The ebb and flow of religion and economy

in the Gaspé Peninsula

VAF 2013

The 33rd annual meeting of the Vernacular Architecture Forum

Please join us in the Gaspé Peninsula for the first bilingual English-French conference headquartered in Gaspé, Québec.

Credits: All photographs published on the pages related to the VAF 2013 are taken from the collection of the Canada Research Chair in Built Religious Heritage.

Located on the northern tip of the Appalachians just at the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the municipality of Gaspé covers an area of 1,100 square kilometers with a population of about 15,000. Residents in Gaspé and Percé are excited to welcome us into their towns and invite us to learn what makes this region unique. VAF activities will be focused throughout the town center of Gaspé with main activities located at the facilities at the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, the local college and former Catholic seminary. Tour days will move beyond the town, in the area of Percé and Gaspé, to focus on the cultural landscapes and built environment of the tip of the peninsula. 

During the 4-day conference, registrants will have the opportunity to see firsthand how the ebb and flow of religion and economy in the Gaspé Peninsula fundamentally shaped settlement patterns, ethnic institutions, government policies, gender asymmetries, and power relations, all of which left their mark on the cultural landscapes of the region. It is through this overarching theme that conference participants will explore the everyday and the spiritual environments of “Land’s End.”  

Tour stops highlight the unusually rich and varied landscapes, Catholic and Anglican parishes, outdoor sacred sites, interpretation of traditional Mi’gmaq practices, sites of former fisheries, a national park, and optional tours of Gaspe and Boneventure Island; all sites illustrate the regional patterns and unique significance of towns and villages shaped by the fluctuations of a natural resource-based economy and mass tourism. For details, follow : Schedule and Tours .

In another VAF first, the public forum workshop will bring together preservationists, scholars, and design professionals from across North American and local stakeholders to discuss the region’s particular heritage conservation challenges. Intersectorial and interdisciplinary working groups will each focus on a specific site visited on the tours. Interested citizens are also invited to discuss with the Forum participants. Along with the public forum, registrants will have the opportunity to hear an afternoon of scholarly papers, partake in traditional seafood meals, and listen to traditional stories and songs. A Mi’gmaq purification ceremony opens the Tuesday evening opening reception and closes the Friday evening banquet. For details, follow : Forum Workshop and Papers .

All conference registrants will receive a copy of historian Mario Mimeault’s, Gaspésie, Regions of Quebec Collection, A brief history 6 (Québec : Presse de l’Université Laval, 2005). This book serves as the contextual essay. Registrants will also receive two bilingual field guides, one for each of the North and South Tours.

A note about travel and costs

Reaching the Gaspé Peninsula will take some planning but we promise it is worth the trip!  Travel options vary depending on the cost and amount of time you have to travel. Options include driving directly to Gaspé (especially for those in the northeastern United States and Eastern Canada); flying to Québec or Montréal and then taking second flight to Gaspé; or taking the train, bus, or renting a car for the second leg of the trip.

Once in the region, costs will be minimal – hotels are relatively inexpensive compared to more urban conferences, and all meals, with the exception of Tuesday night, the Friday evening banquet and Saturday are included in either base registration or tour registration. For details, follow : Registration , Travel and Accommodations , Practical Information , Prolonging Your Stay .

If you have any questions please contact Pascale Deschamps and Catherine McInnis at


The hosts


Thanks to our partners!