Minudie celebrates rebirth as volunteers repair tiny Acadian village
Often more committee members than residents in historic community near Bay of Fundy
The historic Acadian village of Minudie, N.S., is coming back to life, thanks to the hard work of a team of volunteers.
The volunteers are a mix of locals and people with roots in the Cumberland County community.
They've been busy restoring the village's school and two churches. The three white buildings sit together high on the hill — like Mahone Bay's iconic churches, but on the Fundy shore.
Only about 30 people live in the village full time — although the population is set to grow by one this fall when a baby is due — and often there are more committee members in the village than residents.
Returning to the homeland
"This is the homeland of my grandmother, Jenny DesBarre, who married a Terrio, and my father was born here, my parents were married here at St. Denis Church, my grandparents were married here and my great-grandparents are buried here," said Sharon Gould, who leads the Minudie Heritage Association. "So married and buried here in Minudie."
Her volunteer crew and a few other committees are renovating the Universalist Church, St. Denis Church and the school. The Catholic church contains pews built by Acadians who were expelled and later returned.
The buildings date to the 1800s, but some of the pews and other items date to the 1700s.
Pauline Brown, born a Comeau, used to teach in the school.
"A one-room schoolhouse, from Grade Primary to Grade 6. An old coal stove. Outside toilets. And that was 1959," she recalled.
Brown was born in nearby Joggins, but has family roots in Minudie. She and her husband also lived in the village when they were first married. Now she's helping to restore it.
The Amos Seaman School Museum contains an old chalkboard, desks, artifacts, and that old coal stove to chase out winter.
Brown and her husband also look after the old cemetery.
Founded in 1672
Minudie was founded in 1672 by a small group of Acadian families. They'd first come to the area to hunt and gather for provisions to help them survive the winter in Port-Royal.
The Mi'kmaq in the area befriended them and the families founded the village.
A flag still flies at the site of the 1755 deportation, but many of the people later returned.
Gould said the restoration work is almost finished.
"This will be scraped and painted next spring so that this time next year, we'll be able to say, 'Done,'" she said, before pausing.
"No," she laughed, "we won't, no. These old properties always have something left to do."