Chronology of Beaubassin Village and Preservation Efforts
Bourgeoisville village is established (and is later to be named
1701 - Jacque Bourgeois dies at Port Royale, following years of
hard physical work making Beaubassin a prosperous agricultural
1713 - The Treaty of Utrecht sees France cede Hudson Bay,
Newfoundland, and most of Acadia to England, while they retain
Isle Royale (Cape Breton), and Isle Saint-Jean (Prince Edward
Island). The boundaries of Acadia are unclear,
and in the years to come this will lead to dark consequences for the
Beaubassin grows and contains 50 families.
There are 32 acres of apple orchards and the residents count 1000
head of cattle and 800 hogs as their property.
A trading post is also located in Beaubassin.
1737 - Abbe LeLoutre arrives at the fortress of Louisbourg.
Following a lengthy stay, the Abbe is posted to
Shubenacadie. In the years that follow, the Abbe becomes an
important spiritual leader to the Acadians and missionary to the
Mi'kmaq people. During later hostilities between the French
and English, Abbe LeLoutre will direct Indian raids and ambushes,
and will serve to relay French messages. Eventually, the Abbe will
have a price placed on his head by the English.
Beaubassin is where the notorious deRamezay’s Raiders headquarter.
The Raiders use Beaubassin as a base of operations during their
winter campaign against Colonel Noble in Grand Pre.
1749 - A year of British military build-up in Nova Scotia. A
garrison at Chebucto is established (to be renamed Halifax),
Fort Sackville is constructed, and a picketed fort and blockade is
erected in Minas. In the next year, British Major Charles
Lawrence will be given orders to establish a Fort in the area of
Beaubassin to counter French forces in the area.
Before Major Lawrence arrives in Beaubassin, the "Black Priest" Abbe
LeLoutre has already been
warning the villagers of serious consequences should they decide to
trade with the British. The Abbe even goes so far as to
threaten the withholding of sacraments. The Abbe further warns that
Beaubassin may have to be abandoned for nearby
the assistance of local natives, the Village of Beaubassin is
just as a British force under Major Lawrence sails up the Bay of
The French priest, Abbe LeLoutre leads the villagers across the
water to Fort Beausejour.
The English establish Fort Lawrence, near the burned village.
1755 -- Deportations
of Acadians from Nova Scotia.
The "Black Priest" returns to the Old World 1755-1772
Abbe LeLoutre sailed for France in 1755, and at the end of the
summer his ship is captured in the English Channel. LeLoutre,
undoubtedly recognized for his deeds in Acadia, is
incarcerated on the Island of Jersey for the next 8 years. He is
following the end of the Seven Years War (1763). At 54 years of age,
Abbe LeLoutre then returned to France and
3,000 Acadian refugees are now living in the country, spends the
remainder of his life working for the
finding them homes. Abbe LeLoutre died in Nantes, France in 1772 at
the age of 63.
October 1934 –
Nova Scotia Minister of Highwways, Hon. A.S. MacMillan sends a
letter to the
Chairman of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board in Ottawa asking
Beaubassin be restored as a local historic site.
Spring 2000 –
Various Federal Government Ministers are sent letters
requesting financial assistance on behalf of the Fort Lawrence
The funding request is aimed at this group buying the current
Beaubassin Village lands.
-- The Government advises that the Hon. Sheila Copps,
Minister of Canadian Heritage will be lead Minister on this file.
also advises the County of Cumberland officials that Parks Canada
have had preliminary discussions with the Beaubassin – Fort Lawrence
February 2001 –
Bill Casey, MP discusses the issue of protecting Beaubassin Village
with Minister Robert Thibault, Minister responsible for the Atlantic
Canada Opportunity Agency.
Official thanks are also sent by Casey to Minister Sheila Copps for
her attention and cooperation on this issue.
meeting is held with Finance Minister Paul Martin to provide
and to seek his assistance with Federal Funds.
Summer 2001 –
Grand Pre receives $5 million dollars in Federal funding to upgrade
the Acadian site
in anticipation of the 2004 Acadian Congress, to be held in Nova
The Government is pressed to not forget Beaubassin.
September 2001 –
The Council of the Municipality of the County of Cumberland passes a
requesting the Government of Canada purchase the lands located in
Fort Lawrence, NS
(the lands formerly known as Beaubassin).
October 2001 --
A presentation is delivered on Beaubassin Village to officials
from Minister Sheila Copps office. The officials are pressed to
protect this heritage site.
Heritage Officials agreed to arrange a meeting between Parks Canada,
and the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association to
determine possible funding options for the lands.
Hon. Robert Thibault (ACOA Minister) is invited to unveil Beaubassin
plaque later in the fall.
December 2001 -
An official reminder is sent to Hon. Robert Thibault
about his unveiling the Beaubassin Memorial plaque.
February 2002 --
Parks Canada officials advise the County of Cumberland that Historic
have met with a representative of the Fort Lawrence-Beaubassin Task
The representative of the Task Force was expected to prepare for a
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Specific contact information for the local Parks Canada official was
given at this time.
May 2002 –
The Government is again requested to move ahead with protecting the
Beaubassin Village site.
The Co-ordinator for the 2004 Congrés Mondial Acadian believes
the MP Bill Casey's pressure, and community involvement are all
steps in the right direction.
June 2002 -
Bill Casey MP raises the question of federal support
for acquiring and preserving Beaubassin in the House of Commons.
The Hon. Sheila Copps advised the House that she supported the case
and appreciated Casey work on the issue.
MP has also has a discussion with Parks Canada officials
and receives status update on the issue.
The official explains the process followed by
the Historic Sites and Monuments Board.
