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View of the second, third and first-class hotels next to the wash house and the Celtic cross, 2007

ARCHIVED - In Quarantine:
Life and Death on Grosse Île, 1832-1937

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This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Banner: Black and white photo collage of a young woman wearing a white blouse, two men with moustaches and suits, two women, and a stone Celtic cross

Introduction

In the 19th century, an increasing stream of people was leaving Europe to rebuild their lives in North America. Around 1830, an average of 30,000 immigrants arrived annually in the City of Québec, the main port of entry to Canada. Approximately two-thirds of these newcomers were from Ireland. This unprecedented immigration on the St. Lawrence River took place at a time when major cholera and smallpox epidemics were sweeping through Europe. In order to help control the spread of the diseases, the quarantine station at Grosse Île, located in the St. Lawrence River downstream from the City of Québec, was established in 1832 and operated until its closure in 1937.

Through a variety of documents preserved and digitized by Library and Archives Canada (LAC), such as lists of births and deaths at sea, hospital registers, journals, letters, photographs and maps, In Quarantine: Life and Death on Grosse Île, 1832-1937 tells the story not only of the quarantine station, but also of the individuals who experienced life on the island.

Finally, thanks to the database Immigrants at Grosse Île, thousands of digitized documents related to individuals who lived on Grosse Île are now available through this website.

LAC gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the Department of Canadian Heritage, whose financial assistance through the Canadian Culture Online Program made this work possible.

LAC also wishes to thank Parks Canada for its participation and full cooperation in the creation of this virtual exhibition. In particular, we wish to thank historian Christine Chartré, as well as writer Sébastien Caty, both of whom are employees of Parks Canada.

Thank you also to Mrs. Pierette Boulet who graciously gave us permission to include photographs from her family archives.

Finally, a special thanks goes out to all of the archivists, librarians and other LAC staff whose expertise and dedication have helped ensure the survival of the Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada documentary heritage, so that it may always be understood, honoured, accessed, and consulted.