Isle of Orleans
This island is located a few minutes from
At the foundation
Much later, the island became one of the earliest French
settlements. Its extensive shoreline offered fertile soils
which were less arduous to clear. Its forests abounded with
game, and the St. Lawrence with fish. The river also
protected the settlers from Iroquois raids.
Over the years, more than 300 families settled on the
island. It is hardly surprising that the Ile d’Orléans is
now known as the cradle of French civilization in North
So close to the
the St. Lawrence River represented the main means of
transportation for the island, islanders soon became experts
in boating and navigation. By the late 17th century, many
small shipyards had sprung up on the island and 150 years
later, shipbuilding had become an important local industry.
Islanders also became experts on what was known to be one of
the world’s most difficult rivers to navigate. Pilots would
meet European ships and guide them safely to St. Lawrence
richness of its architecture
first houses were made of wood or whitewashed stones, and
usually had two rooms: a kitchen and a common room, which
was also used for sleeping. Most of the island’s homes face
south to ensure a maximum of sunshine and protection from
the cold north wind.
The rise of tourism and the naval industry around 1850 lent
more detail to island architecture, in keeping with the
English Regency and Victorian styles.
generosity of its land
Ile d’Orléans has long been known for its fertile farmlands.
Its lush landscapes soon became the Capital’s main supplier
of fruits and vegetables. Today, the quality of island
produce is still among Québec’s best.
Every summer, Ile d’Orléans becomes an open-air market where
fresh farm produce can be bought directly at road stands.
farms also offer apple and strawberry picking facilities.
treseares of its religious past
The beauty of the island’s churches bear witness to the
importance of spirituality in the hearts of its inhabitants.
Inside are refined ornaments crafted with devotion and skill.
Many churches also contain a collection of superb liturgical
The island also has many roadside crosses and processional
chapels built to celebrate the Lord’s generosity and