Pointe à Jérôme, Pointe à Jacquot, Dixon’s Point — These fingers of land, jutting out among the many rivers and streams that wind their way through the landscape, were the first to be settled in the Bouctouche area. Its original Micmac name, Chebooktoosk, or “great little harbour”, accurately expresses the welcoming character of this tranquil setting.
The magnificent Bouctouche River, like a ribbon that enhances an already beautiful package, ties together the scenery, the people and the sea. At its mouth, nestled behind a large sand dune, lies the thriving, dynamic Town of Bouctouche.
François and Charlitte Leblanc arrived in the area on an exploratory mission in 1785. They were amazed at the abundance of food and ease at which the waters could be navigated. Four Acadian families joined them later that summer and, during the ensuing years, new families, from all across what is now known as southeastern New Brunswick gradually moved in.
Fishing, lumbering and shipbuilding were the main industries, and construction of a branch railway to Moncton (1888) spurred local commerce until it was abandoned in the 1960s.
During the 19th century the area also attracted immigrants from Ireland and Scotland, among them the forefathers of one of Bouctouche’s best-known sons, K.C. Irving.
La Dune de Bouctouche, known by its first inhabitants as the Great Little Harbour, has hiking and cycling trails that are part of the New Brunswick Trail system. There are 12 kilometres of whispering sands making up the dunes easily viewed from a boardwalk along a conservation area known as the Irving Eco Centre. La Dune de Bouctouche consists of a 9.7 km long ridge of sand formed over centuries by the wind and stormy seas. The dune has almost enclosed the bay area over its full length leaving an opening to the bay at its mouth that is a 1.8 km wide opening and the dune is still expanding today.
Le Pays de la Sagouine, based on Antonine Maillet’s award-winning book La Sagouine, is a theme park filled with Acadian entertainment and history. Their activities include dramatic reproductions of Antonine’s plays.
Irving Eco Centre Industrialist Kenneth Colin Irving was born in Bouctouche, many of his businesses, including Kent Homes, maintain operations there and the family is dedicated to protecting the area’s natural resources with the Irving Eco Centre and helping to revitalize the town’s economy by supporting a variety of local projects.
Completed in 2005, The Irving Memorial Chapel is a new private chapel in New Brunswick, Canada. The chapel stands in an established arboretum and next to an old Protestant burial ground which contains memorials to the many Scots families who emigrated to this part of Canada from south-west Scotland. The family and local community in Bouctouche have maintained strong links with their ancestral homeland and called upon Simpson & Brown’s particular knowledge of traditional Scottish ecclesiastical architecture to help them build their new chapel.
Irving Arboretum becomes more impressive every year as additional species of trees are planted. Located between Chemin du Couvent and Mascogne River, the Arboretum, with its walking and bike trails, is the perfect place to observe local flora and fauna. There are plenty of bridges and rest areas, and the trails are connected to the trail system leading downtown and to the Bouctouche Dune.
The Musée de Kent is still a gathering point for the Acadian community of Bouctouche. Formerly the Convent of the Immaculate Conception, it played an important role in the Acadian renaissance. The Museum offers an insight into life at a boarding school in the 19th and 20th century and gives an overview of the regional way of life. Its Chapel has been recognized as an architectural gem.
Bilingual guides, dressed in the students’ uniforms of the 1960’s, will provide a unique experience.
Whether you choose to savour the delicious seafood and the famous poutine râpée or explore the numerous nature parks, you’ll leave Bouctouche enriched by your discovery of the community’s ecological treasures and remarkable Acadian culture.
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Town of Bouctouche
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