Cupids a cul­tural, her­itage jewel, says premier

Hun­dreds as­sem­ble to of­fi­cially open new Legacy Cen­tre

The Compass - - NEWS - BY TERRY ROBERTS edi­tor@ cb­n­com­pass. ca

Hun­dreds gath­ered un­der a set­ting sun in Cupids on Aug. 17 to of­fi­cially mark the open­ing of a new Legacy Cen­tre in the his­toric com­mu­nity, with Premier Danny Wil­liams say­ing the cen­tre and this year’s Cupids 400 cel­e­bra­tions are for­mal recog­ni­tion of the fact that Cupids is be­com­ing a tourism, cul­tural and her­itage jewel.

“ I look for­ward to watch­ing this jewel sparkle and shine in the years to come.” Wil­liams com­mented.

It was a mo­men­tous event for the small com­mu­nity, which played host last week to the most sig­nif­i­cant cul­tural event to be staged in this prov­ince in quite some time.

Thou­sands of vis­i­tors streamed through the com­mu­nity dur­ing the six-day Cuipds Cove Soiree, which was billed as the mar­quee event of Cupids 400 Cel­e­bra­tions.

It all be­gan with a rib­bon-cut­ting in the park­ing lot of the new Legacy Cen­tre, a fit­ting name for the $5 mil­lion fa­cil­ity, lo­cated in the cen­tre of the com­mu­nity.

“ The work of Cupids 400 Inc. will en­sure all Cana­di­ans will have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the sig­nif­i­cance of the his­toric events that took place in this very har­bour, be­neath the pro­tect­ing folds of Spec­ta­cle Head,” said Roy Dawe, chair of the Cupids 400 board of di­rec­tors.”

He de­scribed the Legacy Cen­tre and the soiree as “a dream come true.”

The event drew an im­pres­sive line-up of dig­ni­taries, in­clud­ing Michaelle Jean, Gover­nor Gen­eral of Canada, Lieut.-Gov. John Cros­bie, An­thony Cary, the Bri­tish High Com­mis­sioner to Canada, and many other elected of­fi­cials at the fed­eral, pro­vin­cial and mu­nic­i­pal level.

The cen­tre tel ls the story of Canada’s first English colony and ex­plains the pro­vin­cial, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional sig­nif­i­cance of Cupids, Wil­liams ex­plained.

It show­cases the more then 160,000 ar­ti­facts that have been un­earthed since ar­chae­ol­o­gist Bill Gil­bert dis­cov­ered John Guy’s plan­ta­tion site in 1995.

It also in­cludes ex­hibits on Guy’s colony, a his­tory of Cupids, the his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tions be­tween Cupids and other com­mu­ni­ties of the north­ern Avalon Penin­sula, and its ties to Labrador.

There’s also a fam­ily his­tory re­source cen­tre, a multi-pur­pose room and an ar­chae­ol­ogy lab.

It was built with fund­ing from both the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments.

“ Right here we step back in time and ex­pe­ri­ence lit­tle bits of ev­ery­day life from the 17th and the 18th cen­tury, all of this care­fully and metic­u­lously re­vealed af­ter hun­dreds of years be­neath the earth,” Wil­liams said.

He added the cen­tre will serve as a cat­a­lyst for fu­ture eco­nomic devel­op­ment in the re­gion.

Keith Ash­field, the fed­eral min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency, said it was “awe-inspring” to con­sider what John Guy and his fel­low set­tlers en­dur­ing when they landed in Cupids four cen­turies ago.

He noted that ev­ery city and town in Canada “ is linked in its ex­is­tence to the per­se­ver­ance and de­ter­mi­na­tion of a small beach­head of a com­mu­nity in New­found­land and Labrador.”

There was spe­cial men­tion made of groups such as the Bac­calieu Trail Her­itage Corp, the Cupids His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, the Town of Cupids and ar­chae­ol­o­gist Bill Gil­bert.

“All things are pos­si­ble when you have a true and wor­thy cause,” Dawe said.

Pho­tos by Terry Roberts/The Com­pass

Tak­ing part in the rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony to of­fi­cially open the new Legacy Cen­tre in Cupids last week were, from left, Cupids 400 Inc. vice chair Lloyd Kane, Cupids Mayor Ron Laracy, town councillor Harold Akerman, ACOA Min­is­ter Keith Ash­field, Premier Danny Wil­liams, Tourism and Cul­ture Min­is­ter Terry French, Har­bour Main MHA Tom Hed­der­son and Roy Dawe, chair of the Cupids 400 Inc. board of di­rec­tors

Michaëlle Jean, the Gover­nor Gen­eral of Canada, toured the new Cupids Legacy Cen­tre prior to its of­fi­cial open­ing on Aug. 17. She was joined by Jean-Daniel La­fond and their daugh­ter Marie-Éden.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple jammed the park­ing lot at the Cupids Legacy Cen­tre to wit­ness the of­fi­cial open­ing of the fa­cil­ity.

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