Discovering the Beauty of Gaspé, Quebec: A Travel Guide

Gaspé, located at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in the Gaspésie —Îles-de-la-Madeleine region of eastern Quebec, Canada, has a rich history and natural beauty. As of the 2021 Canadian Census, the city had a population of 15,063. It is known for its significant landmarks and attractions.


Gaspé is approximately 650 km northeast of Quebec City and 350 km east of Rimouski. The city is accessible by automobile, bus service, and the Michel-Pouliot Gaspé Airport. 


Additionally, Quebec Route 198 provides access through the peninsula's interior, and snowmobile trails are available in winter. The city's Port of Gaspé, with a two-sided wharf, is accessible year-round.


Gaspé, designated as a historical monument, is home to the tallest lighthouse in Canada, Cap-des-Rosiers, and serves as the gateway to Forillon National Park. 


The city's name, derived from the Mi'gmaq language meaning "land's end," reflects its historical significance as the place where Jacques Cartier erected a cross in 1534, earning Gaspé the title of the "Birthplace of Canada."


Gaspé boasts internationally renowned salmon rivers like the York, Dartmouth, and Saint-Jean, attracting over 1500 anglers annually. 


The city offers a variety of activities for visitors, including swimming, boating, and outdoor adventures. Notable areas like L'Anse-à-Valleau, Rivière-au-Renard, and L'Anse-au-Griffon provide unique experiences showcasing the region's maritime heritage and natural beauty.


Gaspé is twinned with Puerto Montt, Chile, and Saint-Malo, France, fostering cultural exchanges. The city's diverse culture, influenced by Irish, Anglo-Jerseyan, Acadian, French, and Mi’kmaq roots, offers a vibrant atmosphere for visitors. 


Whale-watching excursions, festivals, restaurants, and a rich nightlife contribute to Gaspé's appeal as an outdoor paradise.


History of Gaspé, Quebec, Canada

Gaspé, Quebec, Canada, has a rich history dating back to the 16th century when Jacques Cartier arrived in 1534 and erected a cross, claiming the land for France and earning Gaspé the title of "Birthplace of Canada." 


The area was originally inhabited by Iroquoian-speaking natives, who were later joined by Micmac people, who were Christianized by French missionaries in the 17th century.


Only a few fishermen settled in Gaspé permanently during the French period. When the British arrived under James Wolfe in 1758, they destroyed homes and possessions, sending most residents back to France. 


Still, some managed to hide in the woods and continue living in Gaspé after it became British territory in 1763.


Gaspé was later joined by Acadian families who had avoided deportation from Nova Scotia and 400 English-speaking Loyalist refugees from the American Revolution in 1784. The population grew steadily through natural means, though few immigrants arrived after that.


For a long time, the people of Gaspé depended on the fishing industry. It wasn't until the 20th century that the interior's forest and mineral resources were seriously exploited. 


A railway connection began construction in the 1890s. In recent years, tourism has become an important source of employment, especially after the collapse of the cod fishery in the early 1990s.


Today, Gaspé is known for its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and rich culture, which reflects its Irish, Anglo-Jerseyan, Acadian, French, and Mi'kmaq roots. The city was designated a historic monument in 1977 and is home to the tallest lighthouse in Canada, Cap-des-Rosiers.


Geography of Gaspé, Quebec, Canada

The city of Gaspé is located at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine region of eastern Quebec, Canada. Gaspé is situated about 650 km northeast of Quebec City and 350 km east of Rimouski. 


The city's territory includes various communities such as Cap-aux-Os, Cap-des-Rosiers, Douglastown, and more. It covers a total area of 1,440 km² and borders the sea and the St. Lawrence River for approximately 130 km.


Gaspé is accessible by automobile, bus service, and the Michel-Pouliot Gaspé Airport. The city is also reachable via Quebec Route 198, which passes through the peninsula's interior, and snowmobile trails that connect with other towns in the region. 


The Port of Gaspé, with a two-sided wharf, is accessible year-round, facilitating transportation and trade in the area.


The Gaspé Peninsula region, where Gaspé is located, is known for its stunning natural beauty, including tiny fishing villages, lighthouses, and the majestic Chic-Choc Mountains. 


The area offers a variety of outdoor activities and is a popular warm-weather destination, with the peak season in July and August. 


The region's diverse culture, influenced by French-Canadian, Acadian, and other roots, adds to its charm, making it a unique and welcoming destination for visitors.


Demographics of Gaspé, Quebec, Canada

According to the 2021 Canadian Census, the city of Gaspé has a population of 15,063. The population density is 13 people per square kilometre.


The median age in Gaspé is 51.1, significantly higher than the Quebec provincial median of 42.6. The male-to-female ratio is 1:1.


