Grande Entrée, Île de la
Île de la Grande Entrée, Qué, is situated almost in the middle of the Gulf of ST LAWRENCE and flanked in the north by Île d' ANTICOSTI, in the south by PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND and on the east by CABOT STRAIT. It is one of the 16 islands and islets comprising Îles-de-la-MADELEINE. The island group was discovered by Jacques CARTIER (1534) and was later explored by Samuel de CHAMPLAIN. Grande Entrée was leased to Nicolas DENYS in 1653 by the COMPAGNIE DES CENT-ASSOCIÉS. After 1787 it became part of the holdings of Captain Isaac Coffin (Coffin is the island's English name today) of the Royal Marines as a reward for services to the English Crown. A Canadian corporation, the Magdalen Island Company, bought all the islands from the absentee Coffin family in 1903.
Grande Entrée is joined to the other islands by lagoon-forming sandbars, and is characterized by rapidly eroding red sandstone cliffs. A constant hazard to shipping, the island group is noted for fishing, sealing and its spectacular colonies of seabirds. During the summer, the entire archipelago attracts many tourists.