Monday 30 July 2018

July 30, 2013: Goodbyes

After some breakfast in the morning we bid him goodbye with a promise to return and headed for Ontario. When we had travelled several hours, we spotted a big sign that read "The Big Apple", near the town of Cobourg, Ontario. We decided to stop there, as our appetites built up in anticipation and ended up buying several delicious apple pies on the way home. A few hours later we were finally back in Mississauga and made our way to Jacquie and Jason's 25th floor condo. After enlisting Jason to help us bring up our many bags and supplies, we were just happy to sit down and relax after the day- long drive back home, just having to plan supper and anticipating a wonderful apple pie dessert. After a wonderful evening I thought of how great it was that I would still have until the following Wednesday morning to visit with my daughter's family before my plane trip back home. What a gift to have this precious time with them.
This trip has come to an end but the memories will be long-lasting and most precious to my daughter and I. We will be forever grateful to all the wonderful people who made this happen for us, Lee Roy, Marcel, Wayne, Fern, Wayne and Alan. It is my wish that we will see all of them again, as this is just the beginning of the unfolding of our history. Much is yet to come. 

Alas, more was not to come, as our wonderful mother passed away on September 4, 2015. But I can tell you that in her remaining years, she never tired of telling me and my sister what this very special trip meant to her. We again thank everyone involved for all that was done to make this incredible trip happen. We love you all! And personally, organizing and publishing these blogs has brought a bit of my mom back to me. And isn't that what history's all about? Take care, one and all!


Jacquie and Michel

Sunday 29 July 2018

July 29, 2013: Return to Montreal

The continuing journey home...

The next morning, Sunday, we headed back to Montreal to again spend the night at Gabriel's home. 

July 28, 2013: Return To Frederiction

On the road again, with Mom and Jacquie...

Our trip back to Fredericton went without a hitch: great weather, good food and a refreshing swim in the Best Western Hotel pool and a good night's sleep.

And just for the heck of it...a song.

Photos courtesy

Friday 27 July 2018

Grand Pre Historical Video

A wonderful video by Mr. Jim Cyr, offering a tour of the Grand Pre area. Thank you Jim for posting!

The video that Mom and Jacquie saw before their tour of Grand Pre. Twenty-two minutes well spent as we see what a heartbreaking event the deportation was in 1755. Thanks to Robin Lee for posting.

July 27, 2013: Emotional Grand Pre

Emotions ran high on this day in Grand Pre:

On Saturday the 27th, our last day in Nova Scotia we left for Grand Pre, our last stop before heading for Fredericton to spend the night. We went into their large cultural centre and watched a 20-minute re-enactment of the Grand-Pre deportation, visited their gift store, bought several postcards and other memorable items to bring back home. Next, we went outdoors on a well-manicured path, following it until we came upon the statue of Evangeline, as well as the bust of William Wordsworth Longfellow, who wrote the Evangeline story. At the end of the path we came upon a beautiful, little church in which were the books with the names of all the Grand Pre deportees. We then followed a map that directed us to a place now called Horton Landing to the famous Deportation Cross erected in honour of the deportees. We stood at the cross, reflecting on the horror that had taken place and glanced at the landing below where thousands had been separated from their families and herded onto ships to be taken to various countries against their will. This was definitely one of the most emotional parts of our trip and a touching conclusion to our ancestral pilgrimage.

Thursday 26 July 2018

July 26, 2013: Acadian Finds on Last Day in Parker's Cove

Acadian discoveries on this day five years ago, and an imminent farewell to Parker's Cove. Mom, you may continue:

On Friday, we headed west and came upon a hamlet called Belleisle looking for an old cemetery where we had been told some Acadians had been buried there. We spotted an extremely old hall with an inscription dating back to early Acadian times. We quickly headed to Church Point and saw many churches. Later, we rushed back to Annapolis Royal to take in the walking tour guided by Alan Melanson and his wife Durline. We even learned a dance at the end of the tour. There were still a couple of hours to visit shops before we planned to have dinner once again at the Restaurant Compose, where we met up with Lee Roy. That evening was to be the last one in Parker's Cove. We went back to our cottage, got all our baggage ready, tidying up the cottage so that we could leave early in the morning.

Wednesday 25 July 2018

July 25, 2013: Whale Point, Museums, Settlements, and Blueberries

Another short but memorable entry from Mom, five years ago today:

The next day, Thursday, we went back to Port Royal and met Lee Roy. Together we drove to Whale Point and visited the Melanson Settlement taking many pictures along the way and even stopping to buy blueberries on the road side. One stop was the North Hills Museum which is a Victorian home with antique furniture and the half-piece of an old dyke. We then went for an amazing supper at a place called the Restaurant Compose for a dinner on their patio, overlooking the Annapolis River.

