• French and Acadian Domestic Architecture: Part I – Louisbourg

    This post is the first in several about French and Acadian houses in the Maritime Region during the years of the Eighteenth Century that ended in the deportations of 1755 and ’58. In Part I of this post, I will focus on the evidence from Louisbourg. But first it is necessary to provide a brief historical note on France of the Rococo period and of the nature of French interests in New France. This tiny detail from a painting by Samuel Scott shows an Acadian homestead, down by the water near Annapolis Royal, surrounded by rich soil reclaimed from the salt marshes. Cows flourish in this rich environment while Acadians…

  • Mi’kmaq Architecture

    The Mi’kmaq, as a distinct ethnic group, may have inhabited what they called Epekwitk, and what we now call Prince Edward Island, for several millennia. It is here that they settled and lived in birchbark shelters called wigwams.   … animate thing lying in the water ... Photo from the internet, by WestJet pilot Steve MacDonald Last year I came across an aerial photograph of the Island taken by WestJet pilot Steve MacDonald which had a profound effect on my perception of the Island. In this photo, I saw for the first time, an island disconnected from all evidence of French and British colonial contact. I realised at once that…

  • Settlement in the Forest Primeval

    THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight, Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic, Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms. Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest. From Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1847 epic, Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie.   The forest primeval, of course, had been inhabited, and in various ways managed, by the indigenous people ever since climate change had permitted the growth of these massive trees. William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854), Wigwam in…

  • A DAY OF HONOURS – Le Prix Gilbert-Buote

    Today, Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry opened Government House for a public event for the first time since the plague began. The Comité historique Soeur-Antoinette-DesRoches had been invited to hold it annual prize-giving event in the House and the programme began with introductions of distinguished guests and reminiscences by various individuals of three previous Acadian Islanders who had filled the post of Lieutenant Governor in this very building. Her Honour also explained the symbolism of the beautiful coat of arms presented to her upon her accession. Photo by Trevor Gillingwater The Comité historique Soeur-Antoinette-Desroches had decided to give me a most desirable award, the Prix Gilbert-Buote, for the work I had…

  • Island Maps: The Years after Meacham to World War II – Part 2 – Aerial Photos and Topographic Maps

    In one of my earlier posts, I described how interest in seeing things from on high had its origins in ancient times and, with the invention of photography and the advent of the aeroplane took on an extremely important role in providing new data for mapping purposes and the study and analysis of the configuration of the land for agriculture, forestry, and mining, but also for extremely accurate recording of the progress of World War I. https://regporter.com/pei/2020/04/09/the-origins-of-interest-in-aerial-views/ It was when I flew, for the first time ever, from my new home in Montreal to the Island, that I became intensely interested in the view from the air and what it…