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“Small island, big heart”
Review of Grosse Ile

Grosse Ile
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Attraction details
Owner description: This island historically served as a quarantine station for 19th-century European immigrants, and is presently a museum documenting their plight.
Reviewed August 9, 2017 via mobile

I have to admit that when my husband first mentioned going to Grosse Ile--a quarantine station in the 1800s, I was less than enthusiastic. However I loved my time here! This island attempted to keep deadly infectious diseases from entering the 'new world' for 105 years. Initially medical science didn't even understand the disease process. However, over the years several medical breakthroughs were made here.

The island lays a short distance east of Quebec City in the St. Lawrence River. Ferry ride is approx 30-45 minutes each way. There is a shuttle that takes visitors to various sites on the island with stops for in-character narratives. There is a hike up to the monuments (5000 Irish died in 1847 attempting to survive the potato famine). There is an interactive experience wherein visitors have a medical 'exam'. These three attractions take about 4 hours. Narration is in English and French. No restaurant on island but some snacks are available...as well as on the ferry which also has a small selection of sandwiches, etc.

Who said learning can't be fun?

Thank Mar J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 - 5 of 53 reviews

Reviewed July 18, 2017

I left for Grosse-Ile from the Montmagny area, and it was a lovely half-hour cruise to get there. Once you've arrived, you can choose from three short tours: the west side with the Memorial Cross, a train ride through the Old Village and to the old hospital, or the reception and disinfection ward. I did all three, and they all have their charms. For example, in the disinfection ward, two people dressed as a 19th-century doctor and nurse demonstrated how they checked the new arrivals for contagious diseases, and how they cleaned and disinfected the arrivals' clothes and belongings. There's also the school teacher, the parish priest, and an Irish guest of the first-class hotel on the island.
So if you are a big history buff, this is a must.
(P.S. No restaurants on the island; bring your own lunch.)

2  Thank Giannifox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2016

We had to take a boat to reach the Grosse Ile. Once on the island, they examined us as in the olden days.

However in the old days, those who seemed sick were kept behind with their families. From a distance these homes look luxurious, but this was not the case!

All belongings had to be disinfected in big steam machines. The immigrants had to take a hot shower as well. To disinfect everything.

There was so much information and we were welcome to visit any building that was open!

My highlight was near the Celtic cross. Nearby were written all the people who died here.

There were even churches here.

We even had a walk in nature. There were boardwalks. We saw a heron landing nearby.

We learned quite a lot about Canada in those days. I am glad that this place is closed now for any immigrant reaching our borders. To me it was an eye-opener

3  Thank Robby G C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2016

This historic site is serviced, animated and maintained by the government of Canada as an historical monument of the Irish coming to Canada after the Irish Potato Famine of 1847. That famine, witch was the cause of death mainly from starvation, of over a million Irish.
That island was a quarantine for all immigrants coming to Canada. And for the Irish people, it was also the last place they would see after the mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of Irish to North America.
Definitely a must see

2  Thank Rixodecimal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 6, 2016 via mobile

If you think Canada has no history - get to Grosse Isle. The guides are amazing. I teach a lot of this history as a professional genealogist, and the guides further educated me too! It's amazing. The place is soooo much more than I expected. I do have Irish ancestry, so there were many times I was swallowing tears. But my husband was equally affected with no Irish blood. Do it.

2  Thank GratefulTravellers42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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