Le Grand Dérangement

A trip to Grand Pre is always worth the journey; and it seems that every time we visit, I learn something new. This is the original homeland of the Acadian people who, after living on the land for 73 years, changed the swampy landscape into a fertile farming community.

In 1755, these farming families were forced by the British to leave Nova Scotia as part of the Great Expulsion (Le Grand Dérangement). They were relocated to other colonies around the world… or sent to England or France (even though most were born in Canada). It always amazes me when I meet the descendants of people who were expelled (people from Guyana, Louisiana, Haiti). They know their history and many do a yearly pilgrimage back to the homeland.

It is beautiful here. The original buildings are gone but you can still see where the landscape was changed by the farming community. A recent archaeological dig has also given researchers insight into where the roads and buildings were in the community. When you enter the park now there is a sign that shows a giant photo of the land, and then drawn over the photo is an outline of each building, road, and a few people thrown in for good luck!

I realized on this journey that the word “deranged” comes from the old French verb “dérangier,” which means very literally “from arrangement” or a more militaristic translation of “moving people in orderly rows.” It’s interesting how this has progressed in English to the mathematical definition of objects not appearing in their natural order. And Deranged, losing touch with reality.

Sorry. Mental floss.

I’d recommend meandering around Grand Pre (it is incredibly beautiful) and then heading back into Wolfville for a coffee/tea and a wander around the dikes just down the hill from the town.

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