Paddling to the Past

Paddling to the Past

Today we headed back to Beaubears Island to take part in their Voyageur Canoe Experience. We arrived at around 10am and were greeted by our tour guides Nathan and Ben. Typically the Voyageur Canoe Experience takes place in a 26 foot, 12-14 passenger canoe, but since it was only the three of us we took one of the smaller canoes. It was a beautiful day for canoeing because the water was calm and we were able to paddle with ease. Our first stop was at Wilson’s Point and on the way we spotted one of the bald eagles. Nathan and Ben informed us that once coupled two bald eagles will mate for life. Once we arrived at Wilson’s Point Nathan and Ben explained to us that a majority of the earliest English settlers lived and were buried in this area. Our tour guides also showed us the foundation of the 1791 Saint James Presbyterian Church which was the first Protestant church to serve the Miramichi. We also got to see some of the remaining grave markers and the William Davidson’s trading post before heading back to the canoes. You can also take a look inside the church which is a replica of the original that once stood. It also offers hiking trails and you can take a stroll along the beach as well.

Our next stop was at Beaubears Island. Our tour guides taught us about Charles Deschamps de Boishébert and his Camp d’Espérance which brought thousands of fleeing Acadians with the help of the Mi’kmaq people to Beaubears Island, during the Great Upheaval of 1755. Sadly, many of them perished due to starvation and illness, but many survived and are responsible for established Acadian communities all around Miramichi. They also told us about Lieutenant Governor J. Leonard O’Brien who was the last private owner of Beaubears Island. He would watch from his parlour window (living room) in the Governor’s Mansion to watch for teens or anyone on his island and would send his employees over on the steam boat to have them removed. Sometimes they would run off before they could get to them, but the majority of the trespassers wanted to get caught just to get a steam boat ride back over. Beaubears Island also has a set of the red chairs which are placed by Parks Canada in the areas they believe are the most unique, treasured and have the best lookouts.
We paddled back to the interpretive center and thanked Nathan and Ben for the wonderful time. We would definitely recommend the Voyageur Canoe Experience because we learnt so many new things! We took a look inside the interpretive center where you can learn the history of the  different people that have been through the island in more details and many other interesting facts about the island as well as some cool interactive displays. The staff at Beaubears Island really know how to take you back in time and provide you with a unique experience.

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