Like many of the surrounding communities, Gaspé is quite unremarkable except for one thing—the Forillon National Park lies wholly within the city limits, giving it a cachet that few other cities can claim. The fact that French explorer Jacques Cartier landed here on his first voyage across the Atlantic in 1534 has earned the city the title "Birthplace of Canada." By the mid-1700s it was an important cod-fishing center; later it hosted a duty-free port attracting European and American ships. It was also a military base in World War II, but it wasn’t until 1959 that Gaspé finally gained true city status.
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