August 2002 -
The Government of Canada announces the Atlantic Canada Cultural and
The three-year, $10 million Atlantic Canada plan is designed to help
the upcoming 400th anniversary of the founding of Acadia.
August 2002 –
The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Hon. Sheila Copps announces
funding of $165,000 for
the Societé Nationale de l`Acadie (SNA) to help finance the
"coordination and promotion of the 400th anniversary of
the founding of Acadia".
October 2002 –
MP Bill Casey meets with Prime Minister Jean Chretien
to seek his support in securing and protecting the Beaubassin
Village site. Mr. Casey explained
the historical significance of Beaubassin, especially as it relates
to Canada’s English, French and Native peoples.
Prime Minister Chretien made recommendations to move forward on the
and asked Parks Canada officials to investigate.
December 2002 –
A meeting is held with Alain Latourelle (Director General, Parks
The history of Beaubassin Village was discussed in detail. Mr.
Latourelle outlined the steps in designating the
Village a National Historic Site. It was explained that first, this
site had to be so designated by the
Historic Sites and Monuments Board. Following that, a funding
arrangement would be needed through a partnership.
The owner of the present day Beaubassin Village site would also need
to provide authorization.
February 2003 –
The Beaubassin Village site receives recognition
in the Province of Nova Scotia’s Doers and Dreamers Guide.
March 2003 –
The current owners of the Beaubassin Village site grant permission
to proceed with the historic designation process.
June 2003 –
Park Canada officials are advised that protection of this site
is timely because of the upcoming, 400th year Anniversary
of the Acadians in Canada.
January 2004 –
Government officials advise that
an official paper will be before
the Historic Sites and Monuments Board in November 2004.
Mr. Casey is also advised that only under very special circumstances
will the Government buy private lands.
The officials also relay that once the Historic Sites and Monuments
Boards of Canada meets,
the Board will then make a recommendation to the Minister.
An internal memo confirms that Beaubassin Village will be discussed
by the Board
in November of 2004.
February 2004 –
A meeting is held with the Honourable Denis Coderre,
Minister Responsible for La Francophonie and President of the
Queen’s Privy Council for Canada
to seek his support for a local effort to preserve and protect the
June 11, 2004 –
Bill Casey visits the archeologist
team digging at the Beaubassin site. The team reports that the
Beaubassin site is just as important as the Acadian site at Grand Pre.
Fragments of glass, scallop shells, nails,
hinges, a wall, and many other items have been found. The archeology
team, as of this date, is still searching for
the location of the Acadian cemetery.
Local community officials are also
excited by the finds, and look forward to more discoveries from
June 18, 2004 –
A massive wooden cross is raised at
Beaubassin to the excitement of the community and organizers.
The cross, which can be clearly seen for miles, will be used as a
centrepiece for the upcoming outdoor mass scheduled for
August. Some 9,000 Acadian descendents are expected to attend.
It is important to note those who
played a role in raising the cross at Beaubassin (to be updated
frequently of course!)
Gordon Hebert, a Member of the Celebrating Beaubassin Committee, and a
co-coordinator of the upcoming outdoor mass,
and Bert McWade, Chair of the Committee both played large roles in
this effort. Cumberland County officials and the
representatives of the descendent families who are hosting reunions in
the Amherst area have also given much of their
time to this project.
2004 --- Father Vernon Driscoll,
Parish Priest for the St. Charles Church in Amherst blesses the
cross in North America, located near the original site of Beaubassin
The Amherst Daily News reports on June
23, 2004 that Father Driscoll conducted this ceremony on the site
“was the former home and last known home of the Notre Dame
d’Assomption church that burned in 1750.” Other
religious leaders including Deacon Mark Cherry and Father Edmour
Babineau joined Father Driscoll at this event.
Father Babineau is reported to have descended from Acadians in the
Dieppe area. The event was also to pay tribute
to First Nations peoples who lived in the area before European
The cross is 60’ tall with a 16-foot
cross arm. It was erected, and will be lit with strong community
the Nova Scotia Power Corporation, Harrlson’s Building Centre, and the
Knights of Columbus.
The cross was put in place in
anticipation of the bilingual mass to be held at Beaubassin in
July 23, 2004 - Minister of the Environment, the Hon. Stephane
Dion announces that Parks Canada will protect approx. 137
of land which were formerly part of the Village of Beaubassin. The
protected areas will include the ruins of the Acadian cemetery,
a large portion of the ancient Acadian village, and Fort Lawrence.
August 6, 2004 - Dawn Smith, coordinator of CMA 2004 in
Cumberland County announces that the original bell from the old
Beaubassin Notre-Dame L'Assomption church, which was burned down in
1750, will be used in the mass on August 14.
much work by reunion and mass organizers, Parks Canada agreed to loan
the historic bell for use during the mass. Preparations
are underway to transport the bell the short distance from Fort
Beausejour to the Beaubassin site using a special cradle.
For all who attend the mass on August 14, this artifact will
certainly symbolize yet another piece of their shared ancestry.
August 12, 2004 --
The historic church bell which once hung in
the Church of Notre-Dame l'Assomption,
is prepared by
staff in Beausejour for a journey back to the former village area.
The bell will be rung to call the Acadians, friends, and neighbours
to mass on Saturday, August 14.
Late Fall 2004 -
The latest word
from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada is that
between December 2nd-5th,
the Board will
meet in a closed session to review a research paper detailing the
18th Century conflict between
the French and
English forces in the Chignecto Isthmus.
The Board will
also consider the importance to which Beaubassin Village, Fort
and other major
regional sites played in this conflict.Parks Canada has already
protected much of Beaubassin Village
by acquiring the
lands earlier this summer,and next spring the final word on
Beaubassin Village being
national historic site will be made.