The following comes from a report dated September 3rd 1844 in the Quebec
"The bark Cairo, under Captain Treadwell, from Plymouth, to Atkinson, Usborne & Co., with 5 cabin and 201 steerage passengers, arrived here, Grosse Island on Sunday evening last. Eight of her passengers died on the voyage from small pox and scarlet fever. Several have been sent to hospital here and the others are in the passenger sheds."
Regulations at Quebec required all passenger ships coming up the St. Lawrence to stop at the quarantine station at Grosse Isle, 48 miles downstream from Quebec, for medical inspection.
Hospital conditions on the island were poor and passengers were as likely to die in the hospital as on the ship.
Island became particularly notorious during the years of the Irish
famine (1846/7). On May 25th 1846 one of George's ships, the brig
Ganges, arrived in Quebec from Cork, Ireland with 22 passengers.
1847. We are sorry to record the very alarming sickness that prevails at our Quarantine Station among the large number of emigrants lately arrived from Europe. Up to the 5th instant, the number of arrivals was 25,400. Of this number there died at sea 1097; the number of deaths at the Quarantine Hospital and on shipboard up to the same date was 900; the number of sick in Hospital up to June 4th, was 1150, and on board the ships at the Station at the same date, 1200; making the total number of sick at that time to be 2,700. Up to yesterday we believe there was little or no diminution in the sickness, the number of vessels detained in Quarantine being 43. Of those passengers who have been cleared from the Quarantine and come up Quebec, about 300 have subsequently fallen sick and have been lodged in the Marine Hospital. The health of the city however, we are happy to state, has not yet been at all affected.
Cecil Woodham-Smith in "The Great Hunger" estimates that 20,000 Irish immigrants died that year in Canada, 5,300, at the lowest estimate, died at Grosse Island.