Magdalen Islands

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine" redirects here. For the municipality, see Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec. For the African island, see Îles des Madeleines.
Magdalen Islands
Magdalen Islands.png
The Magdalen Islands
Geography
Location Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates 47°26′54″N 61°45′08″W / 47.44833°N 61.75222°W / 47.44833; -61.75222
Area 205.53 km2 (79.36 sq mi)
Country
Province  Quebec
Demographics
Population 12,781 (as of 2011)
Density 62.2 /km2 (161.1 /sq mi)

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 kilometres (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. Its geographical code is 01.

The islands also form the urban agglomeration of Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, divided into two municipalities. These are Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine (2011 census pop. 12,291), the central municipality, and Grosse-Île (pop. 490). The mayors are Jonathan Lapierre and Rose Elmonde Clarke.

Geography[edit]

There are eight major islands: Havre-Aubert, Grande Entrée, Cap aux Meules, Grosse-Île, Havre aux Maisons, Pointe-Aux-Loups, Île d'Entrée and Brion.[1][2] All except Brion are inhabited. There are several other tiny islands that are also considered part of the archipelago: Rocher aux Oiseaux, Île aux Loups-marins, Île Paquet and Rocher du Corps Mort.[3]

The islands' interiors were once completely covered with pine forests.[2]

An ancient salt dome underlies the archipelago.[1][4] The inherent buoyancy of the salt forces the uplift of overlying Permian red sandstone.

Nearby salt domes are believed to be sources of fossil fuels.[5] Rock salt is mined on the Islands.[6]

History[edit]

Jacques Cartier was the first European to visit the islands, in 1534. However, Mi'kmaq Indians had been visiting the islands for hundreds of years as part of a seasonal subsistence round[7] probably to harvest the abundant walrus population. A number of archaeological sites have been excavated on the archipelago.

It was named in 1663 by the seigneur of the island, François Doublet, after his wife, Madeleine Fontaine.[8] In 1755, the islands were inhabited by French-speaking Acadians. When the British expelled the Acadians from the rest of what are now the Maritime Provinces of Canada, they did not come as far as the Magdalen Islands. To this day, many inhabitants of the Magdalen Islands (Madelinots) fly the Acadian flag and think of themselves as both Acadians and Québécois.

The islands were administered as part of the Colony of Newfoundland from 1763 until 1774, when they were joined to Quebec by the Quebec Act.

A lighthouse at Les Caps

A segment of the population are descendants from survivors of the over 400 shipwrecks on the islands. The islands are the location of some of Quebec's oldest English-speaking settlements, and although the majority of anglophones have since been assimilated with the francophone population or migrated elsewhere, there are still English-speaking settlements at Old Harry, Grosse-Ile, and Entry Island. As well as the English-speaking settlements, the islands are known for their world famous children's French camp. Activities include sand-castle competitions and a night alone in the woods.

Lighthouses were eventually set up, and this reduced the number of shipwrecks, but there are still many old hulks on the beaches and under the waters.

Until the 20th century, the islands were completely isolated during the winter, since the pack ice made the trip to the mainland impassable by boat. The inhabitants of the island could not even communicate with the mainland. In the winter of 1910 the underwater cable that allowed telegraphic communication broke. The population of the islands sent an urgent request for help to the mainland by writing many letters and sealing them up inside a molasses barrel (or puncheon), which they set adrift. When this reached the shore, on Cape Breton Island, the government sent out an icebreaker to bring aid. Within a few years, the Magdalens were given one of the new wireless telegraph stations so that the inhabitants could at least have some communication in the winter. The puncheon is now famous, and every tourist shop sells replicas.

At one time, large walrus herds were found near the islands but they had been eliminated due to overhunting by the end of the 18th century. The islands' beaches provide habitat for the endangered Piping Plover and the Roseate Tern.

Demographics[edit]

Population[edit]

Historical Census Data - Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec[12]
Year Pop. ±%
1991 13,991 —    
1996 13,802 −1.4%
Year Pop. ±%
2001 12,824 −7.1%
2006 13,091 +2.1%
Year Pop. ±%
2011 12,781 −2.4%

Language[edit]

Canada Census Mother Tongue - Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec[12]
Census Total
French
English
French & English
Other
Year Responses Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop %
2011
12,660
11,900 Decrease 1.1% 94.00% 695 Decrease 16.3% 5.49% 40 Decrease 20.0% 0.32% 25 Decrease 61.5% 0.20%
2006
12,975
12,030 Increase 1.9% 92.72% 830 Increase 16.9% 6.40% 50 Increase 100.0% 0.38% 65 Increase 62.5% 0.50%
2001
12,575
11,800 Decrease 8.7% 93.84% 710 Decrease 0.7% 5.65% 25 Decrease 58.3% 0.20% 40 Increase 300.0% 0.32%
1996
13,730
12,925 n/a 0.00% 715 n/a 0.00% 60 n/a 0.00% 30 n/a 0.00%

