In 1608, Samuel de Champlain visited the area. He could not find suitable anchorage for his ship in the bay and therefore named it Malle Baye (archaic French for "bad bay"), a name further justified when during low tide the bay dried up and his ships ran aground.
La Malbaie is located in the Charlevoix Seismic Zone, which is the most active seismic zone in Eastern Canada. La Malbaie is notable for having an extremely high seismic risk, although a significant earthquake has not occurred in the region recently
Charlevoix is a cultural and natural region located in Quebec, on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River as well as in the Laurentian Mountains area of the Canadian Shield. This dramatic landscape includes rolling terrain, fjords, headlands and bays; the region was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1989.
The topography of this region was dramatically altered by a meteorite impact that occurred 350 million years ago creating the Charlevoix crater.
The impact created the forty-mile-wide crater that is the heart of Quebec's Charlevoix region, ranging from just west of Baie-Saint-Paul to just east of La Malbaie. Today, the area inside the crater is home to 90 percent of Charlevoix residents and is a very pastoral setting by comparison to what it could have been.
The region was named after Pierre François-Xavier de Charlevoix, a French Jesuit explorer and historian who travelled through the area in the 18th century.
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