Magdalen Islands, churches and dwellings

(continuer en français) – Last updated: February 10, 2022

The Magdalen Islands archipelago consists of six islands connected by sand dunes, a separate inhabited island, Entry Island, and an uninhabited island, Brion Island. The latter became a nature reserve after the leaving of its inhabitants. In total, the resident population reaches a little over 12,000 inhabitants, 6% of them are Anglophones, gathered in three of the eleven localities grouped around their bell towers.

A significant portion of the population is of Acadian origin, attached to the Catholic religion. Over the centuries, several chapels and churches were built, often incorporating the remains of shipwrecks. Storms and lightning destroyed some of these religious buildings. Thus, the present church of Saint-François-Xavier in Bassin dates from 1939, built to replace the previous church destroyed by lightning.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church of Grosse Ile was built in 1925 for the English-speaking population of the Magdalen Islands. It is also known for its stained glass windows installed in 1986 showing Jesus and his disciples dressed in contemporary clothing.

Because of its central position, Cap-aux-Meules is the main town of the Islands grouped together in a single commune. Elsewhere, the villages look more like disordered groups of houses, as if scattered by the wind, as if thrown on the fly by a giant sower.

For a long time the population tended to leave the Islands, suffering particularly from the isolation imposed by the long winter. With the improvement of the means of communication, the trend has been reversed. There are still some old deserted houses.

Today many holiday homes are built close to the sea, which is never far away.

Residents often use bright colours to paint their houses, bringing cheerfulness to the landscape.

The style of the houses with their wood shingles or clapboard covered in bright colours can also be found in commercial enterprises seeking to attract tourists, as here around the Etang-du-Nord port.

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