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Grindstone Island (Cap aux Meules)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11.5
(52.7)
9.0
(48.2)
10.9
(51.6)
15.6
(60.1)
23.3
(73.9)
27.0
(80.6)
29.4
(84.9)
31.1
(88)
26.6
(79.9)
21.2
(70.2)
16.1
(61)
11.3
(52.3)
31.1
(88)
Average high °C (°F) −3.1
(26.4)
−4.3
(24.3)
−1.0
(30.2)
3.8
(38.8)
10.5
(50.9)
16.1
(61)
20.4
(68.7)
21.0
(69.8)
16.8
(62.2)
10.9
(51.6)
5.2
(41.4)
0.2
(32.4)
8.0
(46.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) −6.4
(20.5)
−8.2
(17.2)
−4.1
(24.6)
1.2
(34.2)
7.0
(44.6)
12.5
(54.5)
17.1
(62.8)
17.8
(64)
13.9
(57)
8.2
(46.8)
2.8
(37)
−2.3
(27.9)
5.0
(41)
Average low °C (°F) −9.7
(14.5)
−12
(10)
−7.1
(19.2)
−1.5
(29.3)
3.5
(38.3)
8.9
(48)
13.8
(56.8)
14.6
(58.3)
10.9
(51.6)
5.6
(42.1)
0.4
(32.7)
−4.8
(23.4)
1.9
(35.4)
Record low °C (°F) −25.6
(−14.1)
−26.3
(−15.3)
−22.1
(−7.8)
−12.9
(8.8)
−4.7
(23.5)
1.1
(34)
7.5
(45.5)
6.6
(43.9)
−2
(28)
−3.9
(25)
−10.5
(13.1)
−18.6
(−1.5)
0
(32)
Precipitation mm (inches) 99.6
(3.921)
75.2
(2.961)
83.8
(3.299)
74.6
(2.937)
64.3
(2.531)
61.8
(2.433)
61.9
(2.437)
74.8
(2.945)
76.0
(2.992)
94.7
(3.728)
101.9
(4.012)
118.6
(4.669)
987.3
(38.87)
Rainfall mm (inches) 29.4
(1.157)
24.8
(0.976)
26.2
(1.031)
44.5
(1.752)
60.3
(2.374)
61.8
(2.433)
61.9
(2.437)
74.8
(2.945)
76.0
(2.992)
92.9
(3.657)
81.7
(3.217)
55.4
(2.181)
689.8
(27.157)
Snowfall cm (inches) 73.3
(28.86)
51.8
(20.39)
58.2
(22.91)
29.5
(11.61)
3.8
(1.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1.7
(0.67)
20.0
(7.87)
62.9
(24.76)
301.2
(118.58)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 18 14 15 13 12 11 11 11 12 14 15 19 165
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 5 4 6 8 12 11 11 11 12 14 13 8 113
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 16 12 11 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 13 66
Source: Environment Canada[13]

Tourism[edit]

Cliffs along the shore of Grosse Île

Tourism is a major industry on the Magdalen Islands. The islands have many kilometres of white sand beaches, along with steadily eroding sandstone cliffs. They are a 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.[citation needed]

Industry[edit]

The island is home to Canadian Salt Company Seleine Mines, which produces road salt for use in Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the United States eastern seaboard.[14] Opened in 1982, the salt mine and plant is located in Grosse-Île and extracts salt from an underground mine 30 metres (98 ft) below Grande-Entrée Lagoon. It produces 1 million tons of salt, and employs 200 people.

Transportation[edit]

The Coopérative de transport maritime et aérien (Groupe C.T.M.A.) operates a ferry service between terminals in Souris, Prince Edward Island and Cap-aux-Meules. Groupe C.T.M.A. also operates a seasonal cruise ferry service between the islands and Montreal.[15]

The Magdalen Islands Airport at Havre-aux-Maisons offers scheduled air service to Labrador and mainland Quebec.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b K.G. Andrew Hamilton (2002). "Iles-de-la-Madeleine (Magdalen Is.): a glacial refugium for short-horned bugs (Homoptera: Auchenorrhyncha)?". Le Naturaliste Canadien. p. 36. Archived from the original on 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2014-09-09. "All the archipelago except Le Corps Mort now lie on a single submerged plateau surrounded by shallow, sun-warmed waters which gives the islands a long, mild summer for their latitude. This plateau is a weakly sloped mound resembling a huge alluvial fan 130 by 150 km; but it is in fact covered by a rather thin layer of sediment of modern origin as all sediments older than 20,000 years have been removed from the Magdalen shelf (Loring and Nota, 1973). The plateau's convex shape is formed by a "salt dome" of ancient origin." 
  2. ^ a b "Magdalen Islands". Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Archived from the original on 2012-06-16. Retrieved 2014-09-09. "The Magdalen Islands form an archipelago located in the centre of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. In total, the land, dunes and offshore sand bars of the islands comprise about 200 square kilometres." 
  3. ^ The Archipelago
  4. ^ "Ecotourism at its best". Iles Madeleine. 2008. Archived from the original on 2014-10-13. Retrieved 2014-09-09. "As the salt dome below the ground boiled up, the petrified seabed above "cracked" as it rose up." 
  5. ^ Antoine Dion-Ortega (2012-11). "Fossil fuel exploration in Quebec: Uncertainty rules". CIM magazine. Archived from the original on 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2014-09-09. "Some 80 kilometres east of the Magdalen Islands, across the border from Newfoundland and Labrador, lies the 30-kilometre-long by 12-kilometre-wide Old Harry structure." 
  6. ^ Dennis S. Kostick (1995). "Salt". USGS Mineral Resources Program. Archived from the original on 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2014-09-09. "A mine accident occurred on April 28 at Canadian Salt Co., Ltd.'s Mines Saleine underground rock salt operation in the St. Magdalen Islands, Quebec. Ocean water began entering the mine around the mine shaft, which was situated 250 meters below sea level, and continued to flood until mine engineers tried to stabilize the waterflow, which was calculated to be about 240 liters per minute." 
  7. ^ Martijn, Charles (2003). "Early Mikmaq Presence in Southern Newfoundland: An Ethnohistorical Perspective, c.1500-1763". Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 19 (1): 44–102. ISSN 1715-1430. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  8. ^ Toponymie du Québec
  9. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  10. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  11. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  12. ^ a b Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 census
  13. ^ [1], accessed 16 March 2012.
  14. ^ Windsor Salt
  15. ^ Schedule and rates - Ferry - Sea links crossing Îles de la Madeleine and Prince Edouard Island ferry, cruise on St-Lawrence

External links[edit]