Getting on/off motorcoach and boat. Walking up to 1 mile on pavement, some uneven ground; standing at museum.
At the Auberge du Mont.
We head along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River via motorcoach to the pier at St-François-de-Montmagny and board a passenger cruise vessel operated by the Lachance family, islanders who tell family tales while navigating the 45-minute ride through the Ile-aux-Grues Achipelago to Grosse Île. Here, we explore the fascinating history and experiences of immigrants. From 1832 to 1937, Grosse-Île was the main Canadian quarantine station to block contagious diseases, holding tens of thousands of immigrants who had crossed the Atlantic. In 1847, the height of the potato famine in Ireland, more than 5,000 immigrants — mostly Irish fleeing the famine — died of typhus. We follow in their footsteps at the Irish Memorial Historic Site during an expert-led walking field trip. Hear the story of the immigrants who died and those who survived to find hope in Québec’s welcome. Imagine their feelings at sites such as the Disinfection Building, the Irish Memorial, the Irish Cemetery, and the Celtic Cross with its beautiful view of neighboring islands.
We stop for a sack lunch in the cafeteria within the building that once served as the Third Class Hotel. Coffee, tea and soft drinks are available for purchase.
Quarantine was the primary means of dealing with the potential for infectious diseases during the era when immigrants arrived in multitudes by ship. They were held in places called “lazarettos” or “lazarets” for Lazarus of the New Testament. The lazaret on Grosse-Île, the oldest island building still standing, was converted into a hospital in 1847. This afternoon we board the trolley take takes us to the other end of the island with stops along the way, concluding at the restored lazaret.
Returning to the mainland on the cruise vessel, we take a short ride to a the Salicorne Café in L'Islet-sur-Mer featuring regional cuisine.
After an introduction by an expert, you are invited to explore the Quebec Maritime Museum, a little known treasure housing more than 12,00 items and documents paying tribute to people who spent their lives along the river, including the legendary Captain J-E Bernier (1852-1934) who plied the waters of the Tropics, the St. Lawrence and the Arctic. Since this activity actually takes place before dinner, you have the option of a scenic stroll to the restaurant (5 - 10 mins). After dinner, we return directly to the Auberge.