Monday 23 July 2018

July 24, 2013: Pitre Family Discoveries in Port Royal

More historical sleuthing with Mom, Jacquie, Wayne and Alan (and of course Lee Roy):

On Wednesday the 24th we brought Penelope to a park in Annapolis Royal and then headed to Port Royal and enjoyed a tour with Wayne Melanson as our guide. It was truly exciting and informative, an incredible walk into the past. We then visited a couple of museums along George Street, in Annapolis Royal and then then decided to try out the German Bakery, Restaurant & Cafe for lunch before heading back home. Fern was coming back to our cottage to bring Lee Roy and I to see the land on which the Pitre homestead had been, sometime before 1707. In the survey of 1707 it was clearly Claude Pitre's place, the eldest son of Jean Pitre. The land was all overgrown and no buildings remained but there were telling markers here and there. What an incredible experience it was to be on the actual land and to see things like the rocks that had been placed around their well and the rocks that could have surrounded a windmill, as well as large holes dug out surrounded by rocks that showed the possible location of buildings at an earlier time. There were also signs of other buildings that had been built after the Acadians had been deported from this land. What an incredible memory to bring back home with us. We then went for supper with Lee Roy at a Croatian Restaurant, the Sweet Secret Restaurant, and ended up seeing Fern, Mary and his grandson there. Later that day, after supper, Jacquie drove me back to Fort Anne to meet up with Lee Roy, to take in the evening graveyard tour. Wayne's twin brother, Alan was the tour guide. With lanterns in hand, 56 of us followed Alan all along the various parts of the graveyard while he explained each distinct part and the history around it. 

A Song In Mom's Heart!

I want to take a minute to share Mom's favorite song, Mull Of Kintyre. Mom was very aware of her Celtic roots, and very proud of them as well. I think Sir Paul McCartney must be proud of his own Scottish roots, as he has cited a lack of a good modern Scots anthem as his inspiration for writing it. Whenever I think of Mom's pride in family, research, and discovery, I think of Mull of Kintyre, as she used to hum or sing it to us sometimes in our childhood. Jacquie and I used to think it was called Mulligan Tire, but what can I say? We were preteen kids.

Let the bagpipes ring!

July 23, 2013: Spaghetti And Taking A Break

As we all know when we embark on a big trip, sometimes  it's nice to just take a day and breathe. And Mom and Jacquie certainly did, five years ago today:

The next day, after sleeping in, we headed for Annapolis Royal to tour Fort Anne and visit some of the museums. We went grocery shopping again before we headed back to the cottage to prepare a spaghetti and meat sauce dinner for Lee Roy, Wayne and Lorna..

Sunday 22 July 2018

July 22, 2013: Lee Roy, Lobster, and Good Cheer

This one makes me hungry. Take it away Mom:

The main point of our trip was to meet up with Lee Roy from Louisiana who was arriving in Halifax around midnight and who would make his way to Annapolis Royal in the wee hours, then to Parker's Cove to meet up with us. He arrived at our cottage early the next morning, Monday the 22nd. We took this time to acquaint ourselves with him and informed him of any new developments that we were aware of. After getting in touch with Fern, our main contact who lived in the area, that we had arrived, we agreed to meet him at our cottage at 4 o'clock so we could all follow him to his own cottage for a special dinner, where a local historian would be in attendance. We decided that this would give us some time to do some grocery shopping in Annapolis Royal and for Lee Roy to check into his Bed & Breakfast place before Fern's arrival.
Returning to our Parker's Cove cottage, we soon met up with Fern whom we followed to Clementsport. A succulent, fresh lobster dinner awaited us, as did a most amazing evening. We were greeted by Fern and Mary, the hosts; the historian, Wayne Melanson and his artistic wife, Marilyn; Wayne and Lorna, visiting us from Prince Edward Island and Fern and Mary's friends, Sid and Nancy. We were seated outside on their gorgeous patio admiring yet another oceanic view. Inside, a most delicious lobster dinner awaited us, the lobsters being freshly caught and huge. Before and after dinner we had the historian at our disposal and Lee Roy and ourselves took full advantage of it. When dinner drew to a close, Wayne, the historian, stood up and explained a custom that Samuel de Champlain had begun at Port Royal, called the Order of Good Cheer, whereby the gentlemen of the colony would each take turns to organize and cook a dinner plus arrange for entertainment to pass their long winter nights away. Then Wayne proceeded to hand the three of us a certificate on which was stated that we were members of the Order of Good Cheer. We were quite touched by this gesture! The certificate had been beautifully done by his wife, Marilyn. Before this wonderful evening ended, we all gathered to take group photos..

That was certainly our mother...the Ambassador of Good Cheer! We love you so much!

Saturday 21 July 2018

July 21, 2013: Down By the Bay (Of Fundy)!

Wow...can't really add anything to this. Mom, you have the floor...

