Carleton-sur-Mer, located in the Gaspesie–Iles-de-la-Madeleine Region (Avignon County), was founded in 1756 and incorporated in 1787. Less than 3000 people live there.
The town is located on Gaspesie's south shore, on route 132, along Baie des Chaleurs. As to its cultural events, the International Maximum Blues Festival attracts dozens of thousands of guests who come to see local and international artists.
The first edition of this festival took place in 1992 Carleton-sur-Mer was founded by seven families of exiled Acadians who arrived on the site from Bonaventure and Restigouche following their deportation from Acadie (Nova-Scotia) in 1755.
Father Mathurin Bourg, first accredited Acadian priest, conducted the very first census among the local population in 1777. There were 177 persons living in the village at that time. Ten years later, in 1787 American loyalists settle here.
At that time the village was called Tracadieche. Eventually, the village was called by the Loyalists Saint-Joseph de Carleton in honour of General Guy Carleton, Lieutenant-Governor Guy Carleton, First Baron Dorchester.
During more than two centuries, there were two communities here: Carleton and St. Omer. On October 4, 2000 the communities decided to form a new town named Carleton-sur-Mer. In the 19th and 20th centuries local economy was centred mostly on agriculture, fishing and forest products. Besides, the deep water wharf allowed for large international vessels to load lumber. Today, tourism constitutes a significant aspect of the economy due to the beautiful local beaches, warm water temperature, sporting activities for all ages and tastes, and nice landscapes.
Actually, Carleton-sur-mer started the first thalassotherapy treatment centre in North America. Carleton-sur-Mer has become a seaside resort which has all it takes to please the traveler. At Tracadigash, at the end of banc Larocque, an historical lighthouse is open to visitors. In the small building adjacent to the lighthouse guests can learn about Carleton's heritage and attend presentations of the Pirate of the Island given by a storyteller-singer.
Vacationers can also go hunting for agates on the beach. An observation tower overlooks a colony of sterns on the route of the Quai leading to the banc des Maisons. There are 35 kilometres of hiking trails behind the towns of Carleton and Maria with belvederes from place to place. Biking trails and cross-country skating rings are available for tourists, as well as sea excursions, golfing, horseback riding, a marina, art galleries, local theatre and the International Maximum Blues Festival held at the beginning of August.
In winter, visitors take advantage the Festineiges, a lovely festival of ice sculptures, snowmobile races and many other activities.