Cupids400 Legacy

His­toric colony reaps $1.8 mil­lion boost from prov­ince

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALISHA MOR­RIS­SEY AND BILL BOW­MAN

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.”

Den­nis Flynn photo info@dennisflynn.ca

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.

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