Regarding marital status, 48% of the population is married, slightly lower than the provincial average of 50%. The city has a participation rate of 58.1% and an employment rate of 52.7% in the labour force.


The most common language in Gaspé is French, with 86.6% of the population reporting it as their mother tongue. English is spoken by 6.9% as a first language. 


The city has an official language minority population of 8.3%, with English being the minority official language.


Gaspé has a diverse cultural makeup, with influences from French-Canadian, Acadian, Irish, Anglo-Jerseyan, and Mi'kmaq roots. The city is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and rich history dating back to Jacques Cartier's arrival in 1534.


Economy of Gaspé, Quebec, Canada

The economy of Gaspé, Quebec, Canada, is driven by several key industries:



The fisheries sector is a major economic driver in the Gaspé region. Rivière-au-Renard is known as Quebec's fishing capital. Les Pêcheries Marinard, located in Rivière-au-Renard, is a leading Canadian processor of northern shrimp, producing between 13 and 15 million pounds per season and employing over 250 people. Other fishing companies in the area include Les Pêcheries Gaspésiennes and La Crevette du Nord Atlantique.


Wind Power

The wind industry plays an important role in Gaspé's economy. Several companies have set up operations in the city, creating hundreds of jobs and making Gaspé the main wind hub in eastern Canada. 


LM Wind Power—Gaspé, a subsidiary of GE Renewable Energy, is the world's largest wind turbine blade manufacturer with over 475 employees. Other wind companies include Groupe Ohméga and Kuma brake pads.



As a well-known tourist destination, Gaspé offers a wide range of attractions and activities. Forillon National Park is a major draw, offering experiences in sea, cliffs and forest. 


Many outdoor and adventure companies are based in Gaspé, employing guides for water sports, whale cruises, etc. The city has numerous restaurants, bars, boutiques, and other tourism-related businesses.


Maritime Industry

As a coastal city, Gaspé is home to several companies specializing in the maritime sector. These include three shipyards—Chantier Naval Forillon, Entreprises Maritimes Bouchard, and Soudure Gilles Aspirault—that build and repair fishing boats and other vessels.


While historically focused on fishing, agriculture and forestry, the Gaspé Peninsula's economy has shifted more towards tourism and services in recent years due to challenges in primary resource industries. 


However, fishing, wind power, and maritime industries remain important economic drivers for Gaspé.


Education in Gaspé, Quebec, Canada

Gaspé, Quebec, is home to several educational institutions that serve the local community and attract students from across the region and beyond:


Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles

The Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles is a public post-secondary institution with multiple campuses, including one in Gaspé. Established in 1968, it offers French and English general and vocational education programs. 


The Gaspé campus has around 600 students, 10% of whom are international. It features facilities like a sports center, library, student residence, and technical labs.


Gaspe Elementary School

Gaspe Elementary School is a vibrant English-language elementary school in the city's heart. It provides a safe and engaging learning environment focused on academic, social and emotional development. 


The school emphasizes early intervention, French language instruction, and extracurricular opportunities in sports, arts, science and more.


University Presence

The Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) has been present in Gaspé since 1974, offering part-time university programs. The Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles also collaborates with UQAR to provide adult education in the region.


Gaspé offers a range of educational options, from elementary to post-secondary, in both English and French, serving the local population and attracting students from elsewhere in Quebec and internationally to the Cégep campus. The city's educational institutions play a key role in the region's development.


Transport System of Gaspé, Quebec, Canada

The transport system of Gaspé, Quebec, Canada, is primarily accessible by automobile, bus service, and air travel:

  • Automobile: Gaspé is accessible via Quebec Route 132 and Quebec Route 198, which passes through the peninsula's interior. The town is well-connected by roadways, allowing for convenient regional travel.
  • Bus Service: Orléans Express provides bus service to Gaspé, connecting the city with major cities like Montreal and Quebec City. The bus service offers a convenient and affordable transportation option for residents and visitors alike.
  • Air Travel: The Michel-Pouliot Gaspé Airport is a key transportation hub for the city, offering domestic flights to and from other parts of Quebec and Canada. The airport provides essential air connectivity for travellers to and from Gaspé.
  • Rail Service: In 2013, Via Rail's Montreal–Gaspé train service was terminated due to unsafe trackage. However, efforts have been made to repair and reinstate rail service to Gaspé. According to recent reports, there is no clear timeline for the return of passenger rail service to the city.


The transport system in Gaspé includes a mix of road, air, and bus services, providing residents and visitors with various options for travelling to and from the city and within the region.


