Chéticamp and its Acadian History and Crafts

July 30, 2010 at 10:26 pm Leave a comment

Though we had travelled the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton once before, we had not stoppped in Chéticamp. Our tourist guide book indicated there was an Acadian Museum and some history of rug hooking. I wanted to explore the community this time, so we planned an overnight stay at Laurie’s Motel.

When we drove into the coastal community, we were greeted by well-kept shops and homes painted in colourful shades of yellow, turquoise, and blue. Le Gabriel Family Restaurant, with its lighthouse entrance, served hearty fare.  Their potato and sausage soup was very tasty and filling.

After our meal at Le Gabriel, we were ready to explore the  community. We started with the small gift shop across the road, painted green and mauve. In there, we saw many crafts and art typical of the community and area. The shopkeeper, interested in knowing where we came from, regaled us with highlights of the community: L’Eglise St. Pierre, the large Catholic Church that is always open for people to come in; the Acadian Museum that we asked about, and another place too, that we discovered a bit later  further down the highway.

Chéticamp’s main street

Le Gabriel Restaurant

After the Acadian’s explusion from their lands, and when the hostilities had settled between the French and English, the Acadians went back to their lands to resettle. Discovering their property inhabited by others, they settled in another place with their families. It seems they were somewhat isolated, and so they kept their traditions and developed the community and their crafts. The women wove their own fabric, used wool from their sheep, dyed the wool and hooked rugs with detailed designs to decorate their homes. The men worked in iron and wood to make tools and build homes. Living by the water, they likely also fished as they do now.

The Acadian Museum showed the sort of tools and furniture they used, as well as showing the art of rug hooking. There was opportunity here for tourists to try out the craft. The shop sold small to large pieces of hooked rugs and mats, and also kits to try it out, as well as other items of local interest.

The day was damp with drizzle and fog, but with indoor places to explore, we still found things to do.

Acadian Museum

Guide demonstrating rug hooking with yarn, a highly developed art among Acadians.

Maryann and I trying our hand at rug hooking

L’Église St. Pierre, built in 1893 with stone taken from Chéticamp Island and hauled to the site by  horse and sleigh over the ice. The church took several years to build.

There was one more stop in Chéticamp that was most interesting, but I’ll save it for the  next blog post.


Entry filed under: community, culture. Tags: , .

My grandmother’s recipe book Les Troix Pignons and Elizabeth LeFort

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