It was here that in 1534 Jacques Cartier first set foot on the land of Canada. The word Gaspé in the Mikmak language of the Indians means «the end of the earth.» Located 700 km from Quebec, it is the most remote area of the province. Nevertheless, it is well worth a visit, especially if you have four to five days left and a desire to escape from civilization into the wilderness.
Highway 132 describes a 560-kilometer loop around the Gaspe Peninsula connecting fishing villages on its east coast. Thickly forested river valleys and secluded bays wedge into the broken line of the northern coast, where steep cliffs abut against wide pebble and sand beaches.
In the central part of the peninsula is the Chick Chok mountain range, the highest in eastern Canada; This is the northern tip of the Appalachian Mountains, which begin in the United States, in Alabama.
Although Gaspe was inhabited since the sixteenth century, it was hardly affected by industrial development. Even the roads and trains that appeared here at the end of the 19th century did not disturb his rural serenity, and the academy’s culture remained almost unchanged.
Friendly locals, descendants of French settlers and British loyalists, form a harmonious Anglo-French community. In a region where industry is limited to cod fishing, forestry and tourism, people replenish their income through trade in handicrafts and farm products.
Forillon National Park (Parc National du Canada Forillon) on the outskirts of the peninsula attracts lovers of fishing, diving (wetsuits are required) and hiking. The beauties of local nature cause an unchanging desire to capture them on canvas or at least in photographs.
In the waters of St. Lawrence Bay you can find humpback whales, seals and gray fur seals, and among the animals that live in the park you can find porcupines, red squirrels, deer, moose, bears, foxes and lynxes. It will be interesting to fans of ornithology: in addition to guillemots and skuas, there are 225 species of birds.
In the northwest, at Mount Saint-Pierre (Mont-St-Pierre) near Saint-Ann-de-Mons, colorful July glider competitions are held, the purpose of which is to fly over St. Lawrence Bay.
Residents of the city of Gaspe earn their living mainly by catching cod and herring. There are good opportunities for sailing and windsurfing (again, wetsuits are required). At rue du Monument you will see a granite cross; it is installed on the site of a wooden cross, which Jacques Cartier erected in front of the amazed Iroquois on behalf of the French monarch.
The best hotels are located in the resort town of Perce (Percé), so this is the most crowded place on the peninsula. People come here to practice water sports and admire the cliffs drilled (percé) by sea currents. The most picturesque of them is Perce rock, a 400-ton block of bizarre limestone.
Try to see her at dawn, when the sun turns the stone pink. If time permits, cruise around Bonaventure to see cormorants and puffins.