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Historic Acadian Village celebrates 20th anniversary

Acadians showcasing the Acadian story ‘We have a passion for that’


Champagne corks were popping, laughter and joy was in the air, and community pride for a job well done filled the room at the Historic Acadian Village in West Pubnico on Aug. 2 during the 20th anniversary celebration event.
Special guests joined with staff, volunteers, community members and the board of directors of the Historic Acadian Village Society to mark the milestone for what has become a premier attraction in Nova Scotia, and a testament to Acadian culture and pride that continues to grow and thrive.  
“We’re Acadians showcasing the Acadian story. We have a passion for that,” said Roger d’Entremont president of the Historic Acadian Village Society, in an interview.
The story of the Historic Acadian Village goes back to 1988 when “the idea of creating a historical village, a place where you can showcase the way of life of the Acadians, to preserve our language and our culture and to show that to the world,” was born, said d’Entremont.
“From 1988 it took a lot of work, a lot of government interaction. Finally, in 1997 we received $1.2 million and then we had the funding to begin construction,” which included the relocation and restoration of five buildings and construction of the visitor reception centre.
By June 1999, “enough of the village was completed to open the doors to the public,” said d’Entremont. The homes were not accessible at that time but visitors could wander around the site and get guided tours.
In 2003 the Historic Acadian Village became the Historic Acadian Village of Nova Scotia when it became part of the Nova Scotia Museum. 
“That meant financial stability,” said d’Entremont. “You wouldn’t see what you see today if we were not part of Nova Scotia Museum.”
In 2004, a major project saw the reception centre expanded and the restoration of the homes so they became accessible. 
“So then the village became alive,” said d’Entremont, with interpreters in period costumes in the homes, cooking and doing chores. "Visitors could see the way of life.”
The village continued to grow as well with the construction of a boat shop and the donation of a lighthouse by the Canadian Coast Guard that added to the beauty of the site, said d’Entremont. Then, in 2010 the blacksmith shop became functional, which has been “a big, big asset to the village." 
"Then we built a wharf, what’s an Acadian Village without a wharf?” said d’Entremont. A fishing shanty, a replica lobster fishing boat from the early 1900s which serves as a conversation piece, a nature trail, a post office, a root cellar and a paved parking lot improving accessibility has all followed, as well as a café, where traditional Acadian cuisine is prepared daily to complete the cultural experience.  
The Historic Acadian Village now has nine buildings on the 17-acre site overlooking Pubnico Harbour. Besides being a premier visitor attraction, it also serves as a community hub and a place of education for youth. 
D’Entremont said while all that is important, what is most important to the village and the Society are the volunteers. “Without the volunteers we wouldn’t have the success we have today," he said. "We should be really proud of where.”
By the sounds of things, it looks as though the Society has a few more plans up their sleeves for further enhancement of the village, with d’Entremont giving  Yarmouth MLA Zach Churchill, who is also Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, a heads up that the Society may soon be seeking some funding.
 Churchill presented certificates of congratulations on behalf of the Province and from himself to the Historic Acadian Village Society during the anniversary celebrations. 
“This is an incredible space that you have,” he said. “To preserve these old homes and the culture and history that accompanies them in such a way is really something special. I’m very proud of the Acadian culture that we all share in this part of the province.” 

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