Set on the rugged, windswept shores of the Saint Lawrence River in the south of Quebec lies the province of Gaspé. Like much of the surrounding region, Gaspé offers outstanding scenery, hundreds of colonies of Northern Ganets and colourful cottages perched upon rocky outposts. But, aside from the exquisite natural beauty that is commonplace in the region, Gaspé is much like its neighbours. It’s claim to fame is that it is named “the birthplace of Canada” as French explorer Jacques Cartier landed here on his voyage across the Atlantic in 1534.
However, it is the four national parks that are found within the Gaspé peninsula that sets it apart from the crowd. The parks, including Bonaventure-Island-and-Percé-Rock and Forillon National Park (the latter of which is found entirely within Gaspé’s borders) preserve the wild beauty of its coast, and features various geological formations and phenomena dating up to 450 million years old. Carved out of the sea, cliffs and mountains, the miles of majestic landscapes are like no other place on earth. Anyone lucky enough to visit during fall will rejoice at the spectrum of colour.
The famous pierced rock at Percé is another bucket list sight that should not be missed. As one of the world’s largest and most spectacular natural arches (approximate age 375 million years old), the pierced rock is one of the icons of Canadian tourism. An added attraction, particularly if you are a birder, is that the rock is a nesting place for cormorants, kittiwakes and seagulls.