The next morning, Sunday the 21st, we packed up the car again and headed for Nova Scotia. We began with our customary vacation time fast-food breakfast at Tim Horton`s, and we were on our way. Excitement was really starting to build up. Penelope was being such a great passenger all the way, quite remarkable for a 23-month old. One of my greatest travelling highlights was sitting in the back seat with Penelope for the entire trip engaging her in the various activities and reconnecting with her after one year of absence. The drive being quite pleasant throughout the day, we scheduled a stop for gas and added another roadside stop to stretch out our somewhat stiff limbs. Our next stop was at a grocery store to pick up a few items for supper, which we stored in our very convenient portable fridge, on the floor by the front seat. We were now a little more prepared for our week-long stay at our rented seaside cottage called Sunset Retreat, on the shores of the Bay of Fundy.
All along Highway 1 we passed numerous little communities which spoke of the unique character of the Maritimes and its people, driving along the pretty shores and in the various little towns and villages admiring their neat, bright coloured houses. What was really striking to us also, was the amount of absolutely gorgeous Victorian-style homes that we passed along the way, at times whole blocks of them, especially noticeable as we got closer to the Digby and Annapolis Royal area. It was like stepping back into a much earlier time period. The excitement was really starting to build up as we realized that we were almost there! We continued down a series of winding roads until we noticed the sign that indicated we had reached Parker's Cove. Continuing on, our GPS soon announced that we had arrived at our destination. Passing a grove of trees, we entered a driveway and stopped in front of this pretty white 2-storey cottage.
We were finally here! Jacquie and I sat there in awe for a few minutes just taking it in. We brought a few things in with Penelope, then Jacquie went out and brought in the rest while I looked after Penelope. The first thing we did was stand at the large picture window in the living room and stare incredulously at the ocean lapping at the rocks and watch as the odd seal would stick his head out of the water, just below the back of the yard. After a quick supper we organized our luggage, then proceeded to watch our very first eastern ocean sunset. What a beautiful, unforgettable sight!

Friday 20 July 2018

Dispatches From Mom: July 20, 2013

As Jacquie and family travel to Saskatchewan on their way back to Ontario - this double rainbow was captured last night as they were leaving Edmonton - here is Mom's account of the very wet and eventful 7-hour drive she and Jacquie took from Quebec to Fredericton, New Brunswick for the genealogy conference:

The second stage of our venture into the past began on Saturday, the 20th of July. After stopping for breakfast at our customary Tim Horton's for a maple sausage panini, our vacation fast-food breakfast staple, we headed for Fredericton, New Brunswick. We were enthralled with the continuation of the gorgeous Appalachian Mountains throughout Quebec and this province and were amazed at the wonderful countryside scenery before our eyes. All was well until we happened hit a monster of a rainstorm during the last hour of our trip to Fredericton, where we were to stay at a Best Western for the night. Once we arrived and were settled in our room we ordered out, ate our meal and headed for a relaxation time at the pool downstairs. If anyone deserved this it was our driver, Jacquie, who kept her cool throughout that terrible torrential downpour.

And speaking as someone who took a quick road trip with Jacquie in 2012 - to go celebrate our grandmother Simone's 95th birthday in Kelowna, BC - she is a very calm driver. And I love her to bits!

Thursday 19 July 2018

Dispatches From Mom: July 19, 2013

Mom continues her story from the previous night:

The next morning, on Friday the 19th, Gabriel graciously toured us around Berthier, Yamaska, St. Pie-de-Guire and Sorel, towns and villages in the area where my grandfather and grandmother Fagnan and their ancestors had settled and were married. He also arranged for us to take a ferry across the St. Lawrence Seaway to Sorel, another important ancestral location, to visit another of my father's cousins in Sorel. I introduced my daughter and granddaughter to them as it was their first visit and my second one. After several exchanges of news covering the past ten years since I had been there we were treated to a wonderful supper of smoked meat sandwiches and fries. We left with a promise to return soon and headed back to Brossard with Gabriel where we would spend our last night before being on our way. I am so thankful to Gabriel for helping to organize a huge Fagnan family reunion in Yamaska, Que. back in September 2003. I was fortunate enough to find this out in time, as they did not me back then and was able to attend and represent my family there. It was definitely one of the most striking events of my life and it touched my soul. Gabriel was also instrumental in helping me complete the Fagnan ancestry line and now we are working on helping other Fagnan families in the United States whose ancestors left Quebec and emigrated there. It is hoped that we find their missing links.

That was just like Mom. Always wanting to use her newfound knowledge to help people out in some way.

The following information comes from Mom's notes provided by Jacquie, which follow Mom's entry. Mom is talking about her relatives in these notes:

Toured Berthierville and Sorel with Gabriel , where many Fagnan ancestor's had lived.

Saw the land on which my grandfather, Joseph Benjamin Fagnan, lived as a child in Berthierville

Ate lunch at St Hubert in Berthierville.

Stopped next in St. Pie-de-Guire where my grandmother, Clarinda Proulx was born and where her and my grandfather were married in 1912. 

Took a ferry across the St. Lawrence Seaway to visit the Fagnan's in Sorel.

Visited there with Antoinette and Mario Fagnan and ate smoked meat and fries for supper.

Gabriel then brought us to the town of Yamaska where many Fagnan families had settled. It had rained steadily that evening but we nonetheless took some photos of the church and graveyard area from the car.