La Corporation du Parc de Gros-Cap is a social economy enterprise (NPO). The Corporation maintains, enhances and operates the natural site of Gros-Cap with the goal of offering to both locals and visitors a unique vacation spot including a great campground, dynamic accommodations, exciting adventures at sea and in the outdoors, a relaxing atmosphere, as well as stirring historical testimonies.
The township name of Gros-Cap comes from this gorgeous peninsula with massive cliffs that stretches out into the sea, which is rightly called Le Gros-Cap (meaning “the big cliff”).
Local families have been coming here for years to have a good time at camp or at the beach. Depending on the time of year, you can spot fishermen on the hunt for lobsters, scallops, mackerels or many other fish/crustaceans, as well as kayaks, trimarans and SUPs exploring down below.
On top of being a prime spot for both fishing and recreational activities, Le Parc de Gros-Cap once served as a marine biology research centre. In fact, a laboratory was built in the early 1950s. Located on the edge of the cliff, it hosted a research team led by Mr. Paul Montreuil.
The scientists studied marine species such as lobsters, seals, scallops and many others that were still unknown back then.
The laboratory consisted of five main components:
- A laboratory: where the majority of the station’s activities were held;
- A water tower: equipped with a pumping system to fill both the pool and tanks with salt water;
- A pool for seals: big enough to be the home of four seals for observation purposes;
- A Shed: used as a workshop to repair all kinds of fishing gear;
- Le Mécatina : a 57-foot-long research vessel for experimental fishing which was also used to gather biological material, label samples and more.
Between 1950 and 1969, Gros-Cap’s marine biology station was instrumental in the fishery modernization for both the Islands and the province of Québec. In 1969, the laboratory was shut down.
Upon the closure of the station, the provincial government built a campground which opened for business in 1972. In 1984, the campground and its buildings were donated to the 18-30 ans inc. organization, which ran the site for 10 years before stopping any and all activities in 1994. A year later, in 1995, the land went on sale for the value of its unpaid municipal taxes.
Back then, a citizens’ committee decided to take over the land by creating a non-profit corporation (NPO). The Township Festivities were the very first fundraising and public engagement activity that helped shape this project—and it was a real success! The process allowed for the official launch of La Corporation du Parc de Gros-Cap in 1996. It is worth noting that the Township Festivities are now a yearly gathering held during the Labour Day weekend.