Acadia on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Belle Cote Beach at Margaree Harbor

Acadians on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton

Suddenly the beach road is no longer called Shore Road, but Belle Cote Beach Road. I find the Scottish-Acadian street names Chemin Old Grand Etang Road or Chemin McCarry Road in Saint Joseph du Moine even more beautiful. The villages are no longer as compact as they were before on our drive around Cape Breton Island. The houses are scattered on the hills that slope gently towards the coast. The flower arrangements that we had seen from time to time in the villages of the Scots along the through streets are missing. Instead, a little blue-white-red striped flag blows in the wind, whose blue surface is adorned with a yellow star. We have arrived in the Acadians region on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton.

A sign on the street explains the surprising change along the Cabot trails: we are in the Acadian region, which stretches from Margaree to St. Joseph du Moine and Cheticamp. The place names indicate that French is spoken here. There are more of them: Belle Côte, Terre Noire, Cap Le Moine, Grand Étang are the names of the tiny villages along this stretch of coast. Acadians live in these places Cabot Trail at Cape Breton.

 

This is where the Acadienne region begins. Acadians on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton
This is where the Acadienne region begins

 

This is how the Acadians live on the Cabot Trail

Several thousand Acadians live in this part of the island on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. A few dozen families once sought refuge in the hinterland, where they hoped to escape British troops and not be deported like other members of their ethnic group in the year 1755, Only later did her descendants venture down to the coast. The seclusion in this area allowed them to maintain their lifestyles.

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Even when we drive through the region, we notice differences: the villages look different. They work together, as if the houses were built randomly into the landscape. A real village center can hardly be seen. Advertising signs for the nearest souvenir shop are suddenly in French, and the obligatory Acadian flags are usually the only decoration in front of the houses. That makes me curious. The Acadians on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton have their own lifestyle.

 

Nice curvy: the Cabot Trail
Nice curvy: the Cabot Trail

 

The language of the Acadians

The Acadians on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton speak their own language: their French is different from what is spoken in Quebec. It is influenced by the proximity of the sea, “you don't get into the car here”. Instead, nautical terms are used: “on embarque un voiture”, one “goes on board”. The pronunciation is also different: you can still hear that their language comes from Aunis, Saint-Onge or Poitou, the places in western France from which their ancestors immigrated to Canada.

 

This has to be in the suitcase for hikes on the Cabot Trail

 

Certain terms such as "boucane" (smoke) or "mashkoui" (birch bark) have been adopted by the Micmac Indians. Due to the proximity of Scottish settlements, there are always terms that they have integrated into their own language from there, creating a strange mixture of old French, Indian elements and Scottish-English terms. You have to listen to the language of the Acadians on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton.

 

Carpet weaver at work
Carpet weaver at work - typical craft of the Acadians on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton

 

Arts and crafts of the Acadians on Cabot Trail in Cape Breton

We can see the carpet weaving, a typical handicraft from the region, in a souvenir shop, where a woman patiently pulls thick wool threads through a sackcloth stretched tightly over a wooden frame. "I have to make sure that the picture looks nice on both the front and the back," she explains to us in English with a strong French accent. And it allows us to watch her at work and take pictures of her. This form of embroidered carpets is common. The Acadians on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton have perfected the manufacture.

"This is the old shape of the carpets that I make here," she says. "Today you see more wool carpets and not those that are knotted on sackcloth." Her work has an almost hypnotic effect on me as she patiently and precisely pulls her wool threads through the small holes, always making sure that they are within the Boundaries of their recorded pattern. It takes a lot of patience and effort to finish such a carpet picture. Our questions keep her focused and she continues to work.

 

Saint Joseph du Moine
Saint Joseph du Moine, one of the places of the Acadians on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton

 

A visit to the Acadians on Cabot Trail is worthwhile

We were curious about this short excursion into the life of the Akadians. I would like to know more about how the descendants of Acadian settlers live here today. What are the special characteristics of your life on this rough Atlantic coast? What did you get from your Scottish neighbors? And what not? Maybe this is the idea for a new journey. Who knows, maybe we'll do one of our next trips through Nova Scotia in the footsteps of the Acadians and their way of life. Certainly an interesting topic for which there is more to discover.

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Travel Arrangements:

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Hotels along this route * and on Cape Breton Island * You can book through our partner booking.com.


 

Cabot Trail and the Acadians
Click on the photo and mark “Cabot Trail and the Acadians” on Pinterest

 

Source: own research on site. We thank Tourism Nova Scotia and Destination Cape Breton for the kind invitation to this trip. Our opinion remains our own.

 

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

Acadia on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
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