We first visited La Gaspesie (Canada) some time towards the end of July or possibly early August; at that time, the region holders, Tzooki and XavierJacques were still working on the design: the board walks were – for the most part – laid out, but landscaping and the setting out of buildings was still going on. Given the state of play, we got out of the way and headed home – only to almost forget about the region in the intervening weeks. So when it did come back to mind, it seemed only right we hop back and take another look.
The region takes, as its inspiration the Gaspésie Peninsula that runs along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River to the east of the Matapedia Valley in Quebec, Canada, and which extends into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
Covering an area of some 31,075 sq km (11,998 sq mi), the peninsula’s northern shore is dominated by high sea cliffs, while at its easternmost point, there sits Percé Rock (or Rocher Percé), an island pierced by a natural rock arch. It is this landmark that serves as a focal point for the region’s inspiration, being echoed by the presence of a great rock wall also pierced by a narrow arch, sitting on the region’s eastern side.
Rather than being an island, this great wall of rock sits on a promontory of land, the rest of the region stretching westwards from it, mostly low-lying and cut by water channels that effectively split the landscape up into three large islands – although the number of bridges present can made it feel as if there are far more. Mostly rocky with a scalp of scrub grass, the low-lying lands are home to numerous buildings – huts, small houses, cottages – all of which are open to the public and within fairly easy walking distance of one another, a light scattered of trees adding to the setting.
Off to the south-west, the height of the eastern cliffs is matched by that of a bulky lighthouse – one of two in the region – sitting atop a hump of rock. A water tower rising from the hill of the south-east headland also tries to vie with it and the cliffs in the height stakes.
Perhaps the most noticeable feature in the region is its board walks. These hug the seaward sides of the region to the west, north and east, only turning inland to the south and south-east where a channel and a bay force them to do so. Broad in width, these walkways are periodically marked by circular sections that from above resemble wooden rosettes that seem to split the board walks into sections.
Together, these walks offer a means to pretty much circumnavigate the region – although there are plenty of ways to explore the individual major landmasses and find your way between them, as noted above. However, I have to admit I found the board walks perhaps a little too omnipresent. While they are clearly intended to offer a means of exploration (and are amenable to riding the scooters and bikes available from the rezzers near the landing point), I couldn’t help be feel they are also a little intrusive, breaking into the scene in a manner that is at odds with the otherwise very natural landscape and setting.
Now, to be honest, I have no idea if the mainland near Percé Rock is marked by board walks, and this is an attempt to emulate them (although I didn’t notice any to the same degree when looking at photos of Percé village); but it would perhaps have been nice to see come breaks in them in favour of the shingle beaches that seem to be a part of the headland facing Percé Rock. That said, there is more than enough within the region to keep eye and camera occupied without the board walks becoming too oppressive in their presence – and it cannot be denied that the region can be very eye-catching under assorted environment settings.
Finished with an excellent ambient soundscape and with a variety of things to do from sitting and cuddling to riding bikes and scooters or messing about in bumper boats, La Gaspesie (Canada) does make for an engaging visit. For those in particularly need of an unwind from the day’s stresses, a link is provided in the region’s About Land description to some 26+ minutes of “unwindulaxing” music…