Regional tourism context
As part of the Chaudière-Appalaches tourism region, the Isle aux Grues archipelago (which includes Grosse Île) is located close to the major population pool concentrated in the greater Québec City area and the international tourist attraction represented by historic old Québec.
The Chaudière-Appalaches tourism region covers an extensive territory; bounded in part by the Eastern Townships to the southwest and stretching eastward to the U.S. border, it extends north and east along the St. Lawrence from Leclercville to Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies. The South Shore is an entity corresponding to the archipelago and the area adjoining the river between Beaumont and Saint-Roch-des- Aulnaies, along the “route des navigateurs.”
In addition to Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site, the South Shore region boasts a number of outstanding cultural attractions, mainly in the vicinity of Montmagny, a regional centre and cultural hub, and Saint- Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec’s arts and crafts capital, famed for its talented sculptors and craftsmen and women.
The architectural heritage of the South Shore is in many ways outstanding. It features some of the best-preserved vestiges of the seigneurial system in Quebec, including the Beaumont mill, the Couillard-Dupuis manor in Montmagny, the manor on Isle aux Grues, the Dionne manor and the mill in Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies. The history and heritage of the South Shore are closely linked with the St. Lawrence, and the whole riverside area has a particularly evocative maritime feel to it.
In addition to the sites just mentioned, the South Shore’s most popular heritage tourist attractions include the Sir-Étienne-Paschal-Taché home and the Centre éducatif des migrations (both in Montmagny), Isle aux Grues, the Musée maritime Bernier (l’Islet), the village of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli and the Seigneurie des Aulnaies (Saint-Roch-des- Aulnaies). Waterfowl hunting attracts large numbers of hunters to the Isle aux Grues archipelago every fall. Other main tourist draws are the Fête internationale de la sculpture de Saint-Jean-Port- Joli (an international sculpture festival), the Carrefour mondial de l’accordéon (world accordion festival), the Festival de l’oie blanche (snow goose festival), the Fête de la Saint-Aubert de Cap-Saint-Ignace (the feast of Saint-Aubert at Cap-Saint-Ignace), and plays and shows performed in summer theatres. There is also growing agrotourism in the region (farm holidays, vineyard tours, sugaring parties, etc.) and an increasing range of tourist products centred on outdoor rest and recreation (river cruises, bicycle paths, golf, fishing, etc.).
According to the 1999-2000 edition of the Guide touristique de l’ ATR Chaudière-Appalaches , the Côte-du-Sud (South Shore) sub-region has some 875 rooms (bed-and-breakfasts, hotels and motels, cottages/condos) and nearly 2700 campsites, as well as approximately 10 restaurants with 1800 seats during the tourist season. This infrastructure, composed mainly of small and mediumsized establishments, covers the entire region, with some concentration at Montmagny and Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. For pleasure boating enthusiasts, both Saint-Michel and Berthier-sur-Mer feature marinas with full mooring facilities.
The efforts of South Shore tourism stakeholders during the last several years have begun to pay off, as is shown by the noticeable increase in tourist length of stay. Diversification of the region’s products and attractions, combined with efforts by the Association touristique régionale ( ATR ) and the Office de tourisme de Montmagny to define a niche for its products on the tourist market, should further strengthen this trend. Against this promising backdrop, the finishing work on the presentation of Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada, which the ATR views as a future pole of attraction among South Shore tourism offerings, is obviously an eagerly awaited project.
Analysis of the current situation
Ownership and legal context
Commemorative integrity of the site
Condition of landscapes and level-1 resources
Communication of site messages of national historic significance
Impacts of activities past and present
Public visitation and use
Facilities and services
Regional tourism context