Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-

Opening of the park: June 2, 2024 Details

Portrait of the park

History of Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé

Starting in the early 20th century as the fishing industry wound down and the population slowly dwindled, the island had no choice but to develop a second vocation: tourism. In 1971, the Québec government purchased the island and made it a nature reserve. In 1974, Percé Rock also obtained this status. The island and the rock would become a conservation park in 1985 to ensure the sustainability of the flora, fauna, and vestiges of island life unique to these places.

The Park’s Natural Heritage

The island is a sanctuary for over 200,000 seabirds and home to the most accessible and largest colony of Northern Gannets in the world. Behind the sea cliffs reminiscent of Scotland and Ireland, glades and forests are also home to some 224 forest bird species, including 60 breeding species.

The park’s natural amphitheatre geologically rich and very old: five rock formations within 2 km of the coastline, two of which are inside the park. The landscape is dominated by Percé Rock, a giant limestone formation from the Devonian period (-400 Ma) that preserves some 100 fossil species. Offshore of Percé Rock lies Île Bonaventure, an island composed of Carboniferous conglomerate (-310 Ma).

The island is populated by several land mammal species, but for the botanist it’s a garden of over 387 plant species, including some rare and arctic-alpine plants. It is also a succession of habitats; beaches and cliffs, natural meadows, uncultivated and regenerating fields, peatbogs, and boreal and temperate forests. The island is carpeted with moss and lichen, fungi and algae, which colonizes everything it touches at the edge of the bird sanctuary.

The Cultural Heritage of the Park

The cradle of New France, the island was visited by seasonal fishermen from Basque, Brittany and Normandy until the British conquest.  Anglo-French cod fishery companies eventually settled there permanently, the largest being the Boutillier Brothers. Over time, Irish, Anglo-French and French fishermen and farmers forged a community of islanders who were deeply attached to their island. Separated from the continent and exposed to the rigors of the seasons, they could only count on themselves. These people of the sea and land lived to the rhythm of the seasons for almost 300 years.

Did you know?

The Park in Numbers

Year established: 1985
Area: 5,8 km2
Annual attendance: 55,000 visit-days

Lists of Species

(in French only)

Species at risk



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