Explore the different segments that make up the Navigator's Route...
Follow in the wake of Jacques Cartier and his fellow explorers down a route packed with history, paralleling the St. Lawrence as it flows toward the Atlantic.
n the Chaudière-Appalaches region on the south shore, you can already taste the salt tang in the air. From Montmagny, a boat ride takes you to Île aux Grues or to Grosse Île, a quarantine site for thousands of European immigrants in the last century. At L'Islet-sur-Mer, the Musée maritime Bernier pays tribute to the Canadian merchant marine. Nearby Saint-Jean-Port-Joli is known as Québec's wood-carving capital, while the Seigneurie des Aulnaies, in its beautiful setting at Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies, recalls the splendour of the seignieurial regime.
A Bird-Watcher's Paradise
At Kamouraska, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, you can visit exquisite ancestral residences. Turn your eyes across the River, and there lie the imposing Charlevoix hills. At Rivière-du-Loup, a bit farther along, take a boat ride to observe local birdlife or to visit bird colonies on the islands. Still farther east, you can make the boat trip to Île Verte, to gaze up at the oldest lighthouse on the St. Lawrence (1809), or to Île aux Basques. The ragged shoreline of Parc du Bic, between Trois-Pistoles and Pointe-au-Père, provides shelter for campers and hikers, seabirds, even seals. Next to the lighthouse at Pointe-au-Père, the Musée de la mer recounts the tragic shipwreck of the Empress of Ireland
in 1914. Farther inland, on the shore of Lac Témiscouata, Fort Ingall in Cabano stands as a reminder of a British-American conflict in 1839.
A Rock to Write Home About
The Gaspésie, a vast and rugged peninsula jutting into the ocean, remains one of the most popular tourist areas with visitors from far and near, including Québec. One of its highlights is certainly the Jardins de Métis, where outstanding gardens grace a 19th-century mansion. In the heart of the Gaspé lies the Parc de la Gaspésie, home to caribou, moose and deer; and at the tip of the peninsula, Forillon National Park, where naturalist guides will help you discover its wide variety of flora and fauna. For the more energetic, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking or deep-sea fishing adventures.
From the town of Gaspé you can learn all about the region's inspiring history at the Musée de la Gaspésie. The high point of any trip to the area must be a visit to Rocher Percé, a rock sculpted by the wind and salt sea, soaring out of the water at Percé. From there you can also catch a boat to Île Bonaventure, and marvel at North America's largest colony of gannets. As you're coming back along the south shore of the Gaspé, be sure to stop off at the internationally renowned Parc de Miguasha, in the Chaleur Bay, west of Carleton. There you can admire fossilized fish and plants dating back more than 350 million years.