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The Development of the Hotel Industry

Hotels could be found in almost every village along the Gaspé Highway.

A dozen people pose on the gallery of a two-storey house with a cedar shingle roof. The house is decorated with two figureheads. One, the bust of a man, was installed on the top of an observation tower that protrudes from the centre of the roof. The second is a life-sized sculpture of a woman, dressed in a light white dress and installed on the roof of the gallery above the main door. Letters have been placed on the same roof to indicate the name of the inn: Old Inn Hotel Restaurant Hotel la Vieille Auberge

Adorned with figureheads from wrecked ships, the Vielle Auberge in Ste-Flavie offered information, food and accommodation – and a combination of charm and character.


They came in all sizes and price ranges, from 100-room hotels in Metis Beach, Matane and Gaspé to small roadside inns in Baie-des-Sables or Cap-Chat. Some were on the shoreline, others higher up hillsides to offer grand views of the surrounding landscape.

Black and white photograph of a series of tourist cabins in Percé. A 1933 car is parked in front of the first cabin.

In the seaside setting of Percé, modest wooden cabines were built next to the ocean, their windows opening onto the waves and the beach.


Hotel operators in the Gaspésie have always shown ingenuity and a capacity to adapt to changing times and needs. With the evolution of the clientele, the size and configuration of hotels has changed enormously.

Under a cloudy sky, more than fifty aluminum caravans, the same model Airstream Clipper are aligned in several rows in a field of the city of Mont-Joli.

In an empty field in Mont-Joli in 1960, a caravan of Airstreamers congregate at day’s end.


Many of the large rambling wooden hotels built in the early 1900s were not pulled down until the 1970s. The modest cabines fought for market share with motor-hotels (or motels as they were usually called) in the 1950s, where every room had a berth for a car.

Cover of the tourist pamphlet of Metis Beach. On an orange background is written, in an alternation of black and white for relaxing, healthy summer holidays on the scenic Gaspé coast come to Metis Beach Quebec invigorating sea - air free from hayfever summer sports golf - tennis - swimming. A black and white photograph of a young woman in a bathing suit sitting on the beach divides the text into two sections.

Tourism brochures, like this one for Metis Beach, promoted the region’s key selling point – hay fever free.

Rooming houses disappeared with the arrival of regulations and inspectors. Some were re-invented as gîtes or Bed and Breakfasts. Big hotels have come and gone. Small hotels have closed only to be re-born as charming auberges. New forms of short-term accommodation that closely resemble those of two centuries ago – like couch-surfing and Airbnb rentals – are now in vogue.

What will come next? The only constant in tourism is change.