Jacques Cartier was the first to discover this green covered island, which he immediately named "Ile de Bacchus" (Bacchus Island) after the wild vines that were growing everywhere. But well before the arrival of the Europeans, the natives were already calling the island "Ouindigo", an Algonquin word meaning "bewitched place". Still today, the islanders are sometimes referred to as the "Sorcerers of the Island". As the years went by, the island was given a succession of different names. But it eventually came down to one of its original names, Ile D'Orléans, again supplied by Jacques Cartier, who, on May 6th 1536, gave it this name after François the 1st, son of the King of France, Duke of Orleans.
The Île d'Orléans is considered as one of the earliest
populating places in Nouvelle France!
The MRC Île d'Orléans
The MRC of Ile d'Orleans has more than 7500 inhabitants scattered among six parishes. The island is 35 km wide long and 8 km wide. The main road, the Chemin Royal, goes all around the island and goes through each parish, and a single bridge links it to the land,
From the beginning of the colonization, the island was part of the vast domain of Beaupre. Most of the settlers called for to populate the island came from Normandie and the Poitou region, in France. A census carried in 1685 counted 1205 inhabitants (and 917 livestock).
For a short period, in 1759, the island was occupied by the Englishmen, but few traces of that presence remain.
||Witnesses to the past, more than 600 buildings are recognized by the Government of Quebec as being part of our cultural and historical heritage, including the oldest church in Nouvelle France. Some bakeries dating back to the 18th and 19th century are still active today. Unfortunately, the dozen or so flour mills, tanneries, shoe-repair shops and saddle factories that made the islanders self-sufficient have all but disappeared today.
The Manoir Mauvide-Genest is today a museum that refelcts on the daily life of the first settlers.
Only 15 minutes divise l'île d'Orléans of down town of Québec.
The very first wharf on the island was built in 1855, at Sainte-Petronille. With this new link to Quebec, the island experiences an important economic expansion. The wharf is used as a pier for trade exchange as well as a landing dock for visitors now coming in growing numbers. By the turn of the century, the Saint-Laurent Shipyard (now a maritime information park with activities) became one of the most important industries in the region. In the summertime, they built wooden ships, and in the winter, the space was used to store schooners. And all over the place, between 300 and 400 "chaloupes" (small boats) are built yearly by some twenty "chalouperies".
The Legacy of the Elders
|The inhabitants of Ile d'Orleans always worked jealously at preserving arm of their cherished island. Félix Leclerc, a renowned signer and poet, says it very well in his songs, where he talks about the land and the spirit of its inhabitants. And those who like genealogy will probably be surprised to learn that the island is the ancestral land of 317 great families from Quebec, and that 35 of them have commemorative monuments or plaques scattered all over the territory.
Thanks to its fertile land, the island produces 27 % of the potatoes and more than 520 % of the strawberries of the Quebec region. The land is also knowned for its many orchards, and people gather from everywhere in autumn to pick their own baskets of freesh apples.
Many sugar shacks can be found on the island, and the Maple Syrup from Ile d'Orleans now has a reputation that crossed the borders.
At the Domaine Orleans, you can stop by, get a fishing rod and baits, and fish your own trouts.
Get ready for a treat!