Seek­ing ‘likes’ for Cupids

Ef­fort un­der­way to in­clude first English set­tle­ment in Canada’s Mu­seum of His­tory

The Compass - - PORTHTE -

There’s a grass­roots ef­fort un­der­way to con­vince those who op­er­ate the Cana­dian Mu­seum of Civ­i­liza­tion —soon to known as the Cana­dian Mu­seum of His­tory — that the es­tab­lish­ment of Canada’s first English set­tle­ment in Cupids is wor­thy of recog­ni­tion.

The Cana­dian Mu­seum of Civ­i­liza­tion and the Cana­dian War Mu­seum have launched an In­ter­net cam­paign, ask­ing Cana­di­ans what they would like to put in th­ese na­tional mu­se­ums, in­clud­ing his­tor­i­cal events, per­son­al­i­ties and mile­stones.

The web­site features a “time­line” that in­cludes some no­table events through­out his­tory, and those who visit the site can click a “like” but­ton to in­di­cate whether they would sup­port see­ing this event ex­hib­ited in the mu­seum.

There’s also a fea­ture that al­lows vis­i­tors to “add” an im­por­tant his­tor­i­cal event.

Up to late last week, the es­tab­lish­ment of an English set­tle­ment by Bris­tol mer­chant John Guy in 1610 in what is now mod­ern day Cupids had been “liked” by just un­der 200 vis­i­tors to the site.

The time­line can be found at the fol­low­ing link: http://www.civ­i­liza­­his­to­ry­mu­seum/whatis-the-cana­dian-story/

There’s also a sec­tion called “Who has shaped our coun­try,” which can be found at the fol­low­ing link: http://www.civ­i­liza­­his­to­ry­mu­seum/who-has-shaped-our­coun­try/

This link in­cludes a se­lec­tion of prom­i­nent per­son­al­i­ties, and again asks vis­i­tors to “vote” for the per­son­al­i­ties they would fea­ture in the his­tory mu­seum.

One of those added to the list is John Guy, who had re­ceived roughly 150 likes by late last week.

Guy is said to have ar­rived at Cu­per’s Cove with a party of 39 men in Au­gust 1610. By the fol­low­ing win­ter, the pop­u­la­tion had climbed to 62, de­spite scurvy and pi­rate at­tacks.

The colonists fished, farmed, ex­plored for min­er­als and traded furs with the Beothuk, the now ex­tinct Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple of New­found­land and Labrador.

Ac­cord­ing to lit­er­a­ture, Guy’s ef­fi­cient lead­er­ship at Cu­per’s Cove es­tab­lished a model that would prove suc­cess­ful at other early New­found­land set­tle­ments.

To­day, Cupids is an im­por­tant ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site and pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion, and was the site of a ma­jor cel­e­bra­tion in 2010, mark­ing the 400th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of the set­tle­ment.

Those who op­er­ate the Cupids Legacy Cen­tre are en­cour­ag­ing area res­i­dents to sup­port the “My His­tory Mu­seum” project.

“We need some votes of sup­port to give our lit­tle-known story some na­tional promi­nence in the con­text of other im­por­tant Cana­dian sto­ries,” gen­eral man­ager Peter Laracy wrote in an email dis­trib­uted last re­cently.

“Please visit the on­line time­line and vote if you be­lieve, like me, that the found­ing of the Cupids colony is a story that has a right­ful place in Canada’s his­tor­i­cal time­line and should def­i­nitely be in­cluded in our new Cana­dian Mu­seum of His­tory.”

Dur­ing a 2009 visit to Cupids, Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper de­scribed the his­tor­i­cal events in Cupids as a “sem­i­nal moment in Cana­dian his­tory.”

Com­pass file photo by Terry Roberts

This photo of the Cupids Legacy Cen­tre was taken from high atop Spec­ta­cle Head dur­ing the sum­mer of 2012.

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