The Magdalen Islands are a place where relaxing is the only option and fresh air the only air to breathe.
The Magdalen Islands, also known as les Iles de la Madeleine, have become, in recent years, a very popular tourist destination. The raw beauty of the miles of beaches, sharp cliffs, and red sandstone has captivated the hearts of many. People venture from as far as Australia, Japan and Europe to discover this unique and enchanting stretch of land, making the Islands an exclusive and sought after vacation destination.
The combination of the two main industries, fishing and tourism, has created an endless supply of local seafood delicacies. Restaurants, catering to the tourism industry, serve fine dishes such as lobster, snow crab, mussles, scallops, and halibut. There are also fish markets, where you can pick your favourite local fish produce, and enjoy your own tasty dish at home. And for those who would rather catch their own fare, a day in the lagoon clam digging or an evening on the rocks, your fishing pole in hand, could mean the perfect outing.
For the romantic, the traditions of the islands will enthral you. Colourful houses dot the skyline, remnants of a time when beacons were needed to guide fishermen home. The sound of fiddles playing traditional reels will linger in your ear and Island accents, accentuating local lore, will stimulate your imagination.
There are also many activities to entertain visitors, both summer and winter. You can enjoy the many water sports, such as Kayaking or kite-surfing, or you can opt for a day at the theatre or concert hall. A day of shopping at the various local artisans, browsing through sand sculptures, pottery and blown glass, is another option. If you land here in March, you can go to the ice floes and observe the natural beauty of seals and their pups lounging on the ice.
So, come enjoy the Magdalen Islands: We know you’ll like it as much as we do!
The Work Environment
The Magdalen Islands are a 65 km long archipelago, consisting of twelve small islands. Seven of the Islands are populated, six of which being linked by roads and bridges and the other, Entry Island, only accessible by boat.
There is a population of approximately 13,000 on the Islands, of which, 94% are French-speaking. Grosse-Ile, located on the east-end of the Islands, is English-speaking with a population of roughly 530 people. The only other English-speaking community is Entry Island, with a population of around 150. The remainder of English speaking population are spread throughout the archipelago. In total, according to the 2006 Statistics Canada census, there are 830 English as first language speakers on the Islands, and 645 of these people only speak English.
The climate on the Magdalen Islands is temperate with mild winters and cool summers. On the Islands, during the winter, you can avoid the freezing temperatures of mainland Quebec and during the summer, you can avoid the humidity and the heat. As well, the Islands’ lagoons, on average, heat up to 18 Celsuis or 20 Celsuis in the summer, making it ideal for swimming.
English Magdalen Islanders Profile
According to Statistic Canada’s 2006 report, the total population of the Magdalen Islands is 13,091, with the English-speaking population making up only 6% of the total population, with 830 native speakers. There are two predominantly English-speaking communities: Grosse-Ile and Entry Island. The Municipality of Grosse-Ile, located on the east end of the island, holds approximately 505 English-speakers. Entry Island, the only inhabited Island not attached to the main island, has approximately 125 residents. The remainder of the English-speaking population is scattered throughout the Island. Out of the 830 native speakers, 645 are considered to speak English only.
The English-speaking population of the Magdalen Islands is declining. In Grosse-Ile, from 2001 to 2006, the population decreased by -2.2% and the current age median is 40 years of age. This is combined with the population of people under 15 years of age only representing 15% of the population. An aging population, fewer births and youth exodus, puts the population at risk of diminishing. On Entry Island, the decline has been more drastic, as the isolation and lack of services has inclined many families to migrate to either the main Island or to the Maritime Provinces.
According to 2006 statistics, over half of the populations of Grosse-Ile and Entry Island do not have a high school diploma. Though the current trend has increasingly been to obtain education, this is having a mixed effect on the English-speaking community. Because those seeking to obtain a post-secondary education in English must leave the Islands, there is a higher risk that once gone, these people may not return, playing into the youth exodus trend. However, if the youth leave to be educated, and then return, they can contribute to the growth and vitality of the community.
The main industry of the English-speaking community is fishing, with over half of the population being dependent on the industry for employment. This industry does provide the necessary employment for the community, but it again puts the population in a vulnerable position. Other sectors in the English-speaking community include: education, services, retail services, construction, and other.
(accessed March 17, 2011)Statistics Canada. 2007. Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec (Code2401) (table). 2006 Community Profiles. 2006 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 92-591-XWE. Ottawa. Released March 13, 2007. (accessed March 18, 2011).