Map­ping P.E.I.

Sa­muel Hol­land map re­turns for ex­hibit cel­e­brat­ing 250 years since the his­toric sur­vey

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE -

A mas­sive, 250-year-old map of Prince Ed­ward Is­land, which laid the ground­work for de­vel­op­ing the province, has re­turned home.

His­toric surveyor Sa­muel Hol­land’s man­u­script map of the province, cre­ated in 1765 and rec­og­nized as a tech­ni­cal achieve­ment in Cana­dian history, was un­veiled at the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts last week­end.

The three-by four-me­tre map is the fo­cus of an ex­hi­bi­tion co-cu­rated by Is­land his­to­ri­ans Boyde Beck and Ed­ward Mac­Don­ald ti­tled Im­pe­rial De­signs: Sa­muel Hol­land’s 1765 Map and the Mak­ing of Prince Ed­ward Is­land.

Mac­Don­ald said the map, a prod­uct of im­pe­rial ri­val­ries at the time, pro­vided a crit­i­cal role as a tem­plate in the set­tle­ment of P.E.I.

“The Hol­land map in P.E.I. history sets in mo­tion ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pened since,” said Mac­Don­ald. “It’s a key event in the history of our province. So to bring the map here for the first time in so many years is an hon­our.”

Mac­Don­ald said the ex­hibit, which runs un­til Jan. 3, 2016, also gives a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the con­text the map was cre­ated in as well as how Hol­land sur­veyed the province.

“At the heart of this story is proof that maps can af­fect the course of history,” he said.

The doc­u­ment, which is on loan from the United King­dom Na­tional Ar­chives, was the first mod­ern, ac­cu­rate map of P.E.I.

Beck said the doc­u­ment was also the first step in the most am­bi­tious map­ping pro­ject the world had ever seen, a doc­u­ment cre­ated to show Bri­tain’s North Amer­i­can em- pire, which then stretched from Florida to Hud­son Bay

While seen by some as only a tool, the map has had a last­ing im­pact on names of com­mu­ni­ties, the ori­en­ta­tion of roads and even P.E.I.’s sta­tus as a province, he said.

“To make sense of Hol­land’s map, we have to make sense of Hol­land’s world. A world of war and diplo­macy, com­merce, ex­plo­ration and set­tle­ment,” said Beck. “In that world, maps were more than di­rec­tion fin­ders. They were in­stru­ments of em­pire.”

David Keenly­side, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the P.E.I. Mu­seum and Her­itage Foun­da­tion and chair of the province’s Sa­muel Hol­land 250 Com­mem­o­ra­tions Com­mit­tee, said the ex­hibit in­cludes other ar­ti­facts that show Hol­land’s life, work and the peo­ple of his gen­er­a­tion that shaped early P.E.I. history.

“This unique ex­hi­bi­tion high­lights the Hol­land com­mem­o­ra­tion year with a on­cein-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity for young and old to see for the first time in North Amer­ica, the orig­i­nal hand drawn map of Sa­muel Hol­land’s sur­vey,” he said.

Guy Berthi­aume, Li­brar­ian and Ar­chiv­ist of Canada, of­fi­cially opened the ex­hibit.

The ex­hibit was or­ga­nized col­lab­o­ra­tively by the P.E.I. Mu­seum and Her­itage Foun­da­tion, the Public Ar­chives and Records Of­fice of P.E.I., and the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre Art Gallery in part­ner­ship with the Cana­dian Mu­seum of History.

It also re­ceived fund­ing from the Gov­ern­ment of Canada and is spon­sored by the Sa­muel Hol­land 250 Com­mit­tee, Pu­rity Dairy Lim­ited, and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Prince Ed­ward Is­land Land Sur­vey­ors.

In­for­ma­tion on com­mem­o­ra­tive events can be found online at samuel­hol­land250.com

MITCH MAC­DON­ALD/THE GUARDIAN

Head of con­ser­va­tion at the United King­dom Na­tional Ar­chives Juer­gen Ver­voorst, left, stands with Is­land his­to­ri­ans Ed­ward Mac­Don­ald and Boyde Beck, Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre art gallery di­rec­tor Kevin Rice and U.K. Na­tional Ar­chives con­ser­va­tor Lucy An­gus in front of Sa­muel Hol­land’s orig­i­nal 1765 map of Prince Ed­ward Is­land. Beck and Mac­Don­ald are co-cu­ra­tors of the ex­hibit fea­tur­ing the his­toric map.

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