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Gaspé, Quebec (Canada)

Ville de Gaspé

Last modified: 2021-02-27 by rob raeside
Keywords: gaspé | quebec |
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[Grande-Vallée] image by Masao Okazaki, 20 January 2021

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The municipality

The town of Gaspé is located in the east of the peninsula of Gaspésie, 650 km from the town of Québec. The town was named after the Micmaq word "Gespeg", "the land's end".

In 1534, the sailor from Saint-Malo Jacques Cartier landed in the bay of Gaspé and planted there a cross, taking possession of the territory in the name of the King of France. Gaspé has since then been nicknamed "The Cradle of Canada".

In 1765, decommissioned British soldiers and officers settled in Gaspé, joined in 1784 by some 315 Loyalists. The first post house in Gaspésie, then one of the four post houses in Lower Canada, was set up in Gaspé in 1804.

In the middle of the XIXth century, Gaspé lived mostly from cod fishing and, later, from trade. Some 40-50 European ships moored every year in the port of Gaspé. Italy, the USA, Brazil, Portugal and Norway open consulates in Gaspé, which was incorporated as a municipality on 9 December 1873. Gaspé is the cradle of Canadian aviation: in 1926, Count Jacques de Lesseps, commissioned by the government for the aerial survey of the forests of Gaspésie, founded a flying base in Gaspé, expected to develop aviation all over the Province of Québec; Lesseps crashed on 18 October 1927 in river Saint-Laurent and was buried in the cemetery of Gaspé.

During the Second World War, gulf Saint-Laurent was a strategic place, "visited" by German submarines in 1941. The Fort Ramsay naval base (3,000 men) was set up in Gaspé to patrol the gulf, whereas forts were built on the coast.

On 24 December 1970, the government of the Province of Québec merged 12 towns to form the current town of Gaspé, one of the largest in North America by its area (1,440 sq. km; 130 km of coasts). In 1971, the Canadian Government transformed the peninsula of Forillon into the National Park of Forillon.

Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 29 October 2007  

Description of the Flag

The flag of Gaspé is white with the town's blue emblem, made of three waves surmounting the writing "Ville de Gaspé".

The flag is shown on a colour photography published in Le Pharillon, 28 October 2007 [link no longer available]. Major Pierre Huet, from Gaspé, is pictured flying the flag of Gaspé in Spin Boldak, Province of Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Ivan Sache, 29 October 2007

Gaspé is also of significance to stamp collectors - Canada's first stamp (technically an embossed envelope) was a provisional issue created by R.W. Kelly, the postmaster at New Carlisle, Gaspé, in April 1851. Only one example is known and, understandably, it is thus regarded as one of the world's most valuable stamps. It is commonly known as "The Gaspé Threepence" or "The Gaspé Provisional".
James Dignan, 29 October 2007

A 2006 photo of the flag was posted by Luc Vartan Baronian in the FOTW Facebook group:

Recent photos show the flag is still used:
Masao Okazaki, 20 January 2021