Musée un peuple de la mer

Travel responsibly and sustainably

As anyone who lives by the sea will tell you, coastal life is both fortunate and fraught. As long as humans have been coming to the Magdalen Islands archipelago, the sea has been a source of sustenance: initially, the Mi'kmaq came to the islands seasonally to hunt walrus, and the earliest settlers who came from England, Scotland, Ireland, the Channel Islands, and France lived largely off bountiful fish. The sea also provides transport, and many ancestors of today's Magdalen Islanders sought refuge on the islands from famine or instability elsewhere. Yet the waves, storms, and shoals can also be dangerous. Over a thousand vessels have wrecked in the sandy banks and shallow waters of the archipelago. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries especially, heavier navigation, combined with strong currents and the absence of lighthouses, meant many vessels were lost in the area, each with its own legends and lore, which have become part of the Islands' history over the years. The former Anglican church of St.-Peters-by-the-Sea, in the village of Old Harry, was built with wood salvaged from shipwrecks. Given the building's origins, it is fitting that today the deconsecrated church is home to a permanent exhibit that tells the stories of many of the Magdalen Islanders who have perished by the waters, including in shipwrecks. The moving “A People of the Sea” exhibit features photographs, interpretative panels, and artifacts that bear witness to losses that have touched every family on the Islands at one time or another. “A Wreck at Old Harry” exhibit To live on an island is to live with the ocean—its bounty, its beauty, and its storms. The shores and shoals of the Magdalen Islands have seen hundreds of shipwrecks over the years, most in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, before the advent of modern navigation. This interactive exhibit recounts the voyage of one of these ships, the Miracle, through the eyes of a fictional character.

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866, road Principal
Grosse-Île, G4T 6B7
(Quebec, Canada)

Phone : 581 453-0759 Phone : 581 453-0759

General information

Island Grosse Île Island
Nearest Beach Grande Échouerie Beach
Distance from the beach 1 km
We speak Français, English
Additional Information
  • Non-Smoking

Partner establishments

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    Musée de la Petite École Rouge

    The Little Red Schoolhouse originally was opened in 1922 to provide education to the youth of the Old Harry village. Located on the island of Grosse-Île, it was and remains the cradle of the English-speaking community on the Magdalen Islands. Now part of the Old Harry heritage space, the schoolhouse retains its historical atmosphere, transporting you back to the beginning of the 20th century. By browsing through the permanent exhibition, you will learn more about the specificities of the island way of life as well as the realities faced by the English-speaking community of the Magdalen Islands, past and present.

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    Musée de l'Île d'Entrée

    Isolated from the main archipelago of the Magdalen Islands, Entry Island is known as a pearl in the heart of the Gulf of Saint-Lawrence. In the middle of this tiny, pastoral island is nestled the Entry Island Museum. The museum, which houses a collection gathered through the generosity of Entry Island residents, is dedicated to the interpretation and preservation of Entry Island's rich history. The permanent collection and exhibits of farming and fishing equipment, veteran memorabilia, photographs, household objects, and oral history are reminders of how Magdalen Islanders used to live. The Entry Island Museum notably offers guided tours in French and in English, providing information and insight into local lore, built heritage, and community knowledge that goes back two hundred years—English speakers settled the island in 1821-1822—and even earlier, to seasonal occupation by Mi'kmaq hunters.

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    Musée des Vétérans

    The Veterans Museum focuses on the historical role played by both the English and French-speaking inhabitants of the Magdalen Islands in the various military conflicts of the 20th century, such as the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. The room merges names, events and artifacts that recalls the human cost attributed to war. You will be able to browse through an impressive collection of objects that once belonged to soliders from the Magdalen Islands or their families, including uniforms, military equipment, medals, letters, and so on. These objects complement the permanent exhibition, which retraces the implication of the Magdalen Islanders in the Canadian Armed Forces.


Dates and opening hours

  • Open year round

x I Care For
Les Îles de la Madeleine