For thousands of immigrants from Europe in the 1800s, the first glimpse of North America was the hastily erected quarantine station at Grosse Île—Canada's equivalent of Ellis Island. During the time Grosse Île operated (1832–1937), 4.3 million immigrants passed through the port of Québec. For far too many passengers on disease-racked ships, particularly the Irish fleeing the potato famine, Grosse Île became a final resting place. Several buildings have been restored to tell the story of the tragic period of Irish immigration. It's necessary to take a boat tour or ferry to visit the park (some day-long cruises depart from Quebec City), and you should reserve in advance.
Croisières Lachance. Croisières Lachance runs a ferry that departs from Berthier-sur-Mer to Grosse Île for C$49.50, which includes admission to the island. From Québec City, head south on the Pont Pierre-Laporte (Pierre Laporte Bridge) and follow Autoroute 20 east for about an hour to Berthier-sur-Mer.
Follow the signs to the marina. 888/476–7734. www.croisiereslachance.ca.
Croisières Le Coudrier. Croisières Le Coudrier has tours that depart from Québec City's Old Port, Lévis, Île d'Orléans, and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré for Grosse Île. Tours cost C$73.50, which includes admission to the island. 888/600–5554. www.croisierescoudrier.qc.ca.
Québec City, Québec, Canada
418-234–8841-Parks Canada; 888-773–8888