Like many of the surrounding communities, Gaspé is quite unremarkable except for one thing—the Forillon National Park lies wholly within the city limits, giving it a cachet that few other cities can claim. The fact that French explorer Jacques Cartier landed here on his first voyage across the Atlantic in 1534 has earned the city the title "Birthplace of Canada." By the mid-1700s it was an important cod-fishing center; later it hosted a duty-free port attracting European and American ships. View more
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Explore Gaspé, its surroundings, and magnificent Forillon National Park.
Gaspé, which in the Micmac language means Land's End, is associated with the beginning of western history in North America. Jacques Cartier erected a cross here in 1534 and made it the birth place of Canada. The town covers 380 square miles (975 square kilometres), with 93 miles (150 kilometres) of coastline exposed to the sea. Wherever one is in Gaspé, water - either fresh or salty - is never far away. The deep, coastal indentation is the Bay of Gaspé - a magnificent body of water sheltered by the surrounding mountains. Edged by kilometres of sandy or pebble beaches, the bay becomes the gathering place for swimmers, boaters and water-sports enthusiasts.
Forillon National Park: An invitation to Land's End!
A visit to Forillon National Park is sure to be a unique adventure. The tip of Forillon, which was declared a Canadian national park in order to preserve the wild beauty of its coast, reveals various geological formations and phenomena up to 450 million years old. Its majestic landscapes cover a 94 square miles (244 square kilometre)-area that is carved out of the sea, cliffs and mountains. Here, where the land joins the sea, are born pebble beaches, dizzying cliffs, small coves, rocky capes and fine sand beaches. The presence of ten different rock formations, colonies of seabirds and enigmatic artic-alpine plants give this park its unique character.
It also bears witness to an important cultural and historical heritage. The mark humans have left on the Forillon landscape speaks of how closely their lifestyle was attuned to the natural environment. In fact, Harmony between man, the land and the sea was chosen as the theme that would guide promotional activities in the park precisely because of the significant natural and cultural characteristics inherent to Forillon.
Tournée dans les Parages Hiking Trail
Disembark the coach and take a short walk. The trail called Une tournée dans les parages (A Walk Around the Area) starts near the fishing harbour, at the Grande-Grave heritage site, where the Hyman & Sons store, the warehouse and the Blanchette house reveal an unforgotten past and attests to the way of life of fishing families, and takes you back through fields and woods to a number of old houses and barns. Outdoor exhibits along the way recount the history of Grande-Grave. The bracing sea air and Forillon's magnificent panoramas are sure to make your walk all the more pleasent!
At the conclusion of the day, board a school bus for the short journey back to Gaspé and the ship.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of walking of approximately 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometres) on both flat and gravel surfaces. It is not suitable for guests utilising a wheelchair or with limited mobility. Comfortable, sturdy walking shoes and a light jacket are recommended. Tour operates on a school bus.
Cruise to Percé Rock and around Bonaventure Island sectors to see its gannet colony, the largest in the world and then explore Percé on your own.
Depart the pier for a short transfer by school bus from Gaspé to Percé
Perched atop steep cliffs, Gaspé and Percé are breathtakingly beautiful, and the bus ride that joins the two cities is an unforgettable experience. As the bus winds slowly along the more than 62 miles (100 kilometres) of rugged cliffs and past sweeping bays admire one of the most extraordinary panoramas in Eastern Canada. The Bay of Gaspé, the cliffs of Forillon National Park, the Barachois de Malbaie (sand-bar), the unique precipices along the coast in Percé, and, of course, the legendary Percé Rock offer an unending feast for the eyes.
This fascinating site has attracted visitors since the 1930s, when it became a popular cultural center. Artists were attracted and charmed by the colourful fishermen and the incredible beauty of the site. Over the years Percé has acquired an enviable position within the tourism industry of the province of Québec, being accurately described as the tourism capital of the Gaspésie region. With its magnificent landscapes and diverse activities, Percé lures ecotourism enthusiasts as well as admirers of art and culture.
One of the most popular activities in Percé is the boat tour around the Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, which takes visitors to both sides of the famous Percé Rock and then out to see the thousands of birds nesting on the cliffs of Bonaventure Island. A boat excursion to the rock and around the island is an unforgettable experience. The highpoint of the visit is without doubt the sight of 250,000 birds nesting on the island. The island's colony of 120,000 northern gannets is the most important and accessible in the world.
Percé and its surroundings inspire energy and wonder. Climb to strategic viewpoints and marvel at the surprising panoramas. Those interested in art and culture will be amazed by Percé's vitality and diversity. Here, one may meet local artists and artisans or discover Percé's rich historical and architectural heritage. Percé is an ideal place for shopping. Its many souvenir shops, art galleries, and handicraft boutiques offer a wide variety of local and regional crafts and products, certain to inspire a multitude of gifts ideas.
Parc National De L'ile-Bonaventure-Et-Du-Rocher-Perce
On arrival in Percé, board a boat and cruise out to Bonaventure Island. The Parc national de l'île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé is an enchanting site. Sculpted by time and the sea at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, it makes an extravagant show of its rich historical heritage and amazing geological history. Its remarkable flora and fauna, including its world-renowned northern gannet colony, contribute to the park's reputation as a must-see destination. This rocky bastion, a prolongation of the Appalachian Mountains extending into the waters of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, has, for its fortress, Bonaventure Island and Québec tourist-emblem, Percé Rock, as its majestic vessel of stone.
Bonaventure Island is home to a spectacular congregation of 300,000 sea birds, including razorbills, gulls, murres, and puffins. The island also has 223 species of avian wildlife.
