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Management Plan

Strategic direction for visitor services

The interpretation plan covers in detail all topics relating to services for visitors to the island and describes the location, form, scope and management of these services. The plan has been prepared with respect to the following guidance:

  • The proposed interventions, facilities, services and activities will respect the spirit of the place.
  • Carrying over a practice initiated with the opening of Grosse Île to the public, visitors will continue to reach the island via the services of private ferry operators. Parks Canada has no plans to run such a service. Boat operators must have the required permits and their vessels must comply with prescribed safety standards. Boarding locations for visitors to Grosse Île will be chosen by the ferry companies.
  • In addition to standard road signs indicating the route to the various boarding points, the only installations to be set up off the island will be general information panels at each boarding point. These will show the attractions of Grosse Île, describe the means of access, provide details of the visits and experiences offered, etc. The same information will also be made available in brochure form.
  • Given the limited landing capacity of the wharf and considering especially the heritage nature of the site, Parks Canada will not encourage the mooring and anchoring of pleasure craft at Grosse Île, nor will it install floating pontoons or booms; for the same reason, no facilities for outdoor recreational activities (camping, cycling, horseback riding, etc.) will be set up on the island.
  • On the island itself, visitor services will be modest, in keeping with the specific requirements imposed by the isolation of the site. As originally planned, the former carpentry and plumbing workshop now houses a reception and information area and gift shop. The restaurant/cafeteria has been moved to the ground floor of the third-class hotel. This building is easily accessed, being strategically located close to the visitors’ reception centre and the arrival/ departure point. The restaurant/cafeteria will continue to be operated under a concession.
  • For a number of reasons, public transport will continue to be provided: the site is relatively large, with resources being scattered over nearly 2 kilometres; visiting time on the island is limited and the weather is occasionally inclement. A second tourist trailer train will go into service. 37
  • Although guided tours will be available for groups, interested visitors can tour the island independently at their own pace. Various possible itineraries will be offered to visitors, based on the time they have available for visiting, their interests, their physical capacity, etc.
  • Initially, a single picnic area will be laid out on the island. This area will be equipped with the appropriate outdoor furniture and will be located close to the third-class hotel. Depending on how needs evolve and following an assessment of impact, other picnic areas could at some point be set up on the island.
  • Full washroom facilities have already been made available to visitors in the western sector. It is expected that these facilities will be able to meet needs appropriately in the years to come. However, the current temporary facilities in the central sector will be replaced by full services that comply with modern standards. Locating these services in one of the former animal quarantine buildings will be opted for if this avenue is shown to be the most economical. No plans have been made to offer public washroom facilities in the eastern sector of the island.
  • For the time being, no plans have been made to offer visitors overnight accommodations on the island. At some point during the next several years, a study could be conducted on this subject, with findings to be discussed during the next review of the management plan.
  • In compliance with the rules in effect in national parks and national historic sites, the landing strip will continue to be reserved for the exclusive use of Parks Canada and will not be developed to receive private aircraft.
  • Walking paths with stops along the way will be laid out to provide safe access to resources. The interpretation plan will take into account the proposals of the landscape development plan in terms of defining the location and nature of the projected facilities. Care will also be taken to ensure that activities and infrastructures do not damage the habitats of rare or endangered species or those of particular interest.

37. In 1999, Parks Canada purchased a new trailer train for use replacing the older of the two trains previously operated by the Grosse Île Development Corporation. Nevertheless, the second of the Corporation's trolleys remains to be replaced by a new, more comfortable train that is better suited to visiting conditions on the island.

Preservation and presentation concept

Respecting the spirit of the place
Comprehensive and specific view of history
Nature-culture approach
Grosse Île: looking to the future

Management objectives and key actions

Ensuring the commemorative integrity of the site

Cultural landscapes
Built heritage
Archaeological resources
Commemorative plaques and monuments
Movable cultural resources
Communicating the site’s messages and heritage values

Visitor services


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada facilities

Preserving and presenting the natural environment

Shared management of the site