Gulf of Saint Lawrence facts
The Gulf of Saint Lawrence (French: golfe du Saint-Laurent) is the outlet of North America's Great Lakes via the Saint Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean. It is the world's largest estuary. It is a semi–enclosed sea, covering an area of about 236,000 km2 (91,000 sq mi) and having 35,000 km3 (7.7×1015 imp gal) of water.
The gulf is bounded on the north by the Labrador Peninsula, to the east by Newfoundland, to the south by the Nova Scotia peninsula and Cape Breton Island, and to the west by the Gaspé and New Brunswick. It has Anticosti Island, Prince Edward Island, and the Magdalen Islands.
Besides the Saint Lawrence River itself, some of the tributaries of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence include the Miramichi River, the Natashquan River, the Restigouche River, the Margaree River, and the Humber River. Arms of the Gulf include the Chaleur Bay, Miramichi Bay, St. George's Bay, Bay of Islands, and Northumberland Strait.
The gulf flows into the Atlantic Ocean through the following outlets:
- The Strait of Belle Isle between Labrador and Newfoundland (17 km wide and 60 m at its deepest).
- The Cabot Strait between Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island (104 km wide and 480 m at its deepest).
- The Strait of Canso between Cape Breton Island and peninsular Nova Scotia (1 km wide and 60 m at its deepest).
St. Paul Island, Nova Scotia, off the northeast tip of Cape Breton Island, is called the "Graveyard of the Gulf" for its many shipwrecks. Getting to the island is controlled by the Canadian Coast Guard.
Bonaventure Island on the eastern tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, Île Brion and Rochers-aux-Oiseaux (Bird Rock) northeast of the Magdalen Islands are important migratory bird sanctuaries. They are administered by the Canadian Wildlife Service.
The Government of Canada maintains national parks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence estuary at Forillon. It is on the eastern tip of the Gaspé, Prince Edward Island on the north shore of the island. Kouchibouguac is on the northeast coast of New Brunswick. Cape Breton Highlands is on the northern tip of Cape Breton Island. Gros Morne is on Newfoundland's west coast. And a national park reserve is in the Mingan Archipelago on Quebec's Côte-Nord.
Bathymetry of the gulf, with the Laurentian Channel visible
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