Day 64 – 11th September (Miramichi to Shediac)

Nice leisurely start to another lovely day.

After a decent breakfast at the hotel, we went to the Île de Beaubears visitor centre at Nelson, a small place south-west of Miramichi itself. We only went here because we felt a bit guilty that we’d not bothered to see anything in Miramichi and this place purported to be worth seeing.

It was. It was fascinating. Beaubears Island was a very busy shipbuilding area in the early to mid 19th century and the story of its development was lain out beautifully. Before then, it had been populated by the MikMaq first nation people for thousands of years, then the Acadians found it, and lived in relative harmony with the MikMaqs.

The visitor centre was at 35 St Patrick’s Drive

After the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, Acadia was handed over to the English, who, as we now know so well, either deported the Acadians or subjected them to English rule. On the island, a Canadian general, Charles Deschamps de Boishébert, tried to defend the island against the advancing English by watching from the eastern tip of the island. When he saw the enemy ships sailing down the Miramichi River towards the island, he galloped on his horse to the other end of the island to warn the Acadians, who bolted to Wilson’s Point on the other side of the river.

Boishébert established the Camp d’Espérance (Hope Camp) at Wilson’s Point in the 1750s to help the Acadians, but it turned into a place of despair as food ran out and people died. By 1758, it was almost deserted and the survivors moved into different parts of Acadia (which the English called Nova Scotia).

Explains a lot

The next chapter in the island’s history started with the acquisition of the island by Joseph Russell.

The island’s shipbuilding industry peaked at this point, as the necessary pine wood could be floated down the river. It didn’t last long – the last ship was built in 1866.

Postcard from the visitor centre with a picture of a painting done by one of the shipbuilders in the Joseph Russell era. It shows the ships that needed finishing being floated on rafts on the river so that other builders could get on with new ships.

Included in the ticket was a very short ferry trip over to the island itself. The island is around 2 km long, and we didn’t have time to walk there and back. Besides, all evidence of shipbuilding activity has now disappeared. However, there was some interesting stuff.

View from the visitor centre
Visitor centre
Jetty for the ferry to the island
Beaubears Island
View from the island
Difficult to read, but interesting
View from Boishébert Point on the island
Road bridge across the Miramichi River
Russell tomb
Woodland walk on the island. The mosquitoes were fierce!
The O’Brien memorial. This family was the last to own the island until it was acquired by the Canadian Parks Authority
Trip back to the visitor centre

All in all, a wonderful small piece of history. We were so glad we’d taken the trouble to stop here. It was one of the clearest explanations of how the Acadian territory came to be in the first place. We’ve been covering much of this area for the last ten days or so.

Time to move on. The journey to the Hotel Shediac was short, flat and boring, to be frank, until we got into Shediac itself.

Lots of road works and some sort of festival meant it took about 15 minutes to do the last kilometre.

Finally got to the hotel, and waited for somebody to turn up to check us in. This eventually got done and we went up to the room.

Unfortunately, it had not been made up, so down we went to Reception to sort it out. This was around 4.30 p.m. and others were still awaiting their rooms to be readied. More evidence of staff shortages.

Apologies made, we got checked in to another nice room with, yet again, a queen bed each.

After a reviving G&T, we went to the onsite restaurant for dinner.

Shediac is said to be the lobster capital of the world. It is home to the largest species of lobster, apparently. Neither of us are real seafood fans, but I decided to try a lobster pasta dish. Jean had maple glazed salmon, which was very good, apparently.

I am almost certainly missing something, but I can’t quite see what the fuss is about as regards lobster. It was fine – don’t get me wrong – but it just seemed rather bland and not that different from, say, prawns. Yes, I know they are both crustaceans, but I don’t really get the reverence in which lobster is held. Oh, well…..

Sorry about all the historical stuff earlier in the post, but we thought it was interesting anyway.

Usual visit to the tourist office tomorrow to find out what to do and see here, so please join us to see what we did and saw.

2 responses to “Day 64 – 11th September (Miramichi to Shediac)”

  1. we are seafood fans but i do agree with you there is alwsys alot of fuss about lobster but basically its like a big prawn and sometimes a bit sweeter we prefer crab sarnies
    sounds like you had a nice day

    1. We must give crab a bit more time, then. Yes, it was a much better day than we were expecting.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: