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Grand Pré... commemoration of the Acadian deportation
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-06-22 19:19:59 | Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada
Keywords: Historic, UNESCO
In 1755, after the English were fed up by the resistance of the Acadians (of French origin) in Nova Scotia that they decided to deport them all away to eliminate the problem they had. They moved thousands of people all over the nearby English colonies (area now known as New England). The site commemorates the events around this horrible stain of history. I was very touched by the visit.

I'm not Acadian, I'm Quebecer... but we're just like cousins. 4 years after the beginning of the Deportation, the British conquered Quebec City and then the province of Quebec fell under English control, so I have a clear connection to the events that took place here. Just as in Quebec we still have bad feelings about having been abandoned by France in 1759, the people here still hate the British for what they've done here (even if an official excuse was provided by the Queen a few years ago), while the French government then did nothing to help. The colonies in North America were just pawns in the game of chess involving the powers of the era.

Being on the site of this tragedy made me feel a lot like when I visited the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. I could feel the horrors experienced there; all the families forced out of their home and put on boats to be moved to a location unknown to them. I walked around the site for about an hour. I don't think I could have stayed much longer than that, because of the suffering I was feeling.

On the site itself, you have an interpretation centre with exhibits and a movie depicting the events, but I didn't watch those since I was already too familiar with the facts. To me, the highlights were the statue of Evangeline and the replica of the church.

Evangeline is a fictional character from the works of the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. To this date, this poem written in 1847 remains one of the highlights of his works. It inspired a lot of Acadians who identified themselves in the character from the poem. Evangeline has become an icon in the Acadian culture and a real symbol of their struggle in the last 150 years.

The church is not an active religious site, but it's a replica of the building in which all men were kept prisoner by the British soldiers and were told about the deportation. The location of the church is approximate since they never found the remains of the original building which was destroyed by fire a long time ago.

Although not on the memorial site, there's another monument nearby that is related to these events... it's the Acadian cross, which is located where the Acadians were put on small boats to be put on ships for the deportation. The location is kinda hard to find, because it's behind a fairy farm, at the end of a small rural road. So, you need to know exactly where it is (the information can be obtained at the visitor center of the memorial site).

So, it's a small site I highly recommend to visit and remember the victims of this crime against humanity, although it happened 200 years before the term even existed. I know I won't forget this place and the suffering it represents.

Related posts:
What I've seen in Mexico
Historic centre of Tlacotalpan
Cahokia Mounds
Lunenburg, a double historical location
Quebec City : oldest city in North-America


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