ile anticosti

Ile d'Anticosti is an island in Canada home to 600 times more deer than humans

Île d'Anticosti is where the St. Lawrence River flows out into its eponymous gulf off of the southeastern coast of Quebec. It's a nearly 8,000 km² island where more residents travel by four hooves than two feet.

Anticosti Island is home to a national park, one small town and less than 200 people but, shockingly, more than 200,000 white-tailed deer.

The deer were first introduced in the late 1800s by the island's then-owner, who wanted to turn the locale into a destination for fishers and hunters.

They ended up mating like, well, deer, and the population exploded, edging out other animals that were native to the area such as martens and black bears.

Though the deer are an obvious, adorable draw, the island is rich in other attractions, such as natural features ranging from swimmable bodies of water and hikeable cliffs and caverns. 

There are also nearly 125 km of trails criss-crossing through the area's boreal forests, and a slew of other flora and fauna, such as moose, frogs, foxes, non-migratory birds, and more.

The picturesque waterfalls and scenic, untouched views are unbeatable, making it the perfect spot for a camping excursion or a trip to get more in touch with nature.

Some parts of the island don't even look real!

Especially the 400-plus shipwrecks that dot its shores — the reason behind Anticosti's epithet "Cemetery of the Gulf."

The region is also home to a number of rare and ancient fossils, making it a candidate for a World Heritage designation.

Just imagine walking the beach and running into a boatload of history, like this one:

And spots like this humble little bridge over the coursing river would be perfect for a bit of meditation and introspection (when you're done hanging out with the local deer population and exploring old ship ruins, of course).

Basically, the whole place is an animal lover, nature lover and history buff's remote island dream.

The location's climate is also fairly temperate during all seasons — at least compared to the rest of the country — and generally evens out around 15-20 C from June to September; not too hot and not too cold.

So if you're looking for a new Canadian adventure, be sure to pack some light sweaters, practice your deer petting skills and set out to the St. Lawrence's  Île d'Anticosti.

Lead photo by

Marieve Poulin


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