Among the most meaningful cultural landscapes on Grosse Île are the cemeteries; however, their restoration poses special problems.
This is the island’s main burial ground and also its oldest, most likely dating to 1832. The cemetery actually contains two separate burial grounds: one was used from 1832 to 1846 for individual burials, and the other was an area of common trenches in which the victims of the 1847 epidemic were laid to rest. In 1996, following historical and archaeological surveys conducted for the purpose of defining the true boundaries of the cemetery, work was begun clearing the perimeter, which was in fact much greater than the lawn-covered area traditionally maintained. The western part of the cemetery was completely cleared of the thick shrubbery that had overrun the site; visitors can now see just how large the burial ground really was.
|Comparatively little information is available about this burial ground. It was laid out in 1867 and seems to have been used intensively until about 1871, when the hospitals were relocated to a different part of the island. Until very recently, the central cemetery occupied a wetland, which had become overrun by dense vegetation to the point of masking its very presence. Archaeological work has made it possible to define the boundaries of the burial ground, which once was surrounded by fences. Brush-cutting and sodding, combined with rebuilding of the fence, will help restore an appearance in keeping with the cemetery’s purpose.
|The original burial ground is now reduced to two divided lots containing most of the remaining tombstones and grave markers. Today, a stretch of the island’s aerial landing strip encroaches on the burial ground. Archaeological work performed during summer 1999 served to establish the boundaries of this cemetery. Rehabilitation work similar to that conducted in the central cemetery has been planned (see the section dealing with preservation and presentation of the site.)
13. PARKS CANADA, Plan de protection et de valorisation du paysage - LHN de la Grosse-Île-et-le-Mémorial-des- Irlandais [Landscape protection and presentation plan, Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial N.H.S.], Québec, May 1999, 49 p. + appendices and maps.
14. PRUD’HOMME, Chantal, Étude du paysage de Grosse-Île [Grosse Île landscape survey], Public Works and Government Services Canada for Parks Canada, Architecture and Engineering Services, Québec, 1995, 99 p. + appendix.
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