The Magdalen Islands are a little piece of Quebec that seem so remote and so different from the rest of the province. I've been there already and would go back tomorrow if asked. I fell, like many others I'm sure, under the charm of the scenery, the smell of the sea, the good food and especially the Islanders that are so welcoming and warm. There is so much to do in the islands, whether it is discovering their culture, cultural events, tasting all the local products, attending intimate shows, indulging in outdoor activities or learning more about the environment and the history of the Islanders, there really is for all tastes and ages.
I have drawn up a list of things not to be missed if one day you go to the Magdalen Islands. It turns out these things are directly in line with bpculture's values: Travel responsibly, even in your own country.
Concerned to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the archipelago, the Magdalenian community has taken charge of the development of its tourist industry to ensure sustainable tourism - the Magdalen Islands Municipality.
1. See the biggest sandcastle competition in the world!
Generally in mid-August, the famous sandcastle contest takes place at Sandyhook beach in Havre-Aubert. This competition, which attracts many tourists from all over the world, has been around for 30 years. In its beginnings, as a family contest that welcomed nearly 1,000 visitors, it has multiplied over the years and today welcomes more than 18,000 curious visitors and 500 builders.
This event has also won the Vivat Grand Prize last year, a prize awarded to the responsible event of the year, which pays tribute to the organizers hard work to reduce their environmental footprint by improving their social and economic footprint!
This year's event will take place on the weekend of August 11-13, 2017. On the program: circus shows and castle building, music, corn roast, fireworks and unveiling party of the winner. To get to the site, it is best to park your vehicle at the designated locations in Havre-Aubert and take the shuttle bus service as parking near the beach is limited and at a cost of $ 10 on Saturdays.
Visit www.chateaudesable.com for more information!
2. Immerse yourself in Acadian culture
The Festival Acadien, where every visitor is immersed in Acadian culture, shows Acadian music, dance, fireworks and a small boat contest where each contestant has to build their own small boat.
** Not to forget the National Acadian Day is on August 15. All islands celebrate on this day!
Go to 966 chemin de la Grave, Havre-Aubert. $ 5 to enter the site.
3. Enter the imaginary world of tales
The International Festival of Tales in the Islands is where some twenty storytellers bring out their most beautiful stories from the imagination. It is a cultural event centered on the Magdalenian culture and it's popular culture. Visit the imaginary world from September 24 to October 1, 2017 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the 251-330 main road, Cap-aux-Meules - www.conteseniles.com
4. Discover the life of the fishermen
If the maritime and fishermen lifestyles intrigue you, Sea on a plateau is the activity for you! Throughout the summer, several activities and exhibitions take place on the pier at the tip of the large entrance. From July 21st to August 26th, you will be able to learn more about the life of fishermen in the great sea with a short 45 minute encounter with a fisherman who will tell you stories aboard his boat. Not to mention every Thursday, when the dock turns into a theater hosting several artists of all kinds. Bring your chair, places are limited!
5. Discover the lighthouses
If you are a historian at heart, you will love to set off in search of the 6 lighthouses that surround the Magdalen Islands. These lighthouses, dating from the years 1870 to 1911, were at the time to used to ensure the safety of the gulf's maritime corridors. They are now part of the region's heritage. Only one is still in use, the Rocher aux Oiseaux. Almost all accessible, these lighthouses give a mystical look to the surrounding landscapes.
You will find the map to the 6 lighthouses here: www.tourismeilesdelamadeleine.com
6. Enjoy the flavor circuit, Yummy!!
Notice to foodies: The islands are full of local products, original and delicious dishes of land and sea. The inhabitants are proud of their traditions and will try to stimulate your taste buds by innovating in their culinary creations. What's better than going directly to meet local producers? Here is the list of seven companies that invite you to discover different foods:
⦁ The Orchard Pomelloi
⦁ The microbrewery In the shelter of the Tempest
⦁ Gourmet of Nature
⦁ At the corner of the Wild Boar
⦁ The Pied-de-Vent Fromagerie
⦁ The Fumoir d'Antan
⦁ The Barbocheux
To learn more: www.tourismeilesdelamadeleine.com
** Go to www.arrimage-im.qc.ca where you will find all the cultural events of the summer of the Madeline Islands; Shows / play / exhibition **
7. Attend an improv match!
Every Wednesday, the Pas Perdus become the host of impromptu matches of the Magdalenian improvisation league. You will surely spend a lovely and funny evening all the while being invited to vote for your favorite team by using flip-flops of different colors. Entry is $ 7 and you can also enjoy a drink at the bar.
8. Take a break at the Café de la Grave
Café de la Grave is a friendly coffee shop that has been revamped from a former general store dating from 1865! Perfect for lunch with a relaxed atmosphere, you can observe visual art exhibitions, paint workshops, witness improvised Jams or relax in front of evening movies. Small tip, taste one of their specialties: The salted cod cake, a delight!
969 chemin de la Grave www.cafedelagrave.com
9. Sleep at the Auberge du Paradis Bleu
Unfortunately, when I went to the Islands this place did not exist. Lisa and Mitchell, a young couple in their mid-twenties, returned to their sources to realize one of their biggest dreams: opening a youth hostel. The location is ideal, only 100 meters from the beach, decorations of a "beach shack", affordable prices, lunch included (pancakes) and several activities on site. Go have a look when you are visiting, if only to say hello to the owners, they are super friendly!
10. Fly high with Airyoga
You’re a yoga enthusiast? Adopt a new style of yoga during your holidays! Flying yoga with sea views, if this is not relaxing ... I do not know what is! Follow them on airyoga.elevetonyoga on Instagram or www.airyoga.info to see the classes schedule and rates for the 2017 season.
11. Explore the island by bike
The Island offers two stretches of 23km and 14km crisscrossing the Island. The cyclists will find their account by the various routes that you can find on their website or if you are more of the rash type and want to leave the beaten path, there is a panoply of trails offroad trails.
12. Enjoy the sea!
With its 300 km of beaches, you will be more than pampered by the Magdalen Islands. Long sandy beaches where you can go for long walks, play volleyball, read a quiet book or even find a small sand dune to hide from the wind. There are so many beautiful beaches, but I must say that my favorite one is Pointe aux Loup beach!
Also, the sea offers a magnificent playground to do a multitude of activities. You can kayak through the red sandstone cliffs and discover otherwise inaccessible sites. Maybe try for the first-time kite surfing, diving in search of the many ship wrecks, try SUP (stand-up paddle) in calm waters or even go surfing when the conditions are optimal. Impossible to be bored whether you are an amateur sportsman or well experienced!
This post gives you just some small insight of what you can do on the islands. I know very well that there is much more to do, but you will have to discover it for yourself! And you will surely fall in love with these magnificient islands.
See you soon Magdalen Islands!