Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Magdalen Islands

The Magdalen Islands (French, Îles de la Madeleine) form a small archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence with a land area of 205.53 square kilometers (79.36 sq mi). Though closer to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, the islands form part of the Canadian province of Quebec.
The islands form the territory equivalent to a regional county municipality (TE) and census division (CD) of Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

The islands also form the urban agglomeration of Îles-de-la-Madeleine, divided into two municipalities. These are Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine (2006 census pop. 12,560), the central municipality, and Grosse-Île (pop. 531). The current mayors are Joël Arseneault and Christopher Clark.

Tourism is now a major industry in the Magdalen Islands, as in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, partly because of the depletion of the fish in the area. The islands are particularly appealing to French-speaking Québécois, who can enjoy the ocean and speak their native language. The island has many kilometres of white sand beaches, along with steadily eroding sandstone cliffs. It is an excellent destination for bicycle camping, sea kayaking, windsurfing and kitesurfing. During the winter months, beginning in mid-February, eco-tourists visit to observe new-born and young harp seal pups on the pack ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence surrounding the islands.

No comments: