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Matane is not a tourism town. It has always been an industrial hub and a community built on serving the hinterland of the northern shore of the Gaspésie. Matane was also a service centre that was an important jumping off point for those travelling east. Because of this, it had more than its share of hotels and service centres. It was also the last place for tourists to obtain tourist information. Its lighthouse was probably the earliest tourism bureau, offering first-time visitors maps and essential information to make their stay a safe and pleasant one.

Black and white photograph of the Matane lighthouse, transformed into a tourist information office. Perron Boulevard occupies the foreground of the photograph. The lighthouse and the keeper’s house are located on the right side of the image. On the lighthouse is written: Bienvenue dans la Gaspésie. A poster on the lighthouse mentions: Berceau de la Nouvelle-France. A huge map of Gaspésie is displayed near the lighthouse.

The old lighthouse in Matane transformed into the Municipal Tourist Office.


Having nature at the doorstep however has allowed the city to develop tourism around fishing, hunting and by offering accommodation to the thousands of tourists who drive through or arrive at the ferry terminal from the North Shore.

A man, a woman and a child observe a map of the Gaspésie. The map is approximately 4 feet high by 8 feet wide. Located outdoors near the Matane lighthouse, it reads: Ville de Matane ‘Métropole de la Gaspésie.

The city of Matane promoted itself as the region’s metropolis on this roadside billboard that dates from the 1960s.


Nature is also made visible. The fish ladder on the Matane River is one of the only places in the region to see salmon up close. The curious can admire the remarkable journey that brings salmon back every year to the river of their birth to spawn. In the autumn Matane becomes a hunter’s capital, drawn by the greatest density of moose anywhere in the world.

Colour photograph of two salmon passing in front of the observation window of the Matane fish ladder.

The fish ladder on the Matane River transformed an ecological infrastructure into a tourism attraction, allowing visitors to observe the Atlantic salmon on their return to spawn.


Matane illustrates the great contrasts of the region’s tourism economy, offering seascapes and rivers, hills and hunting to visitors with often very different reasons for visiting.

Black and white photograph. In a convertible Buick, two women, Eleanor Roosevelt and her friend Lorena Hickok, are about to depart. The car is parked at the front of the La Belle Plage hotel in Matane. A doorman and bellboy from the hotel are waiting for the departure of their distinguished guests.

Among the first stops for Eleanor Roosevelt during her 1933 tour of the region was the Hôtel La Belle Plage in Matane.