A TOUR OF ACADIAN SITES NEAR CANNING (July 1/05)

Earlier this spring several members of the “Comite de la Cloche (clock committee) of the Friends of Grand Pre were taken on a tour of Acadian sites near Canning. Lewis Hazel was the tour guide. Mr. Hazel is familiar with many of the Acadian folktales about the area around Canning and Pereau, thanks in part to having a father whose activities as a treasure hunter are still talked about today.

I was invited on the tour and I regret that I was unable to take go; especially after reading the excellent report on the tour by committee member Susan Surette-Draper. Lewis Hazel was able to show the committee what are believed to be various Acadian sites between Canning and Pereau. Near the J. Jordan Road, for example, Mr. Hazel indicated a site that was an Acadian cemetery. Ms. Surette-Draper notes that the railway that once ran between Kingsport and Canning went through the cemetery.

At another site nearby Mr. Hazel pointed out a piece of land that is believed to have held an Acadian parsonage. Apparently, the site now holds a dwelling since Ms. Surette-Draper asks, “would they be interested in knowing that a priest once had a modest living space ands a small sanctuary there?”

Near the Habitant cemetery, Mr. Hazel drew the committee’s attention to a road running beside it. Hazel told the committee that this was known as the “old French road” and started as a wharf on the seashore where the Acadians brought in provisions. Leon Barron tells me that this road is also the beginning of the Six Rod Road, which runs northerly and then north-west from the shore. It’s possible, of course, that when the Six Rod Road was conceived, the already established Acadian road was incorporated into it.

The Pereau Branch Road, which once connected with the section of road beside the cemetery, is said by Barron to have been part of the Six Rod Road. Lewis Hazel says the Pereau Branch Road was originally an Acadian road. It could have been both – an Acadian road and then because it was conveniently already laid out, a section of the Six Rod Road.

One of the most interesting parts of Surette-Draper’s report was the description Lewis Hazel gave of the building of “stone bridges” by the Acadians so they could traverse tidal creeks at low tide. Ms. Surette-Draper writes that Hazel was “able to show us where the Acadians built a ‘stone bridge’ in order to traverse the (Pereau?) river. Here is how it worked. The Acadians would construct a ‘bridge’ of rocks by laying them and piling them to form a road on the muddy riverbed. This was supported by posts and provided a hard surface for passage (at low tide).”

There is much more to Ms. Surette-Draper’s report. Mr. Hazel identified the site of an Acadian church near Bell Hill, for example. Which, according to Mr. Hazel, was pointed out to his father by a gentleman of Acadian ancestry.

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