The Gaspésie (official name), or Gaspé Peninsula, the Gaspé or Gaspesia, is a peninsula along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River to the east of the Matapedia Valley in Quebec, Canada, that extends into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. It is separated from New Brunswick on its southern side by the Baie des Chaleurs (Chaleur Bay) and the Restigouche River. The name Gaspé comes from the Mi'kmaq word gespe'g, meaning "end", referring to the end of the land.
NASA satellite image of the Gaspé Peninsula. Part of Anticosti Island appears to the northeast.
|• Land||31,075.36 km2 (11,998.26 sq mi)|
|• Density||4.5/km2 (12/sq mi)|
The Gaspé Peninsula is slightly larger than Belgium, at 31,075 square kilometres (11,998 sq mi). The population is 140,599 as of the 2011 census. It is also noted as being the only region outside the Channel Islands to contain native speakers of Jersey Norman.
Sea cliffs dominate the peninsula's northern shore along the St. Lawrence River. Cap Gaspé, jutting into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, is the easternmost point of the peninsula. Percé Rock (or Rocher Percé), an island pierced by a natural arch, is located just offshore of the peninsula's eastern end. The peninsula's interior is a rugged northward continuation of the Appalachian Mountains called the Chic-Chocs, with Mont Jacques-Cartier at 1,268 metres (4,160 ft) the peninsula's highest peak.
Mount Albert (Mont Albert) at 1,151 m (3,776 ft) is another high mountain in the Chic-Chocs. Its summit, an alpine area above the tree line, is a nearly flat plateau about 13 km (8 mi) across composed of serpentine bedrock and supporting a quite unusual flora. The ascent of Mount Albert from near sea level is challenging, but popular with hikers, offering a view of the St. Lawrence and the Côte-Nord, the river's north shore, part of the ancient bedrock of the Canadian Shield.
The town of Murdochville, at about 660 metres (2,170 ft) above sea level, has had a varied history, and is now home to several wind turbines. It is reached by Route 198, which extends inland from the northern shore of the peninsula, soon climbing into the mountains and entering vast forests, crossing several small rivers before reaching the town. From Murdochville, Route 198 follows the York River to the city of Gaspé on the peninsula's eastern tip.
Rocher Percé, circa 1900.
The economy of the peninsula has historically been focused on fishing, agriculture and forestry. However, primary resource based industries are suffering due to overfishing, overexploitation and fewer numbers of farmers in business, forcing the region to move towards tourism and the services industry.
The peninsula is one of Quebec's most popular tourism regions. The Gaspé National Park (Parc national de la Gaspésie) is located in the Chic-Chocs, and Forillon National Park is at the peninsula's northeastern tip. A section of the International Appalachian Trail travels through the peninsula's mountains. Bonaventure National Park is located here. As of September 2018 the area also hosts Canada's 3rd UNESCO Global Geopark - Géoparc de Percé.
- Statistics Canada Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and economic regions, 2011 and 2006 censuses - 100% data
- Commission de toponymie
- Its area is determined by adding the area of two federal electoral districts, Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia and Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, while subtracting that of the Magdalen Islands.
- The population of the Gaspe Peninsula is determined by adding the population of two federal electoral districts, Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia and Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, while subtracting that of the Magdalen Islands.
- Fernald, M.L. (1932). "Botanizing on the Gaspé sea-cliffs". Harvard Alumni Bulletin. 36: 1–7.
- Gouvernement du Québec (2011). "Mont Albert" (in French). Commission de toponymie. Retrieved 4 Jan 2011.
- Scoggan, H.J. (1950). The Flora of Bic and the Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec. Ottawa, Canada: National Museum of Canada. p. 399.