On-site cultural resources
Grosse Île was the cornerstone of an entire system devoted to landing immigrants upon their arrival in Québec City. As such, the island served as a front-line facility whose physical infrastructure not only reflected the processing and care of immigrants but was also the home surroundings of station personnel. These dual functions were closely intertwined. Like a fort or industrial complex, the quarantine station offered facilities for the disinfection and hospitalization of immigrants, while also offering support services, such as employee accommodations or various types of storage. All surviving resources (be they architectural, archaeological or ethnological) relating to these functions have been linked to one of the site’s commemorative themes. They are therefore regarded as “level 1” resources.
These resources reflect over 150 years of occupation on the island. Their layout testifies to the division of the island into different sectors in which the numerous quarantine functions were organized. Originally, the western part of the island was used to receive, accommodate and care for all immigrants landing at the station, whatever their state of health. Beginning in 1848, however, only healthy immigrants under observation were detained in this sector. Processing, accommodation and disinfection functions occupied most of this part of the island until the human quarantine station was shut down.
Throughout this entire period, the island’s central sector was used to house the administrative staff (both civil and military) and station employees. With time, a bona fide village grew up.
Further down the island, in the eastern sector, the hospital zone of the quarantine station was set up beginning in 1847-1848. The Catholic and Protestant cemeteries in this sector date from the same period.
With the exception of structures associated with the more recent animal quarantine facilities and the Agriculture Canada research station, most existing buildings in the central sector date from the final years of the human quarantine station, in particular from the period of reorganization during the first quarter of the 20th century. With the exception of monuments and cemeteries, only four buildings bear witness to the early decades of the station, when the great epidemics occurred.
However, it should be noted that Grosse Île contains potentially over 900 archaeological resources related to immigration, the 1847 tragedy and the history of the human quarantine station. Many of them date from the 19th century. These cultural resources are located primarily in the southern part of the island, although a number of them may be found in other areas. Like the resources already listed, the as-yet uncovered vestiges (remains of buildings and works, layers of ground and artifacts) associated with the site’s commemorative intent are also regarded as “level 1” cultural resources.
Finally, a number of buildings (disinfection building, first-, second- and third-class hotels, kitchen, lazaretto) feature graffiti – the work of immigrants passing through the quarantine station. These are also “level 1” resources.
All on-site cultural resources associated with the site’s commemorative intent are briefly described by sector (west, centre, east) in the commemorative integrity statement.
Commemorative integrity of the site
Resources symbolizing or representing the national significance of Grosse Île
Grosse Île and its cultural landscapes
On-site cultural resources
Movable cultural resources
Messages of national historic significance
Messages for the Canadian public
Messages for visitors to the site
Other heritage values of the site
Precontact dimension of Grosse Île
Earliest settlers and agricultural use of the island before the quarantine station period
The Canadian Forces (1942-1945, 1951-1956)
Agriculture Canada (research and training station, animal quarantine)
International, national and regional links
Outstanding natural surroundings