National Geographic : 1970 Jul
Salt-tanged Gaspe FRENCH has been spoken on the Gaspe Peninsula since July 24, 1534, when Jacques Cartier waded ashore to erect a 30 foot cross and declare these unknown re gions the property of the king of France. "Canada was born here," local folk an nounce proudly. The peninsula, jutting like a stubby thumb into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, lures swarms of vacationists each summer to its thickly forested hills and fish-rich waters. Junior sea captain near the town of Perce relaxes from play and chores atop a wharfside packing barrel. 40 the countryside's habitants must be thinking. Few people, however, live along the wild lower reaches of the Saguenay. Champlain described it as "a country very disagreeable from whatever point of view; in short, it is a real desert without inhabitants." The next day, with a 50-knot gale still whistling out of the north, we scudded back to Tadoussac in an hour and a half. I sur prised the crew by booking them rooms in the huge red-roofed hotel. I had my reasons. Big waters lay ahead the wide lower St. Lawrence, the windy Gulf Tall mainmast betrays the presence of White Mist amid fishing vessels at Riviere au Renard's wharf.