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.
The Work Environment
The Magdalen Islands are a 65km 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 18C◦ or 20C◦in the summer, making it ideal for swimming.
To discover more about the wonderful Magdalen Islands, please consult the following websites:
For the cultural calendar: http://www.arrimage-im.qc.ca/