Chaleur Bay (La Baie-des-Chaleurs) is a region of the Gaspé Peninsula. It has the second longest natural strip of sand in the world, making it a popular tourist destination. The region's salmon rivers are world-renowned.
From west to east:
- 1 Carleton-sur-Mer — a town on the south shore of the peninsula recognized for its beaches, one of the most beautiful campsites in Quebec
- 2 New Richmond — a town that celebrates its history with a British Heritage Museum
- 3 — a city rich in Acadian culture; the Acadians arrived as refugees when they were deported from what are now the Maritime provinces in 1775
- 4 New Carlisle — a town on the south shore of the peninsula that was founded by Loyalists fleeing the United Statesand which still has an English-speaking population
- 5 Paspébiac — famous for the Banc de Pêche de Paspébiac, a large sandbar jutting out into the bay which has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada
Chaleur Bay is the region comprising the south of the Gaspé peninsula bordering the Chaleur Bay, which is one of the most beautiful bays in the world. The region covers just over 100 km². The territory includes mountains, the boreal forest, many rivers, farmland and, of course, the shores of the bay.
Chaleur Bay is an arm of the Gulf of St. Lawrence separating the Gaspé Peninsula from New Brunswick . Before the arrival of Europeans, the Micmac First Nations people used this body of water for fishing and named it "Moweaktabaak", which means "large bay", or "Maoi Pôgtapai", which means "the excellent bay".
Its name comes from the temperate waters of Chaleur Bay (near 20 °C) which inspired Jacques Cartier on his arrival in the region. This region had a micro-climate which contrasts with the cold of the northern part of the Gaspé Peninsula. It includes Miguasha National Park, which protects the site containing many fossils of plants and animals.
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From Montreal, Quebec City or Rivière-du-Loup, take Autoroute 20 east until it ends at Mont-Joli, then continue on route 132 east towards Amqui. You will enter the region of Chaleur Bay in Pointe-à-la-Croix. From Quebec City, it is an 8-hour drive to reach New Richmond. It is also possible to take Route 195, which corresponds to Trans-Canada Highway 2, south from Rivière-du-Loup and continue in New Brunswick on Highway 2, turn on Route 17 to Campbellton and then cross the Ristigouche River to arrive at Pointe-à-la-Croix which is the gateway to the La Baie-des-Chaleurs region. The route is therefore a little shorter than that following route 132.
Since Route 132 circles the Gaspé Peninsula, it is also the access route to the region from the east of the Gaspé Peninsula.
From New Brunswick, you only need to reach Campbellton to cross directly into Quebec in the Pointe-à-la-Croix region.
- Orléans Express, toll-free: . The Orléans Express intercity bus network goes around the Gaspé peninsula. The Rimouski—Percé—Gaspé line crosses the Chaleur Bag region along Route 132 and stops in several towns and villages: Rimouski, Mont-Joli, Amqui, Matapédia, Pointe-à-la-Croix, Carleton, New Richmond, Bonaventure, Paspébiac, Port-Daniel, Chandler, Grande-Rivière, Percé, Gaspé.
- Orléans Express, toll-free: , . Buses cross the region from east to west along route 132.
Route 132 is the main highway in the region. It follows the coast of Chaleur Bay.
Learn about the history of the region's settlers at the Quebec Acadian Museum in Bonaventure, and at the British Heritage Museum in New Richmond. In New Carlyle, you can visit a statue commemorates Rene Levesque, who grew up in the town, founded a political party that seeks independence for Quebec, and served as Quebec's premier from 1976 to 1985.
The Bioparc de la Gaspésie in Bonaventure is a wildlife park showcases about 40 of animals species native to Quebec, along with amphibians and reptiles.
Miguasha National Park has a paleontological discovery trail and a museum.
St Elzéar Cave in Saint-Elzéar-de-Bonaventure is almost 500,000 years old: it has stalactites, stalagmites and moon milk (a mysterious, semi-liquid deposit found in caves).
With gorgeous sandy beaches fronting some of the warmest water on the Canadian coast, you might call Chaleur Bay a sort of "Québécois Riviera".
Cime Aventures offers canoeing, kayaking, standup paddleboarding (SUP), snorkelling and tubing on the Bonaventure river in the summer, along with an aerial course and 2 ziplines.