August 8, 2019
Thursday morning I set out to explore several of the “primary” scenic roads in the northwestern portion of Prince Edward Island. If I hadn’t missed a turn while trying to follow Route 11 (it can be a tricky little bugger) I would have never seen what I am about to share with you.
As I entered the rural municipality of Abram-Village (that’s how it is spelled, with the hyphen) it was immediately evident that there was some sort of celebration going on. There were flags and banners everywhere.
I parked the car and went into a local business establishment. I explained that I was from North Carolina and had just arrived on the island the night before. I asked if the flags I was seeing, three equal vertical bands of blue, white and red, with a yellow star in the upper left corner, was the provincial flag of PEI. With obvious pride she replied “Oh no, it’s the Acadian flag!”
The Acadians are descendants of the original French settlers in this part of North America, specifically the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, plus the area around the town of Gaspe in extreme southeast Quebec province and finally a portion of the State of Maine in the US.
Their flag is basically the French flag with the addition of the yellow star, the Stella Maris, in the upper left corner. That star represents the Virgin Mary, a national Acadian symbol and patron of the mariners.
They are celebrating this event:
This is the Acadian World Congress, a reunion of sorts. It is a festival of Acadian culture and history held every five years at different locations. Abram-Village is part of a “region” of Acadian communities known in this part of PEI as Region Evangeline (I don’t know to add the proper “punctuation” – the little slashes above certain letters). I spoke with a couple today who live down near Digby and Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia where I stayed for two nights a few weeks ago. They said there is a large Acadian region just south of there along the coast south of Digby, as there are scattered about everywhere in the areas I mentioned.
And it isn’t just all flags and banners:
The photo above is of a large pinwheel, almost as tall as I am. There was one of each side of a driveway and they were spinning rapidly in the stiff breeze. I’m impressed that my smartphone camera was actually able to freeze this one in place.