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Bonne Esperance
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What to Do

There is so much natural and cultural heritage to discover in Bonne Esperance! During your visit, don’t miss the opportunity to:

1. Visit the Whiteley Museum

Located in St. Paul’s River, this museum interprets the invention of the cod trap by William H. Henry in 1871, an innovation that revolutionized cod fishing throughout Eastern Canada. Through interpretation panels, a large model of Whiteley’s fishing installations, and artifacts, the museum showcases a major part of the history of Bonne Esperance. You will also find on-site a small craft and souvenir shop featuring local hand-made products. For more information, please visit the Whiteley Museum website.

2. Drive the Jacques Cartier Trail

Showcasing the natural and cultural history of the region with a series of interpretation panels, this route will guide you to exceptional look-out points and other sites of interest along the Québec Lower North Shore. The Jacques Cartier Trail map is available at any local visitor information kiosk.

3. Walk the scenic boardwalks, hiking and natural trails

Middle Bay, St. Paul’s River and Old Fort Bay each have scenic boardwalks or walkways along their shores. These are great places to take photographs and enjoy the peace and quiet of the villages. Hiking trails are a great way to discover the natural landscape of the region, and are indicated on the Jacques Cartier Trail brochure. For more information, you can visit the Middle Bay information kiosk.

4. Take a boat ride to the outer islands and tour past settlements

Contact a local tour operator for an impromptu visit of nearby islands and coves by boat. There are many colourful legends and mysteries associated with all of these places. You can see the site of Whiteley’s fishing station on Bonne Esperance Island, near St. Paul’s River.

Visit Île de la Demoiselle, where the legendary Marguerite de la Roque was marooned by Sieur de Roberval, and Eskimo Island,where a major battle between the Innu and the Inuit may have taken place in the 17th century. In some locations, such as Salmon Bay, historic houses and wharves are still used by local residents during the summer. Travel to Old Fort and Dog Islands and take part in traditional activities such as fishing at the dock, clam digging, berry picking, sheashell collecting, etc. These are also wonderful places to observe marine life such as whales and seabirds.

5. Meet local residents at fishing wharves and local businesses

One of the best ways to get to know a place is to talk to the people. The residents of Bonne Esperance are notoriously friendly. Drop in to Middle Bay’s Crossroads Café, or any of the local stores or services, likely places to meet local residents.

6. Experience local culture at a community event

Throughout the year, Bonne Esperance hosts seasonal events, including hockey tournaments and winter carnivals. The villages usually commemorate Canada Day on July 1st with fire-works and family-oriented activities. For more information about events in Bonne Esperance, inquire at the Middle Bay information kiosk.

7. Visit in the winter to experience a snowmobiler’s paradise

The Lower North Shore is a snowmobilers’ paradise with hundreds of kilometres of groomed trails and endless open land. A detailed map of La Route Blanche, 455 kilometres (282 miles) of marked and groomed trails on the Lower North Shore is available for download: front and back. A trail from Old Fort to Blanc-Sablon has recently been added to the network. For more information visit the Tourism Lower North Shore website.

For a complete list of what to do in Bonne Esperance, consult the Tourism Lower North Shore website.