Percé Rock, one of the world's largest and most spectacular natural arches, is proud testiment to Gaspésie's geological heritage. An unshakeable mass of rock and limestone 375 million years old, it measures 433 metres in length, 90 metres wide, and 88 metres at its highest point. Its weight is estimated at 5 million tonnes. The arch itself is 15 metres high. The rock is a nesting place for cormorants, kittiwakes and seagulls.
Sail back to Percé where your school bus awaits for the return transfer to Gaspé.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking for approximately 100 yards (91.44 metres) from the tender dock to the parking are with a flight of stairs. Guests utilising a wheelchair must be able to transfer from the chair to the coach and embark/disembark the boat. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility. Water resistant shoes, waterproof outwear and dressing in layers are recommended. Tour operates in a school bus.
Explore Gaspé, its surroundings, and the magnificent Forillon National Park
In the Micmac language, Gaspé means Land's End. Gaspé is associated with the beginning of western history in North America; the cross that Jacques Cartier erected here in 1534 has made it the birthplace of Canada.
The town is unique, covering 975 square kilometres, with 150 kilometres of coastline exposed to the sea! Wherever one is in Gaspé, water - either fresh or salty - is never far away. The deep, coastal indentation is the Bay of Gaspé - a magnificent body of water sheltered by the surrounding mountains. Edged by kilometres of sandy or pebble beaches, the bay becomes the gathering place for swimmers, boaters and water-sports enthusiasts.
Forillon National Park: An invitation to Land's End!
Depart the pier for a shore ride to Forillon National Park is sure to be a unique adventure. The tip of Forillon, which was declared a Canadian national park in order to preserve the wild beauty of its coast, reveals various geological formations and phenomena up to 450 million years old. Its majestic landscapes cover a 244 square kilometre-area that is carved out of the sea, cliffs and mountains. Here, where the land joins the sea, are born pebble beaches, dizzying cliffs, small coves, rocky capes and fine sand beaches. The presence of ten different rock formations, colonies of seabirds and enigmatic artic-alpine plants give this park its unique character.
The park also bears witness to an important cultural and historical heritage. The mark humans have left on the Forillon landscape speaks of how closely their lifestyle was attuned to the natural environment. In fact, Harmony between man, the land and the sea was chosen as the theme that would guide promotional activities in the park precisely because of the significant natural and cultural characteristics inherent to Forillon.
To the west of the village, you can explore Fort Péninsule, an old lookout and vestige of the Second World War.
A little-known episode of the Second World War took place right in the Bay of Gaspé. At the outbreak of hostilities, the Department of National Defence requisitioned the future site of Fort Peninsula and set up a coastal battery to protect the port from possible enemy attack. Taking advantage of the natural features of the bay, military strategists built a naval base there. Fixed defenses protected entry points. This system included an anti-submarine net, stretched between Sandy Beach and Penouille, and three coastal batteries. On May 1, 1942, the HMCS Fort Ramsay naval base was officially inaugurated. Three months later, over 2000 men were dispatched to the base by three military forces (the Navy, Army, and Air Force). The flotilla sent to Gaspé included 19 warships: 5 minesweepers, 6 Fairmile patrol boats, 7 corvettes and an armed yacht. The Air Force also dispatched a few amphibious planes.
Cap-Bon-Ami Sea Cliffs
Next a short drive to the cliffs, it constitutes the rock walls corresponding to the peak front and are located at the northern side of the Forillon Peninsula. Those escarpments are huge especially near the sea, from the end of the Cap-des-Rosiers plains to Forillon extremity. All of the littoral wall vary in heights and can go to 180 meters at the south-east of Cap-bon-Ami.
Seabirds give the park a definite maritime feel. Each year, the spring migrations bring double-crested cormorant, black guillemot, black-legged kittiwake, gulls and razorbill, all attracted by suitable breeding sites and an abundance of food in the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Gaspé Bay. The sea cliffs of the Cap-bon-Ami area accommodate the park's largest gathering of birds during the breeding period, including thousands of black-legged kittiwake. The observation of typical geological formation at Cap-bon-Ami is also accessible and will help to understand the geographical evolution of the area.
Cap-Des-Rosiers Lighthouse National Historic Site
Located in the northern area of Forillon National Park, this lighthouse, erected in 1858, is one of the tall beacons built by the Canadian Coast Guard in Québec. Canada's tallest lighthouse, it soars 34.1 metres (112 feet) into the air. With white marble walls more than 7 feet (2.1 metres) thick at the base and tapering to 3 feet (0.9 metres) at the top, the tower stands on a foundation rooted 8 feet (2.4 metres) deep in the soil. Its powerful light, perched 136 feet (41.4 metres) above the sea, has guided ships without fail since the lighthouse was built. The site has been developed to enhance this impressive structure, declared a historic monument in 1977. Enjoy qa quick photo stop before continuing onto LeBoutiller Manor.
Board the coach for a quick scenic drive to LeBoutiller Manor. Designated a historic monument and a national historic site of Canada, the manor was constructed around 1850 by John LeBoutillier, a leading cod merchant originally from Jersey (one of the Channel Islands). The lively tour introduces visitors to a facet of the regional heritage of the Gaspé Peninsula; the restored manor is as it was when John LeBoutillier occupied the house (1850-1860).
The tour concludes back at the ship
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility however it is not suitable for guests utilising a wheelchair. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility. Comfortable walking shoes, waterproof outwear and dressing in layers are recommended. Tour may operate in a school bus.