Education, art and heritage

Discover the attractions that speak of the profound affection Carleton-sur-Mer residents have long felt for their culture, education and heritage: the oldest convent and the oldest Roman Catholic church in Gaspésie; Old Cemetery Park, a chapel perched on a mountaintop at an elevation of 555 metres and a wooden church with its singular architecture.

Today, Carleton-sur-Mer is a most dynamic community in terms of culture. We are active in a variety of fields, including the performance arts (theatre, storytelling, music, song, dance…), visual arts (contemporary art, fine crafts, photography…), literature and cinema. Our town is also a leading education centre in the Chaleur Bay area as it is home to a Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles campus. Our profound attachment to the arts and to education have notably grown from their roots in a school run by the Sisters of Charity of Québec (Grey Nuns) at their Carleton convent from 1867 to 1970.


Fishing, commerce and navigation

See how Carleton-sur-Mer’s seaside located has markedly influenced its socio-economic development since the 18th century by exploring four attractions: Eudore’s shed, an eloquent witness to the commercial salmon fishery; the public wharf; the “Banc des Maisons” (house bank), village hub for a century; and the lighthouse.

Herring, lobster and rock crab are the primary species harvested commercially today at Carleton-sur-Mer, where mariculture has also grown by leaps and bounds. The Carleton bank (once known as the “Banc des Maisons” or “house bank”) lies between the sandbar and the municipal beach, at the crossroads of two recreational tourism infrastructure zones. A few businesses have put down roots there, but most commercial establishments lie along our main artery, Boulevard Perron. The wharf, for which we have developed a strong sense of community, is a key gathering place for our residents.

Land and forest

Agriculture and forestry

Did you know that in addition to the sea, the land and forest have also played crucial roles in the lifestyles of Carleton-sur-Mer’s inhabitants? Take a look at three attractions that speak of their importance: the salt marsh and its sandspit, the heart of activities at the Madawaska mill for nearly 40 years; land division, a remnant of an agricultural past; and Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, a former backcountry village.

Today, there are only a few small, officially recorded farms in Carleton-sur-Mer. In addition, these human-scale farms are increasingly adopting ecological practices. As for the town’s residents, some have vegetable gardens or raise a few animals for their own enjoyment. Logging is still practised in the backcountry of neighbouring municipalities. Some people who work in the forestry sector are members of our community but the large enterprises they work for are established elsewhere in the region. Finally, the former village of Saint-Louis, absorbed into Carleton-sur-Mer in 2000, is inhabited by a few dozen individuals seeking a distinctive lifestyle.


Tourism and resort life

Explore four attractions that have emerged over time, kindled by Carleton-sur-Mer’s long tradition of hospitality: Gaspésie’s first golf club; the old Hôtel Carleton building, a vestige of the hotel infrastructure that existed here in the early 20th century; the beach; and the marina.

Tucked as it is between sea and mountain, Carleton-sur-Mer has long been a favourite spot in Québec for tourists and resort lovers. The diverse accommodations available here (hotels, cottages, bed-and-breakfasts, campgrounds and original facilities) are made all the more enjoyable by the many local restaurants and businesses. The municipal beach gained another attraction with the addition of a Citizen’s Park in 2018. Hiking and cycling trails have been laid out on Mont Saint-Joseph, a natural feature perfect for outdoor activities. At the same time, the range of water activities has expanded on our bay, a member of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World: sailing, power kiting, catamaran cruises, fishing trips… it’s just natural, given all the navigators in our past.


An ever-changing community

See how the Carleton-sur-Mer area has advanced by exploring six major historical milestones. Discover how its name and inhabitants have evolved over time, from the first Mi’gmaq to the citizens of today, by way of the initial settlers of Acadian origin and the pioneers who colonised the backcountry.

Carleton-sur-Mer today stretches from the Saint-Omer sector in the west, including the former village of Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague in the north, to the Maria headlands in the east. A cornerstone community in the Chaleur Bay area, a sub-region of the south shore of the Gaspé Peninsula, it is bordered by two natural gems: Mont Saint-Joseph (555 m) to the north and Chaleur Bay to the south. It also holds two salt marshes, one in the Saint-Omer sector and the other in Carleton. These shallow lagoons, embraced by coastal sandspits, are places of great beauty. They are richly biodiverse habitats, and delightful playgrounds for outdoor sport enthusiasts and birdwatchers.