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    A young woman with brown hair looks at the photographer in front of the Acadian flag represented by a yellow star and the colours blue, white and red.
    Suzanne Melanson represents the tenth generation of a famous Acadian family. Like France, the Acadian flag features the colours blue, white and red. A yellow star provides the only distinction with the country of their ancestors.

    “Acadia is my identity, my roots,” Suzanne Melanson.

    Day 44 of my solo bike trip across Canada. 

    I meet Suzanne Melanson while she’s working as a tour guide at Grand-Pré National Historic Site, a site charged with history for the Acadian people.

    Hailing from France, the Melanson family founded Grand-Pré in 1680, 76 years after the arrival of the first French settlers in Port Royal, which became the capital of the French colony. Suzanne’s ancestor, Pierre Melanson, known as La Verdure, was surprisingly originally from Scotland. He was born in England in 1632, but was of French descent. A tailor by trade, he became captain of the militia at Port Royal, where his family had settled in 1657. He married Marguerite Mius d’Entremont, a baron’s daughter, and with their five young children, left Port Royal to settle in a safer area, on the plateau overlooking a large salt marsh or meadow, from which the colonial settlement then took its name. Some 33 years later, the Treaty of Utrecht saw France, humiliated on the battlefields of Europe, cede its possessions of Newfoundland, Hudson Bay and Acadia to England. We know what happened next: in 1755, English colonel Charles Lawrence ordered the deportation of the Acadians, who experienced misery, wandering and exile.

    “Acadia is my identity, my roots, Suzanne explains. I’m very proud that it still exists, because my ancestors worked so hard”. Naturally, she learned all about Acadian traditions, music and dance, and her aim is to pass on this culture to future generations of Acadians. What a touching encounter, thank you Suzanne for sharing. Since 2012, Landscape of Grand Pré is on the prestigious UNECO World Heritage List.

    Texts by Éric Clément and Bertrand Lemeunier.

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