Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Day Long History Lesson

Travel Day 14 -- KOA Cornwall/Charlottetown,PE (46.213056, -63.186944)

Spent the day in Charlottetown

Charlottetown is both the largest city on and the provincial capital of Prince Edward Island, and the county seat of Queens County. Named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen consort of the United Kingdom, Charlottetown was first incorporated as a town in 1855 and designated as a city in 1885. It was most famously the site of the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, the first gathering of Canadian and Maritime statesmen to debate the proposed Maritime Union and the more persuasive British North American Union, now known as Canadian Confederation. From this, the city adopted its motto "Cunabula Foederis"--"Birthplace of Confederation". (Wikipedia)

Our first stop was Founders Hall , probably the Canadian equivalent of our Independence Hall in Philadelphia. If you think we were drawn here by patriotism and love of freedom you would be wrong. Nope. Admission to Founders Hall was covered by our Park Pass so it was free.

It was a good first stop. The Provincial Visitor's Center is located in Founders Hall. Staffed with very competent personnel, they gave us excellent advice on what to see on PEI and how to get there.

We spent a couple hours here basically learning about the founding of Canada. The Charlottetown Conference held here in September 1864 was a central event in that process. Again from Wikipedia

The 1864 Quebec Conference and Charlottetown Conference laid out the framework for uniting British colonies in North America into a federation. They had been adopted by the majority of the provinces of Canada and became the basis for the London Conference of 1866, which led to the formation of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. The term dominion was chosen to indicate Canada's status as a self-governing colony of the British Empire, the first time it was used about a country. With the coming into force of the British North America Act (enacted by the British Parliament), the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia became a federated kingdom in its own right. Newfoundland did not join Canada until 1949 (after WWII)

Group lunch at Peake's Quay Restaurant and Bar. Michelle had scallops, I had Salmon. This was another of our prepaid events. So far today we haven't spent a dime.

However we ended that streak on the way back to the campground. Under the evil influence of Carole and Nelson Hommel, we were forced to stop at Cow's Creamery.

Cow's Creamery makes ice cream they call SuperPremium for three reasons: High Butterfat Content (16%), Minimum Air, Finest Ingredients.

They also conduct tours of the factory, at the end of which you get a small free sample of ice cream and cheese. We couldn't stand just a small free sample. After the tour we all had a substantial serving. Not free but very good.

A big lunch and a late dessert of ice cream quelled the need for any supper. Back at the campground, we dressed for our evening at the theater.

Tonight we attended a performance of Evangeline at the Homburg Theater of the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Evangeline is a powerful love story based on Longfellow's famed heroine Evangeline who becomes separated from her betrothed, Gabriel, during the expulsion of the Acadians. This sweeping adventure weaves villains and heroes, history and culture, and the strength of human spirit - all framed by the lively traditional music and dance of the Acadian, Maritime and Cajun cultures.

Photo from Evangeline Website
Photo from Evangeline Website
In the written program, Ted Dykstra the creator and co-director pens this:

I was forty years old when I first heard of the poem Evangeline by American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was a revelation for so many reasons. One of them was that the story is beautiful , a love that would not die beating at its centre. Another was of course the story of Acadia and its people. I was astounded to learn of this piece of Canadian history and also a little angry that I had never learned it in school. ... Here am I, a first–generation Dutch Canadian from Northern Alberta, telling a 250–year–old tale of French people from the Maritimes, written by an English American 150 years ago....
I share Dykstra's emotion about not learning things in school. In reflection, it seem that the history we learned was about heroes with very little about the plight of people caught in the currents of history. This story brings to mind others like the Trail of Tears with the single theme "Those who have the power and the money want the land, those who have the land must leave."

I knew nothing of the history of the Acadian people (click Acadian History). To me they were a group that started somewhere in the north atlantic then went to Louisiana where they invented spicy food. Shame on me. I hope I will learn more during this caravan.
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