|WHAT TO KNOW
extension of route 138 begins at Old Fort Bay. The community has
a long and intriguing history and lively cultural traditions. Protected
by offshore islands and steep surrounding hills, Old Fort provided
a perfect port for early European fishing fleets. Jacques Cartier
erected a cross west of Old Fort at Baie des Rochers during his
first voyage to North America in 1534. In the 17th century, Old
Fort may have been the site of a major battle between the Inuit
and the Innu. The village probably takes its name from an early
trading fort built in the area by Augustin Le Gardeur de Courtemanche,
who acquired extensive fishing and trading rights in 1702.
Wharf in Old Fort
settlement of Old Fort began in the 1800s with the arrival of settlers
from England, the Channel Islands (via the Gaspé Peninsula),
and Newfoundland. Today, many residents work in the fishery.
Others are skilled guides in remote outfitting camps. Some residents
still move to summer homes on nearby islands of the Old Fort archipelago.
LOST PORT OF BREST
Oral history indicates that Old Fort Bay may have
been the site of the mysterious port of Brest, a place-name that
appears on the earliest maps of North America. Breton fishermen
made Brest the headquarters of their fishery in the Gulf of St.
Lawrence in the early 1500s. Presumably, they named it after the
city of Brest,
in Brittany, France. In his journals, Jacques Cartier records calling
into Brest in 1534, where he secured a fresh supply of water and
wood, stayed overnight, and participated in the first officially
recorded mass in Canada. Over the centuries, Brest has been the
subject of heated debates over everything from the significance
and size of the port to its exact location on the Coast.
|WHAT TO SEE
Old Fort Island
Old Fort and
Dog Islands: Contact a local
boat owner for an unforgettable visit to Old Fort and Dog Islands,
located 4-12 kilometres (2-7 miles) south of the village. These
serene islands are perfect for taking in the local lifestyle,
fishing at the dockside, digging clams, picking berries, collecting
seashells, and observing seabirds, whales and icebergs. A shipwreck
is visible from Dog Island, which was named for its resemblance
to a sleeping dog.
A walk along the waterfront will take you past a recently-restored
|WHAT TO DO
SUMMER : Hiking and walking, bird and whale watching, iceberg
viewing, boat tours, sea kayaking, berry-picking, salmon fishing,
wilderness camping, ATV
- Old Fort boardwalk: Take a stroll
along the village boardwalk at the waterfront of this scenic village.
The boardwalk will lead you past excellent views of the bay surrounding
the community. It passes a recently-restored historic cemetery
as well as interpretation panels.
- Old Fort trails: Several hiking
trails north of the village will lead you to a stunning lookout
at Granny’s Hill.
IN WINTER : Snowmobiling, ice fishing,
snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, winter carnival, hockey tournaments
Cartier Trail, Flavour Route and
Best of the Quebec-Labrador Coast