Travel to the Northeast tip of NB to Hear French Speaking Locals
The Acadian Village and museums are great places to learn about the French-speaking people of New Brunswick, Canada.
Travelling through the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick, Canada is a fun road trip. Well-maintained highways and friendly people greet visitors at every turn: to get on their good side, make the effort to speak a few words of French in this bilingual province.
One of the first things to learn is about the Acadian deportation. The French colony existed in the province beginning in 1604, but the Acadians were expelled between 1755-1763 when the British took over and shipped almost two-thirds of them off to the American Colonies, Great Britain and France.
Set up all throughout the Acadian Peninsula are charmingly tiny museums that tell this history. Here are a few not to miss:
Museum of Tracadie (399- 222 rue du Couvent, Tracadie-Sheila, 506-393-6366): This welcoming historical spot has been a school, a hospital and an orphanage. It was the first Francophone hospital in the Maritimes and all the exhibits are in both French and English. It also has a fantastic exhibit (possibly the only one so extensive) on how the nurses dealt with leprosy in the 19th century.
The Monument Lefebure (480 rue Centrale, Memramcook, 506-758-9808/1-877-765-1896): This National Historic Site of Canada is a beauty. The historical building is a site unto itself, but the Acadian Odyssey exhibit inside is extremely engaging. Large visual boards tell Acadian history, interactive stations keep active minds animated and the gift shop has an extensive collection of Acadian music selections for the rest of the road trip.
Acadian Museum of Caraquet (15 boulevard St-Pierre East, Caraquet, 506-726-2682): This small building has some great fishing relics, stories of how the Acadians lived and much history about the Acadian deportation. Some of the info boards are only in French, but it’s still worth a look for Anglophones.
Acadia Deportation and Culture
For those who need a more hands on experience when learning about history, these three attractions are not only some of the most popular in the province, but completely absorbing.
Le Pays de la Sagouine (57 rue Acadie, Bouctouche, 506-743-1400/1-800-561-9188): Those who grew up with Antonine Maillet’s famous novels will be delighted to know that this site is a recreation of the village in her books, complete with costumed characters. There’s live entertainment, characters who speak as if they’re still in the stories and a fantastic Acadian buffet lunch. For Anglophones, make sure to mention that at admissions so staff can look up the times for the English shows.
The Acadian Village (14311 Route 11, 506-726-2600/1-877-721-2200): This entire Acadian village is set up as life would have been in the 18th and 19th centuries for Acadians. Walk through the historical buildings, talk to their authentically costumed interpreters and take part in the interactive portions. The on-site restaurant is particularly busy (with a small but delicious Acadian menu) and the whole site is actually self-sufficient.
Fort Beauséjour-Fort Cumberland (111 Fort Beaséjour Road, Aulac, 506-364-5080): To stand on the earth that the early Acadians used to defend their colony make the trip to Fort Beauséjour worthwhile. The interior exhibits are interesting, but it’s outdoors on the rolling hills and inside the carved out sections that travellers really have fun. They claim that this is the spot where the Acadian deportation took place, here on the star-shaped hills where the ruins still exist. Kids love standing on top or heading underground to see where prisoners were held and where the barracks existed.