acadian_deportation_cross

The cross was the centre of festivities at last summer's world Acadian congress.

A cross marking the deportation of the Acadians from Nova Scotia is getting a new home after historians determined it had been in the wrong place for 81 years.

The iron cross was placed in a field in Grand Pré, a site on the shores of the Minas Basin near Wolfville where the largest Acadian community was once located.

The cross supposedly marked the spot where 10,000 Acadians set out in boats after being forced out of their homes and expelled to the American colonies.

In the 1920s, the cross was erected by an old creek where historians thought they launched.

But new research tells a different story.

"It was impossible to have gone from that location because there was not a creek there, it was diked across," said John Johnson, a historian with Parks Canada.

"This is the location here at Horton Landing, which is the almost certain location where the Acadians walked their last steps on firm ground."

The rusty cross is getting patched, repaired and repainted before it's placed in its new home, near a monument marking the arrival of New England Planters a few years after the deportation.

The Société Nationale de l'Acadie supports the move and the repairs.

"We're very happy that Parks Canada is taking the time to do proper maintenance in preparation of setting the cross at its new location," said Michel Cyr, head of the society.

The placement of the cross near railway tracks was also an issue for the company that owned the property, which had complained for years that it was a safety risk.

"There was a tremendous amount of pedestrian traffic travelling down there and it was a safety concern to the railway, the province and Transport Canada," said Jim Taylor, with the Windsor and Hantsport Railway.

Parks Canada expects the cross will be fully restored and placed at the new site by July 28, the 250th anniversary of the beginning of the Acadian deportation. It began in 1755 and continued until 1762.