The Québec maritime Blog

6 Activities for Culture and Discovery Lovers
  • La Grave heritage site, Îles de la Madeleine
    Mathieu Dupuis

6 Activities for Culture and Discovery Lovers

Offering a wide variety of attractions, the maritime regions of Québec are also home to many different cultures living side by side and shaped by the St. Lawrence. Discover six activities focused on culture and discoveries in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Côte-Nord and the Îles de la Madeleine.

Pointe-au-Père Maritime Historic Site

This museum complex showcasing the St. Lawrence is located just east of downtown Rimouski in the Pointe-au-Père district and includes the second tallest lighthouse in Canada, the Empress of Ireland Museum and the Onondaga submarine. This is a unique site not to be missed in Bas-Saint-Laurent! After climbing the 128 steps to the top of the lighthouse, you can admire the tower’s light system along with one of the most beautiful panoramic views in the area: an incredible 360° view of the St. Lawrence and Saint-Barnabé Island. You can also relive the tragic sinking of the Empress of Ireland ocean liner, Canada’s worst maritime disaster, which occurred off the coast of Sainte-Luce in 1914. Start by visiting the exhibition room in the Empress of Ireland Museum where you’ll find many artefacts that have been recovered from the wreck over the years. Next, an immersive multimedia show will plunge you into the last hours of the liner before it sank to the bottom of the sea.

What not to miss: Board the Onondaga submarine, the first to be open to the public in Canada. Follow the audio-guided tour to discover life aboard this vessel. Outside the submarine, an interactive tour will explain how the boat’s systems worked to carry out its missions.

“Concerts aux Îles du Bic” Chamber Music Festival

Every summer since 2002, the magnificent Bic Islands have been the setting of this chamber music festival. Come and enjoy an unforgettable experience combining culture and nature in a beautiful landscape. This festival offers unique concerts featuring professional and emerging musicians, often playing together for the first time. The only chamber music festival in Eastern Québec, this event has won numerous prizes, including seven Opus awards. The main mission of the festival is to promote this style of music that has survived the ages by offering high-calibre concerts and quality programming. Let yourself be lulled by the notes of string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments as you listen to a classical repertoire that will delight your ears.

What not to miss: In 2022, a series of special events will take place in six parks from Cacouna to Sainte-Flavie to showcase the local forestry sector during musical walks through the woods.

Parc national de Miguasha

Step back in time in this national park located along Chaleur Bay in Gaspésie. Discover the history of life and of the planet at this site that witnessed the evolution of several species from the sea to the land some 380 million years ago. The Miguasha fossil cliff, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is an ideal place to plunge into the world of fossils. Come and discover various fish, invertebrate and plant fossils through dynamic activities in the park. Watch a puppet show or participate in a fossil hunt, a unique activity that will delight visitors of all ages. You can also explore the park’s hiking trails, which offer amazing views of the estuary of the Restigouche River, and read interpretive panels that recount the evolution of life on Earth.

What not to miss: Visit the Elpistostege: The Origins of a Quest exhibition to see the only complete specimen of Elpistostege watsoni ever found in the world! This fish fossil is of paramount importance in evolutionary biology: find out why your own origins lie in the waters off Miguasha!

La Grave heritage site

During a trip to the Îles de la Madeleine, come and visit the Islands’ only heritage site. Throughout the years, La Grave has maintained its authentic charm and traditional architecture. A witness to the settlement of the Islands, this cradle of fishing now offers a multitude of attractions, cafés and restaurants along a pebble beach. The site has retained its role as a gathering place while evolving with the times. The fishermen of yesteryear have been replaced by local artists and artisans, who will be delighted to share their passion with you as you browse galleries and boutiques and soak up the architectural beauty of these old wooden buildings.

What not to miss: Discover the history of this heritage site via an audio-guided tour featuring 16 audio stations.

Atelier Côtier

Atelier Côtier is another site you can visit to discover the works of local artists and artisans. The owner, Pauline-Gervaise Grégoire, has brilliantly transformed this business founded by her parents into something that reflects her own passions. It’s a real pleasure to discover all the creativity behind the works of art on display in the boutique. In the workshop, a thousand and one ideas are turned into amazing handcrafted objects by artists who are inspired by just about everything, from everyday objects to the surrounding landscapes. No matter what materials they use (sand, concrete, wood, resin, etc.), they create a host of items you’ll want to take home with you! Discover a unique site where even the most unusual materials are transformed into beautiful objects.

What not to miss: The indoor sandbox as well as informative activities explaining various creative processes will delight visitors of all ages in a friendly atmosphere.

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve

The Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve is one of the best-known attractions in Côte-Nord. Hikers will be delighted to discover the unusually shaped limestone monoliths in this park reserve—however, the true stars of this site are the Atlantic puffins on Île aux Perroquets! Take advantage of your visit to the archipelago to see the Living on Île aux Perroquets exhibition where you’ll learn about the evolution and modernization of the light station and the methods of communication used here since 1888. The exhibition also showcases the way of life of the families and writers who have lived on this island. Period photos as well as household and religious objects will help you relive this bygone era.

What not to miss: Be sure to visit Île Nue de Mingan to discover the island’s fascinating barrens in a truly unique landscape. While you’re there, you can also admire natural sculptures, unique plants and a multitude of shorebirds while discovering a history marked by the presence of the Innu, the Paspayas (as the residents of Paspébiac are called) and the Basques over the centuries.

Come and discover our regions, which are so rich in culture and discoveries. A visit to Eastern Québec is sure to leave an indelible impression on you!

Author Ulrich Josserand

Originally from the French Alps, Ulrich Josserand is a nature lover and a big fan of outdoor expeditions. Passionate about the great outdoors, he’s proud to have chosen Eastern Québec as his new home. In fact, he’s constantly wowed by the regions of Gaspésie and Bas-Saint-Laurent, where he has lived in recent years. When he’s not seeking adventure in our magnificent mountains and forests or road-tripping along the St. Lawrence, you can find him writing or playing music while dreaming of his next expedition.

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