Official Opening/l’Ouverture Officielle — Place Savalette
Invités et membres de la Société des Acadiens de la Région de Tor Baie
We wish to begin by acknowledging that we are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship,” which the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.
Je m’appelle Jude Avery, et je suis Président de la Société des Acadiens de la Région de Tor Baie. De la part de notre Société, je veux souhaiter une chaleureuse bienvenue à nos Invités, nos visiteurs et aux Acadiens de la région.
Aujourd’hui, nous célébrons l’Ouverture de la Place Savalette, qui marque le site qui nous rappelle d’une fameuse rencontre qui a eu lieu au rivage devant nous en 1607. Le développement de ce projet est le résultat des efforts laborieux et de la détermination de la part de plusieurs individus et de niveaux gouvernementaux.
Le terrain sur lequel ce projet ce réalise a été fourni par un couple généreux de cette communauté, Cecil et Darlene David/Cashin.
Welcome special guests, visitors and Tor Bay Region Acadians to the designation ceremony of Place Savalette.
My name is Jude Avery, and I am the president of la Société des Acadiens de la Région de Tor Baie—a group of proud Acadians dedicated to preserving and promoting Acadian culture in our region.
Today we celebrate the opening of Place Savalette, which is the culmination of hard work, dedication and financial contributions of many people including our Federal, Provincial and Municipal government partners who are here with us for this historic event. We are also honoured to offer a special thank you for the generous donation of this beautiful property for our park made by local residents, Cecil and Darlene David Cashin whom I will now call forward to speak.
Thank you, Darlene.
Invited guests, friends and fellow Acadians, this is an historic event and a great day for us all. To explain why we are here today and the significance of the park and it’s design, I will offer a short history.
This project began in 2004 with the local Congrès Mondial Acadien celebrations, an event that sparked Acadian pride within a small group from our communities. This small group realized we were at risk of losing the knowledge and history that links us together. That realization inspired us to collect stories and information about local history and folklore to weave into a tapestry of our heritage–a rich story that links us to an intriguing, although sometimes dark, Acadian history. More importantly, it has elevated our sense of pride in being Acadian.
However, our journey began four centuries ago when three cultures, the Mi’kmaq, Basque and Acadian people converged on this very spot. Through our efforts, we gained a much broader and deeper understanding of an era that preceded our permanent Acadian community settlements along the Tor Bay shores.
The Mi’kmaq people lived on this land and used the bay before us to harvest fish and berries for winter consumption during the summer season long before Europeans arrived, then retreated inland for winter living.
According to historical accounts, the Basques, a group of people who lived in southern France and Northern Spain, arrived here in the mid-1500s. Captain Savalette and his Basque crew of 16 men visited the Tor Bay shores between 1565 and 1607. The Mi’kmaq people living here did not ask for visas or passports, but warmly welcomed them and together they shared knowledge and information, and it is said even vocabulary was exchanged.
During this same period, Samuel de Champlain also arrived on these shores. He is credited with establishing the first permanent European settlements in North America at Port Royal in 1605 and in Quebec in 1608. However, Champlain did not come to this bay by accident. He was directed by the King of France to seek out Captain Savalette to help map these shores to provide a clear picture of the North American continent.
This led to the historic meeting that took place in 1607 on the ground we are standing on today. It was a meeting of the Mi’kmaq, Basque Captain Savalette and French Explorer Samuel de Champlain. That meeting started a valuable relationship between three cultures that strengthened through a shared knowledge of how to survive and flourish.
Use of the waterways for travel and a necessary food source is noteworthy. The historical meeting of 1607 was instigated by a desire to chart the waters for the King of France. Mi’kmaq canoes were used by the Basque to travel along the shoreline when drying their cod and Basque chalupa, a round-bottom sail and rowing boat, was adopted by the Mi’kmaq to enable deep-water fishing. This could easily be recognized as one of the first multicultural experiences in North America.
As we gathered our information, we realized the use of boats linked our three cultures. To signify this relationship and the connection to our Tor Bay shores, our park was designed and built in the shape of a boat. Not only does it recognize the people who came before us, it is a symbol of our first classroom. In boats we learned the earth was round, created maps, predicted the weather, met other cultures and ensured survival. The bow points to the future and the stern anchors us to our past.
The Mi’kmaq, Basque and Acadiens were good mariners who nurtured and maintained their boats so they would not fall into disrepair. We are learning from our past to nurture our Acadien culture, recognize the role of our Mi’kmaq friends and maintain our pride and strength as a community.
(MI’KMAQ PAQTNKEK BAND COUNCILLOR, KERRY PROSPER SPEAKS)
(RECOGNITION OF PARTNERS AND SPECIAL GUESTS)
Like those who came before us, we know that together we are stronger. Park Savallette has become a reality because of many partners.
Businesses in our community like Exxon Mobil, Seawind Landing and Waterline Graphix to name a few. Private individuals such as Lorraine and Bill Black, Park builders Tino Winter, Brian George, Gary Richard and Jonathan Dort along with community members were a large part of making today a success. In a special way we must recognize the dedication of our members of la Société des Acadiens de la Région de Tor Baie and Steering Committee Bob Weber and Blair Pellerin who must be acknowledged for their tireless efforts and support.
In addition to our local support, our three levels of government have been instrumental in our success.
The Federal Government has been a big part of this project. Keith Mercer with Parks Canada and Mark van der Weil with ACOA recognized our passion and helped us with advice and secured federal financial assistance. At this time, I would like to invite our federal Member of Parliament, Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, to come forward to say a few words on behalf of the Government of Canada, ACOA and Parks Canada.
The Province of Nova Scotia has also been a great partner. Mark Bannerman saw the potential and dedicated time and resources to our project. Our Member of the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Lloyd Hines, recognized our passion and continues to provide strong representation. Please welcome the Honourable Lena Diab, Minister of Immigration and responsible for the Office of Acadian Affairs and Francophonie, to speak on behalf of the province.
(Minister Hines Speaks)
The Municipality of the District of Guysborough has been working along side our federal and provincial partners in being a strong supporter and financial contributor to this project. I invite Councilor and Warden Vern Pitts to come forward.
Now for the moment we have all been waiting for. The unveiling of our interpretive panels, flag raising and the singing of the Canadian National Anthem and the Acadian Anthem, followed by the ribbon cutting to open Parc Savellette.
(UNVEILING: COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE POSITIONED AT THE PANELS AND FLAG)
Our community members will now unveil the interpretive panels that tell the story of historic meeting of 1607.
(MEMBERS PROCEED WITH UNVEILING OF THE PANELS).
These interpretive panels are by Waterline Graphix and they display the art work of Artist, Monika Deursch, the same artist who designed the rocks at “Parc de Nos Ancêtres” in Larry’s River.
And now, please join in the singing of the Canadian National Anthem followed by the Acadian Anthem, Ave Marie Stella, as we raise the flags. The words for both anthems are on the back of your programs.
(EDDIE AVERY TO LEAD THE SINGING AND FLAGS ARE RAISED).
Now, I ask our special guests to follow me for the official ribbon cutting.
(CHILDREN MOVE TO SET LOCATION TO HOLD THE RIBBON; JUDE GOES TO THE CENTRE TO HOLD THE SCISSORS; SPECIAL GUESTS POSITIONED AROUND JUDE HOLDING THE RIBBON. RIBBON IS CUT; PHOTOS ARE TAKEN.)
Welcome to Parc Savalette! Thank you, everyone, for being part of history. Please join us for a reception hosted by the local community at the Parish Hall across the road.