The Paspébiac National Historic Site will introduce you to 250 years of fishing history in Gaspésie. The site features 11 period buildings, including the largest wooden structure in North America. Through guides in period costume and exhibitions, learn more about the two largest Jersey fishing companies of the 18th and 19th centuries, Charles Robin & Company and Le Boutillier Brothers. You can also watch traditional shipbuilding, net-mending, blacksmithing and barrel-making demonstrations.
Drive east to the Bourg de Pabos interpretation centre where a permanent exhibition recreates the daily lives of the people who lived in Pabos in the 18th century, as reconstructed by archaeologist Pierre Nadon. You can also follow an archaeological trail through the digs on this site and learn more about the lives of the fishermen at that time. Don’t miss the opportunity to try dried salted cod and quiaude, a chowder traditionally made with codfish heads.
Percé, the oldest fishing site in New France, was home to the three largest cod fishing companies after the English Conquest: Robin, Le Boutillier Brothers and John Le Boutillier. Today, a visit to Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher Percé is a must for anyone who wants to really understand the history of fishing in this area. Accompanied by a park warden, discover the incredible history of Bonaventure Island by visiting a Le Boutillier Brothers fishing station and the company manager’s home. While you are in the park, be sure to go see the colony of 116,000 northern gannets!
Keep driving towards the tip of the peninsula until you reach Gaspé, where you can visit the Musée de la Gaspésie. Here you can see La Gaspésienne no. 20, an authentic cod fishing boat that now offers a unique multimedia experience: local fishermen will tell you amazing tales as they bait their lines. You will also want to visit the museum’s other exhibitions focusing on the history and culture of the region as well as the Jacques-Cartier Monument.
Just outside Gaspé, Forillon National Park welcomes you with spectacular sea, mountain and cliff scenery. In Grande-Grave and L’Anse-Blanchette, visit the Hyman & Sons General Store, the Dolbel-Roberts House and the Blanchette House to learn about the lives and rich traditions of the people who used to live on this land: fishing merchants, fishermen farmers and more.
End your trip in L’Anse-au-Griffon, home to the Manoir Le Boutillier National Historic Site of Canada, which was built in 1840. Accompanied by guides in period costumes, visit this building once used as a warehouse and office by John Le Boutillier, a major cod merchant, and learn more about his contribution to the region’s development. This is the only building still standing that dates from the period of the prosperous fisheries trading post in L’Anse-au-Griffon.