Living in Gaspé, Quebec, Canada

Living in Gaspé, Quebec, Canada, offers a unique experience in a city rich in history, natural beauty, and cultural diversity. With a population of 15,063 as of the 2021 Canadian Census, Gaspé provides residents with a tranquil and picturesque setting. 


The city's location at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine region of eastern Quebec offers a blend of coastal charm and outdoor adventure opportunities.


Infrastructure and Transportation

  • Gaspé is accessible by automobile, bus service, and the Michel-Pouliot Gaspé Airport, providing convenient travel options for residents and visitors.
  • The city is well-connected by roadways, including Quebec Route 132 and Quebec Route 198, facilitating easy travel within the region.


Quality of Life

  • Gaspé offers a peaceful and scenic environment, with attractions like Forillon National Park, which is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
  • The city's diverse cultural influences, including French-Canadian, Acadian, Irish, Anglo-Jerseyan, and Mi'kmaq roots, contribute to a vibrant and welcoming community.


Living in Gaspé balances a serene coastal lifestyle, economic opportunities in industries like fishing and wind power, and a strong sense of community enriched by its historical significance and natural surroundings.


Healthcare in Gaspé, Quebec, Canada

The healthcare system in Gaspé, Quebec, Canada, includes access to primary care services through the Primary Care Access Point (GAP – Guichet d’accès à la première ligne). 


This service is designed to help residents find the health services that best meet their needs, especially for those who do not have a family doctor or specialized nurse practitioner in primary care (SNPPC).


Primary Care Access Point Services:

  1. Digital Primary Care Access Point: This online service provides tailored recommendations to users based on their needs and offers options for obtaining health services. It can refer individuals to pharmacists, support programs, or home care services. If a clinical assessment or consultation is needed and the user lacks a family doctor or SNPPC, they can request a callback from an agent through this digital platform.
  2. Primary Care Access Point Telephone Line (811, option 3): Reserved for individuals without a family doctor or SNPPC, this telephone service assists those waiting to be assigned a family doctor or SNPPC or under the care of a group of doctors to help them access medical consultations or health services. It is specifically for patients without a family doctor or SNPPC, ensuring they receive the necessary care and support.


Appointment Cancellation:

  • To cancel a medical appointment through the Primary Care Access Point, individuals can access the Quebec Medical Appointment Scheduler website and follow the instructions provided.


The Primary Care Access Point in Gaspé is crucial in ensuring residents have access to essential healthcare services, especially those without established primary care providers.


Tourist places in Gaspé, Quebec, Canada

Here are some popular tourist places in Gaspé, Quebec, Canada:

  1. Forillon National Park: A stunningly beautiful park on the Gaspé Peninsula's northeastern tip, offering a mix of mountains and ocean views.
  2. Pointe-à-la-Renommée Lighthouse: A historic lighthouse with a picturesque setting overlooking the sea, attracting visitors for its scenic views.
  3. Gaspesie Museum: This museum celebrates the region's history, land, and people with modern, immersive exhibits and programs.
  4. Site d'Interprétation Micmac de Gespeg: A center explaining the culture and history of the local Mi'kmaq group through exhibitions and tours.
  5. Cap-des-Rosiers Lighthouse: The tallest lighthouse in Canada, offering historical significance and panoramic views of the surroundings.


These attractions showcase the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance of Gaspé, making it a captivating destination for tourists seeking a mix of outdoor adventures and cultural experiences.


Local Food of Gaspé, Quebec, Canada

The local food of Gaspé, Quebec, Canada, offers a delightful culinary experience with a mix of traditional dishes and regional specialties. Some of the notable local foods in Gaspé include:

  1. Shrimp Roll (Guédille): A delicious shrimp roll made with northern shrimp, a pride of Matane and Anse-au-Griffon, is a popular local dish in several restaurants and snack bars throughout Gaspé.
  2. Fish Soup: Fish soup is a traditional comfort food in Gaspé, with variations like bourride, fish stew, seafood chowder, and bouillabaisse, offering a delightful taste of the region's culinary heritage.
  3. Algae from Gaspésie: Edible seaweed harvested along the shoreline or by diving in Gaspé is transformed into various products like sea relish, spices, seaweed pesto, and even seaweed-flavored chocolate, offering a unique and adventurous culinary experience.
  4. Lobster and Crab: Lobster and crab, star gourmet products of Gaspé, are integral to the local way of life. These seafood delicacies are celebrated during occasions like Easter and Mother's Day. They can be enjoyed whole, in salads, or in the region's club sandwiches at restaurants and fish markets.


These local foods reflect the rich maritime heritage and culinary diversity of Gaspé, making it a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts looking to savour unique and delicious dishes.


You can also check the information regarding Dorval, Quebec

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