: cœur éternel du commerce maritime (the Saguenay River: the eternal heart of maritime trade). In telling the story of the Saguenay River, the author also paints a portrait of past and present pioneers who helped write the history of Rio Tinto, which is intimately linked to the river and vital to the today’s aluminium production value chain in the region.

Mr. Côté goes back in time to tell the story of the long-standing relationship between the Saguenay River and maritime trade, which Rio Tinto instigated. He is passionate about this topic as he explains why Alcan chose to settle in this region, shaping the history of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean in the process:

“There are three key reasons why Alcan decided to move into the region. First, hydroelectricity and the water supply; second, the vast land of plateaus that made building construction possible; and third, the deep-water port, ideal for the transportation of goods.”

For Martin Lavoie, Operations Director at Vaudreuil Works, IPSF and Distribution Jonquière, the Saguenay River tells a part of history and draws special attention to several generations of builders. The writing of this book was therefore very timely in highlighting this rich and meaningful history that resonates through the pioneers of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The preface to the 88-page book is written by Mr. Lavoie in recognition of these generations of workers who have made and continue to make an essential contribution to Rio Tinto. Mr. Lavoie said:

“This year, Rio Tinto’s Port Alfred port and rail facilities are celebrating their 95th anniversary. This port is a cornerstone of a high-value aluminium production chain that is unique to Saguenay­­–Lac-Saint-Jean. This port, which is central to the town and proudly embedded in the community, has been able to stand the test of time by constantly reinventing itself. This is a port that puts safety, respect for the environment, and operational excellence first, powered by the contribution of dedicated, competent, and innovative employees. Today, we can confidently and proudly say that our history is part of our strength and that we are well positioned to produce responsible aluminium, as we look to the future.”

In addition to assisting with the writing of the book by sharing archives, data and photos, Rio Tinto is helping to promote it by offering a copy to each employee of Vaudreuil Works, IPSF and Distribution Jonquière. The book is also available in bookstores.

This project is part of the initiatives to mark the anniversaries of the group’s sites. Earlier this year the organising committee, which is made up of employees from the various sectors, unveiled the new branding of the Roberval-Saguenay locomotives.