Historic colony reaps $1.8 million boost from province
Two coffee mugs with Christmas themes have been forgotten on a picnic table with a harbour view near a blue and white sign that reads: “John Guy landed here.”
Across the street a white traditional church is bordered by headstones - some white marble from the early 1900s and some polished granite. Up the road there are classic Ford pickups parked in front of homes with vinyl siding.
The old-new dichotomy is everywhere in Cupids, a town with a 399-year history.
Within the year the contrast will be more blatant when the town’s museum - an ancient twostory schoolhouse - gets a makeover and addition in glass and steel.
Premier Danny Williams stood in front of the old schoolhouse last Monday, June 1 to announce nearly $2 million in (provincial) funding to help build the addition, which will house nearly 110,000 artifacts dug up from the Cupids archeological site.
The museum, which will be called the Cupids400 Legacy Centre, will be an interpretation and genealogical research centre that celebrates the history of Canada’s first English speaking colony. The centre will house more than 110,000 artifacts uncovered since the discovery of the original John Guy Plantation site in 1995. It will also include a history/genealogical resource centre, a multi-purpose hall, and an archaeology lab where visitors will learn about the processes of archaeology.
The $1.8-million investment in the museum building brings the provincial contribution to the Cupids400 celebration to nearly $4 million.
After the formal announcement, Williams said he has faith that tourism can sustain rural communities in this province.
“I’m a big believer in that,” he said, adding that belief is why the province has “quadrupled” its tourism spending since he was elected premier.
“Having said that, this is different. This is a very special event.”
Williams said the 400th anniversary celebrations for the first English-speaking colony in Canada is of national and international importance.
“This is money well spent. This is not just a big party next year, it’s much more than next year.”
HIGH FIVE - Three-year-old Alexander Lidster gives Premier Danny Williams a high five, while Tourism Minister Claude Jackman claps to the music. Alexander is the son of Shawn Lidster, who wrote and performed the song Cupers Cove. The politicians were in Cupids last week to announce $1.8 million for the Cupids400 celebrations.