Cap aux Meules, Île du
Île du Cap aux Meules, Qué, 50 km2, is one island in the Îles de la MADELEINE archipelago, located in the middle of the Gulf of ST LAWRENCE. It is named after the sandstone hill that supplied the stone used to make grindstones (meules in French) for flour mills. Historically linked to the Islands, its inhabitants are French-speaking and of Acadian descent but there is a small English-speaking population on Île de la GRANDE ENTRÉE and Île d'Entrée. The island is round and quite hilly with a Butte du Vent (165 m) that is surrounded by an undulating plain that was once farmland stretching to the sea.
Half the population of Îles de la Madeleine is concentrated on the island in 3 main areas: Cap-aux-Meules, Fatima and Étang-du-Nord. Industrial and commercial activities include fish plants, fishing ports and a seaport terminal of the daily ferry to Souris, PEI. A thriving tourist industry has also developed since the 1970s because of the spectacular view from Butte du Vent; the indented coasts with high red sandstone cliffs and erosion stacks; and the sand dunes extending as far as the eye can see. Cap-aux-Meules is the administrative and business centre of the Îles de la Madeleine.