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Metis – First and Last Stop on the Gaspé Tourism Circuit

Metis is synonymous with tourism in the region. For decades, its reputation as a seashore resort drew visitors from far and wide.

Black and white photograph of the tee off of the golf course of the Cascade Golf Club. Twenty individuals dressed in the fashion of 1914 wait for the tee off on a course. Some women are sitting on the lawn. In the background, a two-storey cottage with simple Victorian architecture.

Women tee off in front of Buttercup Cottage in Metis Beach in 1914.


Metis was on the tourism map long before automobiles and good roads made the region popular and the advent of what is known today as ‘mass tourism’. Indeed the cachet of Metis contributed much to the promotion of the destination. But because the road stopped at Metis, travellers who got there rarely went further. Until the road was extended in 1929, it was a summer resort that welcomed thousands of visitors every summer, their numbers swelling the cottagers who would stay for several months.

Black and white photograph of the entrance to Parc Metis. A man and a woman observe the sign at the entrance of the site, near Highway 132.

Elsie Reford’s gardens were opened to the pubic for the first time on June 24, 1962.


For much of the 20th century, the village was known as Metis Beach. Tourists searched in vain for the beach, which is in fact a rocky shore that is rich in seabirds and seals but mostly poor in sand and places to swim.

Today Métis-sur-Mer is a sleepy community with a handful of tourism operators and many summer homes. Behind the cedar hedges lies a rich history of tourism – because most of the homes were built by the hotel entrepreneurs who owned large shoreline hotels and added cottages to offer greater comfort for the wealthy patrons who came with their families and servants for several months in the summer. This tourism economy is mostly a thing of the past. But the rich photographic record and postcards penned by tourists help reconstruct a history that offers insights into local entrepreneurship and the story of holidaying in eastern Canada.

Black and white photograph of a tennis court in Metis Beach. A high fence surrounds the tennis court. Men, wearing white trousers and a white shirt, and women, wearing a long white skirt and a white shirt with long sleeves and hat, are playing tennis. On the left side is the club house of the Cascade Golf and Tennis Club.

The Cascade Golf and Tennis Club in Metis Beach required women to don attire that was elegant but not always very practical for playing tennis.