A Year to Remember: 1904 New Brunswick

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In 1604 a handful of ships carrying 120 men set sail from France destined for the shores of the New World. The expedition was led by the nobleman Pierre Du Gua, sieur de Monts (1558-1628). Among the noblemen, artisans, soldiers and others in the party was the king's cartographer, Samuel de Champlain (c1567-1635). The expedition first landed at Sable Island in May 1604. From there, de Monts, Champlain and a select few set off to explore the south coast of Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy. While de Monts searched for an appropriate spot to establish a settlement, Champlain carefully mapped the inlets and harbours of the rugged coastline. Many places along the coasts of present-day Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia still bear the names given to them by Champlain.

The year 2004 marks the 400th anniversary of French settlement in North America. In view of the numerous events scheduled throughout 2004, it is interesting to look back to 1904, a year marked by the commemorations for the 300th anniversary. Grand celebrations were held on St. Croix Island, in Port Royal, Nova Scotia and in Calais, Maine. The largest and most elaborate celebrations, however, were held in Saint John, where cheerful crowds took part in a full week of festivities.

This Web tour explores the theme of daily life in New Brunswick during the year that marked the 300th anniversary of the de Monts expedition to North America. It looks at what life was like for New Brunswickers at the turn of the century: from the challenges to economic prosperity and the political tensions of the period to what New Brunswickers did with their free time. The tour also attempts to shed light on the complexity of New Brunswick society in 1904. The everyday experiences of the Acadians, Aboriginal peoples and other minorities were quite different than those of their English-speaking counterparts.