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Amerindians frequented the island 3,500 years ago. They named it “Notiskuan”, meaning “the place where bear are hunted”. This word is the origin of today’s toponym, Anticosti. The bear have long disappeared, and there are currently no predators on this huge island.

Starting in the 17th century, Anticosti Island was associated with several historical personalities. Jacques Cartier, the first explorer to discover it, named the island “Assomption” in honour of the day he first saw it, Assumption Day on August 15, 1534. In around 1680, the island became a fief and seigneurie, and was given to Louis Jolliet, one of the era’s great explorers. But it was Frenchman Henri Menier who most affected the destiny of Anticosti Island. Around 1895, he bought the island as a fishing and hunting retreat. Several important developments took place while he was the owner. We owe the large white-tailed deer population to this wealthy chocolate maker. Menier in fact introduced 220 deer to the island in 1896 and 1897. Today the deer population is estimated to be the highest concentration of this animal in Eastern North America. This picturesque character also left his name to the only village in Anticosti, Port-Menier, in the western part of the island.

Anticosti later underwent moderate development. In 1967, it became the property of a forestry company, Consolidated Bathurst, which exploited forestry resources but did little to develop the community structure. In 1974, the Québec government acquired the island and divided the territory. Ten years later, the management of most of the territory was entrusted to Sépaq. In addition to offering quality hunting and fishing services, Sépaq also developed summer vacationing tourism.


Today, about 240 people live on Anticosti Island year-round, mostly in the island’s only village, Port-Menier. In 1982, the government launched the process of transferring the titles of the residential and commercial buildings to the inhabitants, and the municipalization of the Island. Island residents also became users of a part of the territory reserved to them for hunting.

More Anticosti for all Quebecers

New hunting territories totalling nearly 1500 km2 and located at the heart of the "Pearl of the Gulf of St. Lawrence" will be accessible as of the 2022 season. As of December 5, 2021, Sépaq Anticosti operations will encompass nearly three quarters of our deer island, a national treasure of great value to Quebecers that will be more accessible than ever to one and all. The new high-quality facilities – 2 lodges and 15 cabins with a total of 51 rooms – as well as 6 new hunting sectors will enable even more hunters to realize their lifelong dream of stalking deer on the natural jewel that is Anticosti Island. In keeping with its commitment to the island community, Sépaq Anticosti will promote and make use of local expertise and purchases from nearby businesses.


Near Port-Menier

Baie-Sainte-Claire and Pointe-Ouest

A few minutes from the village of Port-Menier, you can visit the remains of this abandoned hamlet, now a green plain. Not far from there, check out the magnificent view from the Pointe-Ouest lighthouse.

Château Menier Site

This is a must-see in Port-Menier. You can view the remains of the castle's foundations. One of the towers was recently rebuilt to give people an idea of this building's scale.

Parc national d'Anticosti

In the heart of Anticosti Island, the national park invites visitors to discover extraordinary attractions. Visit the Web site for more information.


The Wilcox Shipwreck

For years called "Cemetery of the Gulf" by sailors, this island sunk its claws into many a boat. The Wilcox is definitely the most accessible and impressive shipwreck in Anticosti.

Kalimazoo Falls

Sheltered from the wind in a small valley, this superb waterfall offers visitors a magnificent natural pool exposed to the sun.

Pointe-Carleton Lighthouse

Nestled atop a cliff, this mythical lighthouse is a well-known landmark.

Grotte à la Patate Cave

At your own pace, you can freely explore one of the longest underground cavities in Quebec, at 625 meters in length. The Grotte à la Patate Cave visit is the most unusual excursion on the island. Helmet and headlamp available for rent at McDonald Visitors Centre.


Chicotte-la-Mer River and Canyon

The part of this river outside the park has many secluded spots, perfect for long moments of relaxation.

Rivière Brick Canyon

Anglers and hikers love this river, renowned for its sea trout spawning runs.

Pointe Sud-Ouest

This old abandoned lighthouse offers an amazing setting in one of the island's most isolated areas. Once the site of a farm, it has several tombstones and other traces of the distant past.

Seal haulout

Not far from Chicotte-la-mer, dozens of seals bask in the sun.

Jupiter River

Even though it's only accessible to salmon fishing enthusiasts, this mythical river is an attraction in itself. Approach slowly and quietly so as not to disturb the anglers, and admire its incredible beauty.

In general

White-tailed deer watching

Welcome to an island where deer rule the roost! In the village of Port-Menier, you’ll have the chance to rub shoulders with these animals, up close and personal. Descendants of the 220 white-tailed deer introduced to the island in 1896, the population now represents the highest concentration of deer in eastern North America. Isolation from the continent protects the Anticosti deer from disease, and their particular geographical position differentiates these creatures in several respects from their counterparts on the continent. A privileged contact with nature awaits you!

Cemetery heritage

The Island's rich history left an extraordinary legacy of tombstones. You can see several small cemeteries scattered around the island.


Anticosti Island is mainly composed of calcareous rock dating back 415 to 500 million years. Due to special physical and chemical reactions, these sediments fossilized and are today visible in the rock. The island's fossil zones are considered the richest in the world and the specimens are often exceptionally well preserved. However, removing fossils from the island is prohibited.


Fact Sheet


4,177 km2

Bodies of water

48 lakes
Several streams and rivers, including 2 salmon rivers


200 bird species inventoried, including the Bald Eagle and the Ruffed Grouse


  • White-tailed deer
  • Moose
  • Fox
  • Beaver
  • Muskrat
  • Snowshoe hare


  • Atlantic salmon
  • Speckled trout
  • Sea trout
  • Invertebrate:
  • Marine mammals:

Forest Cover

  • Softwood stands:
    White spruce
    Balsam fir
    Black spruce
  • Forest interrupted by huge peat bogs and typical wetland vegetation

Wildlife Portrait

From the 220 deer first introduced by Henri Menier in 1896, the deer population has grown to the highest concentration of deer in Eastern North America.

  • The particular geographic situation of Anticosti's white-tailed deer population distinguishes it from deer on the continent for several reasons.
  • The white-tailed deer of Anticosti are most active during the day.
  • Its unique diet gives the meat a more delicate flavour.
  • The island's isolation from the continent protects Anticosti's deer from diseases. This justifies the importance of not importing natural urine to Anticosti.
  • The first snows of the winter arrive to the north of the island, and so the deer tend to migrate south. This phenomenon causes a large concentration of deer in the south in early winter, perfect for late-season hunting!

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