By Tina Comeau
The official launch of the Acadian Passport, an initiative designed to take people through a journey of Acadian heritage, takes place on Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 3 p.m.
The launch is taking place at the Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal.
The Municipality of the County of Annapolis has partnered with the Municipality of Clare, Rendez-vous de la Baie, Le Village Historique Acadien in West Pubnico, the Musée des Acadiens des Pubnicos, Grand Pré (Parks Canada), Fort Anne and Port Royal Habitation (Parks Canada) and the Historic Gardens (Annapolis Royal) to offer people an opportunity to learn about the Acadian story in its entirety, starting from its roots to the present day.
The Acadian Passport was introduced earlier this summer and the initiative will continue for years to come. Although the official launch is only taking place now the passport was introduced earlier this summer to take advantage of the visitors in the region during the Finale des Jeux de l’Acadie, which were hosted by the Municipality of Argyle.
Roger d’Entremont, executive director of the historical Acadian village in West Pubnico, thinks the passport is a great initiative.
“It’s a great promotional tool that we have developed. The visitor is going to be able to learn about the Acadian story right from its roots to present day and that’s our goal,” he says. “We wanted to make it easier for the visitor to do all aspects of the story by tying all of these eights sites together.”
D’Entremont says what people have observed over the years is that many people have knowledge of bits and pieces of the Acadian story but not everyone has necessarily tied all of these pieces together.
And with the eight sites that are part of the Acadian passport split up geographically, the incentive maybe hasn’t been there for people to travel to all of the sites.
“This promotional tool here will enable them, if they have the time, to do the entire story,” d’Entremont says. And, he says, it’s not only visitors from outside the province or outside of the region that can benefit from this. People living in the region can also benefit.
“I meet people that live just down the road or 10 kilometres down the road, we start talking about the Acadian story and I tell them stuff that they never knew, they’re blown away, even though they are Acadian,” he says.
Through the eight sites that have been deemed as historically significant, tourists and locals in search of their family roots are given a map with the eight locations marked. There are corresponding blank spaces provided for passport stamps, which are stamped at each of the sites that the person visits. D’Entremont says people can choose where to start and finish their journey, whether it be Port Royal where it all began, Grand Pré where the deportation took place, the Acadian village which explores the era of prosperity in the early 1900s or Rendez-vous de la Baie in Clare for a glimpse of where things stand today.
(With files from the Annapolis Spectator)
The eight Acadian Passport sites are:
• Grand-Pré National Historic Site – Life in Grand-Pré from the first settlement in 1682 to the deportation in 1755.
• Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal – 17 acres of heritage-themed gardens, including a reconstruction of a 17th century Acadian home overlooking what was the Belliveau marshland in early Acadie.
• Le Village Historique Acadien in West Pubnico – In this early 1900s Acadian village, situated on a 17-acre site overlooking Pubnico Harbour, experience a language, culture, and way of life that has thrived along this shore for more than 350 years.
• Musée des Acadian, West Pubnico – Discover the Acadian history of Pubnico dating back to 1653, an Acadian community which is still occupied by the descendants of its founders. Learn about the Acadian people, hear their stories, and take part in their culture. Archival treasures and artifacts spanning more than four centuries.
• Sainte-Marie Church, Church Point – Learn how the Acadians built this structure, the largest wooden church in North America.
• Rendez-vous de la Baie, Church Point – This Acadian cultural and interpretive centre is the starting point for exploring the region of Clare along St. Mary’s Bay, a post-deportation region with a vibrant Acadian culture. Museum, art gallery, visitor information, boutique, and more.
• Port-Royal National Historic Site, Port Royal – Discover this reconstructed 1605 French habitation, one of the earliest European settlements in North America.
• Fort Anne National Historic Site, Annapolis Royal – Canada’s oldest national historic site, the scene of the struggle for empire between the British and French.