Why Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula Should Be at the Top of Your Canadian Bucket List

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The Gaspé Peninsula’s picturesque coastline

For several years, I’d heard Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula described with glowing superlatives. It was often referred to as “the Canadian version of California’s Highway 1” with its majestic views. So when I was invited to accompany my friend Janet to visit it, I had to see if such accolades were accurate.

We spent the majority of our trip driving—our yellow Beetle covered more than 1,700 kilometres in ten days. Route 132 through the region, known as the Bas-Saint-Laurent, outlines the Gaspé Peninsula. Along the north shore, the highway soars to celestial heights before dipping into deep bays, then out onto windswept capes. Dominated by the Chic-Choc Mountains, forest-covered hills are ablaze with colour in the fall.

The majority of the population lives along the lengthy coastline, and most of the towns have their own picturesque features, whether it is a museum, lighthouse or a quaint fishing harbour.

The Gaspé Peninsula, while appearing no larger than a thumbnail on the Canadian map, is actually larger than Belgium. It’s bordered on the north by the immense flowing ribbon of the St. Lawrence River, and on the south side by the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which empties its steel-blue expansiveness into the Atlantic Ocean. As far as the eye can see, sky and sea merge like a faint watercolour. Viewing it was a humbling experience, filling me with a feeling of isolation and solitude.

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