15 must-sees on Grosse-Ile

1. live the canadian signature ­­"meet the Nurse Sarah Wade" experience

Grosse Île - Sarah Wade

The Meet the Nurse Sarah Wade experience has earned a place in the Canadian Signature Experience collection . Visitors are given a chance to put themselves in the shoes of newly-arrived immigrants at the Grosse Île quarantine station in the early 20th century. In the company Nurse Sarah Wade and quarantine officer Georges-Éli Martineau, visitors go through the medical inspection that all immigrants were subject to at the time. Visitors agree that it is an essential part of any visit to Grosse Île.

2. find the names of your ancestors on the memorial

Grosse Île - mémorial - noms ancêtres

Take a moment to search for the name of your ancestors on the memorial. Inaugurated in 1998 in the presence of president of Ireland, it commemorates the memory of thousands of immigrants, mainly from Ireland, deceased on the island and the people who sacrificed their life to nurse them.

3. take a walk in the nature and identify the "skunk cabbage"

Grosse-Île - Sentier pédestre - nature

Take a nature walk along the Mirador Trail, at the heart of a unique ecosystem between river and mountain : 600 species of vegetation, including the Skunk Cabbage and 600-year-old trees.

4. find the bat nest box

What? A Bat nest box? Grosse-Ile has one of the largest bat colonies in Canada! Do not be affraid, it only go out at night.

5. a visit with a Parks Canada Guide

Meet many period figures who will tell you about the daily lives of the employees and immigrants residing in the quarantine station. Experience what the immigrants felt when they entered the disinfection building and learn about medicine and immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries.

6. Have a picnic in the cholera bay

A picnic, on Grosse-Ile, in the middle of the St. Lawrence River: unique experience to try!

7. Take a photo in front of the celtic cross

Grosse Île - Croix Celtique

Around 15-meter high, the celtic cross has become the emblem of Grosse-Ile. After few minutes of walking in the trail, you will discover this monument as you have seen it earlier on the boat toward the island. It honors the memory of the Irish immigrants victims of Typhus in 1847-1848.

8. Pause for a moment of silence at the Irish cemetery

Next to the memorial, more than 6 000 people are buried in the Irish cemetery. It takes its name from the main victims of the cholera epidemic in 1832 and 1834 and typhus epidemic in 1847, the Irish immigrants.

9. discover the differences between a Catholic and anglican chapels

Built in 1877-1878 in the central part of the island, but outside the village, this neo-gothic anglican chapel looks back on the importance of the religious help among the numerous services offered to the immigrants.

Unlike the anglican chapel, the catholic chapel was part of the strategic center of Grosse-Ile. The outside of the chapel is almost the same since its construction in 1874.


10. Take a cruise on the St. Lawrence Rver

Croisières Lachance - Pont avant - Couple

Originally from “l'Île au Canot,” the Lachance captains from Croisières Lachance know the archipelago better than anyone else. Considered to be extraordinary storytellers, it is with passion that they will share with their passengers the fabulous story of the islanders. From the Berthier-sur-Mer marina, you will be able to take a tour to the National Historical Site of Canada on Grosse-Île. Do not forget to take a selfie with the Lachance captains!

11. Explore the Lazaretto, the only survivor of the 1847 tragedy

Former hospital, this building is the last of the refuges built on Grosse-Ile still standing today and the last witness of the hospitalization side of the island. The building keeps undamaged some details like the double casement and glass plaid windows and the ventilation grills.

12. Visit the island aboard the tourist trolley

The tourist trolley visits the village of the employees of the quarantine station as well as the hospital sector. During this 75-minute tour, you'll have the opportunity to visit buildings such as the Catholic and Anglican chapels, as well as meeting interpreters in period costume.

13. admire the St. Lawrence River

Admire the St. Lawrence River by taking a break on one of the lookouts. Although there is no trace of it today, the Mirador Trail takes its name from the gatehouse erected during the Second World War.

Built in 1912, the house of the public works officer was part of an intensive construction period at Grosse Ile. Its resident was responsible for maintaining the island’s buildings and related infrastructure and the construction of new facilities. The officer had a great view from its balcony!

14. Play the role of ornithologist and identify 65 species of birds

Croisières Lachance - Photographie

According to the season, you'll observe a large number of migrating birds. Try to spot 65 species of birds that migrate on Grosse-Ile.

15. Visit grosse-ile with your family

Grosse Île - Visite guidée - famille

When you arrive on the island, your children (6 to 10 years old) will receive an Xplorersbooklet filled with fun activities that will guide their discovery of the site. Observations, questions and interactions with Parks Canada staff give a chance for kids and parents alike to see a different side of the Park. When the kids have completed the requested number of activities they will be recognized as an official Parks Canada Xplorer with a certificate and a special collectible souvenir!