One of the most beautiful areas in Forillon National Park, Cap-Bon-Ami is…

Forillon and Cap-Bon-Ami Through the Years

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In the 1970s and 1980s, Cape Bon Ami Park welcomed visitors to enjoy the superb views of the sea and cliffs at Forillon, as shows in this postcard. Photo: Albert Cassidy

Forillon and Cap-Bon-Ami Through the Years

One of the most beautiful areas in Forillon National Park, Cap-Bon-Ami is a stunning spot where the cliffs are illuminated by the rising sun. This attraction, like the many others found on the Forillon Peninsula, is now being showcased through the park’s preservation efforts.

Outstanding wild beauty

Located at the eastern tip of the Gaspé Peninsula and often referred to as “Land’s End,” the Forillon Peninsula became a national park in 1970. Its territory covers nearly 250 km2, including a marine strip that is over 150 metres wide (4.4 km2). Remarkable geological phenomena can be observed here, as can Eastern Canada’s largest colony of black-legged kittiwakes, which nest in the Forillon cliffs.

Located on the north side of the Forillon Peninsula, facing the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Cap-Bon-Ami sector boasts breathtaking scenery and outstanding natural beauty. The cape was named after Hélier Bonamy, a Guernsey cod trader from the Bonamy and LeMesurier fishing company, which set up a fishing post in Forillon in the mid-18th century. Oral tradition and cartographic evidence from the mid-19th century indicate that the Cap-Bon-Ami terrace was the main traffic route between the villages of Cap-des-Rosiers and Grande-Grave before the construction of Route 132.

Acquired by the Government of Québec in 1949, Cap Bon Ami was incorporated into Forillon National Park when the park was created in 1970. The existing facilities were reorganized, and the sector acquired lighter equipment, which better integrated into the environment to allow the public to enjoy the site in all its natural splendour. At the time, a staircase provided access to a pebble beach between the steep cliffs at the tip of the peninsula and the sea on the north side; access to the end of the Le Quai rock was permitted, as illustrated by several archival photos that show tourists on the cliff. Later, the Le Quai rock was barred to the public for safety reasons and to reduce disturbances of the harlequin duck, a species found on the rock that is designated as Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). However, the staircase leading to the beach is still there.

About 700 spectators gather every year at Cap-Bon-Ami for an unforgettable sunrise concert at 4:45 a.m. during the Festival Musique du Bout du Monde. Photo: Roger St-Laurent

Exceptional hiking and concerts at sunrise

Forillon National Park continues to pursue its mission to preserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of this territory through various restoration, research and monitoring programs.

Today the Cap-Bon-Ami sector includes the Le Quai rock, a rocky outcrop topped by a magnificent lookout overlooking the sea. This lookout gives you a front-row seat to observe seabird colonies, seals and even whales! The sector also includes a pebble beach, picnic area, service building, campground and beautiful hiking trail to Grande-Grave and Mount Saint-Alban.

From Cap-Bon-Ami, the hiking trail to Mount Saint-Alban is a 7.8-km loop. After walking 1.8 km (the first kilometre is quite difficult because of the trail’s steep incline), you will reach an observation tower that rises to an altitude of 283 metres from which you can observe a stunning view of the sea and cliffs. The whole loop takes 3 to 4 hours to complete; you can also walk to the tower and back in about 2 hours.

Cap-Bon-Ami is also occasionally transformed into an exceptional concert venue. Since 2011, the Festival Musique du Bout du Monde based in Gaspé has brought together 700 spectators every year for a 4:45 a.m. sunrise concert. In the still silence of nature, they listen raptly to the voice of an artist carefully selected to be in harmony with this wild and magnificent site. This summer, Nunavik singer/songwriter Elisapie Isaac will light up Cap Bon Ami on August 11, 2019.

To be in the loop and find out more about Forillon National Park, visit tourisme-gaspesie.com and plan your trip today! #gaspesie

Avec la collaboration de Parcs Canada

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