Travel responsibly and sustainably

Somewhere between Boisville and Les Caps

Îles de la Madeleine, La côte, quai, bateaux, eau

Is it spring trying to show its colours, or is it winter hanging on?

Anyhow, I don't have the right shoes.

It's mid-April, and I am walking between Boisville and Les Caps.

A road I often take. Usually, traffic is pretty light over here. But now, I can see a few faces in La Côte, in the village of L'Étang-du-Nord. The local ice cream shop is now open. Sugary treats are calling. Tackling what is left of winter with frozen desserts! Nearby, the harbour is coming back to life as crab fishing is about to start, which will soon be followed by lobster fishing.

Springtime. The day gets longer, and the sun stretches over my memories. I wander in La Côte, along the ice cream shop, the harbour, the Café, the statues, Arthure's place, the park, the fish market...

Images of this place are coming back to me.

The wooden walkway, the boats, the abundance of rosebushes, the fishermen's cabins, the wobbly bridge of the park, and the one-of-a-kind aroma of the wild mint growing underneath. Sunny shows and painting stories. Family winters. Snow carving contests and a skating rink. And then, days of May, foggy and salty. An ocean one can breathe everywhere—from the forest to the beach, and the hill to the church.

A big chunk of my childhood was spent right here, in La Côte, somewhere between Boisville and Les Caps.

On the Islands, Boisville, Les Caps, and La Côte are called cantons, or townships.


Îles de la Madeleine, coucher de soleil, eau,
Îles de la madeleine, site de la côte, statue des pêcheurs
Îles de la Madeleine, maison jaune, cantons, Étang-du-Nord
Îles de la Madeleine, côte, Étang-du-Nord, eau

For us, the township represents a spontaneous sharing of the territory, and it remains the most natural way of explaining and occupying the archipelago. The township is a group of houses, as well as environment, built heritage and tradition-based activities. According to the development plan, the township “runs vertically towards a wooden backcountry, where one can find woodlots or grasslands, and horizontally towards dunes, marshes, ponds and lagoons. The township is a form of tenure that embraces what has been built, the peaks, and the rhythm of the void and the full. Each and every one of them offers different landscapes whose value is somehow linked to the bonds between them and the people living within their limits.”

All this makes me think about how important townships are for the residents. On the Islands, we can easily name about thirty townships, all of which are roughly the same size. From past to present, they bring a great sense of belonging to their people. Plus, they represent a piece of history in terms of land occupancy and the lifestyle of Madelinots. They have a modern importance to preserve, which should never be altered.

Our townships—as different as they can be—are home to the simple daily lives of islanders and unique landscapes  that make every local proud.

To wrap things up, for their musicality and for the sake of discovering them, here are a few:

Bassin, Boisville, Cap-aux-Meules, Cap-Rouge, Cap-Vert, Dune-du-Sud, La Sheg, Les Sillons, East Cape, Pointe-de-l'Est, Le Barachois, L'Hôpital, Mocôques, La Cyr, Grand-Ruisseau, Gros-Cap, Down the Valley, Red Head, L'Anse-à-la-Cabane, L'Étang-des-Caps, La Côte, La Baie, La Martinique, La Montagne, La Petite-Baie, La Pointe, La Pointe de Grande-Entrée, La Vernière, Les Billots, Les Caps, Old-Harry, Sand Cove, Pointe-aux-Loups, Pointe-à-Marichite, Pointe-Basse, Portage du Cap, La Grave...

Par Jean-Étienne Solomon

As a Madelinot, I am one of the many locals who enjoy the archipelago no matter the season and revisit a land that never ceases to amaze and evolve.

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