Cross of Gaspé

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The Cross of Gaspé was originally erected on July 24, 1534 overlooking the bay of Gaspé, by the team of Jacques Cartier on his first trip exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.[1] Planting the cross symbolized the ownership of the premises on behalf of the King of France, François Premier. This wooden cross of thirty feet was probably planted on the edge of the basin north of the York River.[2]

Granite Cross at Gaspé[edit]

Monolithic granite cross in Gaspé

This cross of Gaspé was commissioned by the federal government an a cost of $7,000 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the French explorer Jacques Cartier[3] in the Bay of Gaspé on July 24, 1534. It was unveiled on Aug. 25, 1934 .

The granite cross was carved in 1934 from a block of gray granite, extracted from the Auguste Dumas quarry in Rivière-à-Pierre, Quebec. The cross weighs more than 42 tons and was transported to Quebec City on two cars by rail from Rivière-à-Pierre. The cross was then carried on a coaster to the Gaspé dock. From the dock, the cross was drawn on rollers using hoists by one of the first tractors to be used in Gaspé. It was erected in 1934 on its first base using a rail system of pulleys and cables, driven by the strength of many horses and a tractor.

A commemorative plaque located at the foot of the cross of Gaspé was inaugurated on August 23, 2009 (75 years after the erection of the granite cross), in memory of artisans of Rivière-à-Pierre, Quebec who extracted and cut this block of granite which become a monolithic cross.[4]

The cross has been located at three sites in Gaspé. From 1934 to 1979 the Cross of Gaspé was located on Queen Street, facing the current "Place Jacques-Cartier" business center, on the same site of a memorial to the Second World War. From 1979 to Fall 2012 it was located on the grounds of the Cathedral of Christ-Roi. In October 2012, the cross was moved to a new site "Gaspé, Berceau du Canada" (Gaspé, Cradle of Canada), located on the water near the Gaspé bridge.[5]

Replica of the cross at Rivière-à-Pierre (Quebec, Canada)[edit]

A replica of the cross of Gaspé was cut by Rivière-à-Pierre craftmen and erected in the heart of the village of Rivière-à-Pierre located in Batiscanie, in the province of Quebec, Canada. This cross of granite is half the height of the original cross of Gaspé.

Cross of Saint-Malo, France[edit]

A cross was erected at the Solidor Tower in (Saint-Malo), France to mark the erection as July 24, 1534 of a wooden cross by the French explorer Jacques Cartier in Gaspé.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online - Jacques Cartier". 
  2. ^ Mimeault, Mario, "Où Jacques Cartier a-t-il planté sa croix?" (Where did Jacques Cartier planted his cross?)", La Revue d'histoire du Bas Saint-Laurent (The History Review of lower St. Lawrence), vol. X1V, no. 1 (January 1997), p. 32-34. (French)
  3. ^ "Catholic encyclopedia - Jacques Cartier". 
  4. ^ Journal Le Soleil, August 22, 2009, journalist Johanne Martin, article "Croix de Gaspé: des origines reconnues" (Cross of Gaspé: origins recognized), describing the unveiling on August 23, 2009 of a plaque located at the foot of the cross of Gaspé, in memory of the craftsmen who made the cross in 1934
  5. ^ Marie-Claude Costisella, Article. "La croix de Gaspé déménage" (The cross of Gaspé moved), the Pharillon, published on October 18, 2012