Contenu de l'article
The Modern Grand Pre-Picturesque Scenery – Hospitable people – Myriads of the Sea Fowl. (Charlottetown New Era) A few days ago our city was visited by Mr. Gisborne, the Superintendents of Telegraphs for the Dominion of Canada. This highly esteemed official was then returning from the Magdalen Islands, where he was employed in making the preliminary arrangements for the laying of two sub-marine cables to that isolated part of the Canadian Dominion; one from the North Cape of Cape Breton, and the other from the East Point of P.E. Island, both to meet at that part of the Magdalen coast known as Ance a Cabaue, Amherst Island. Thence telegraphic wires will extend over the principal islands of the group. There will be a Telegraph office at each lighthouse, where one man will act as both a light-keeper and telegraph-operator. In addition, there will be an office at Amherst, near Mr. Painchaud’s and another at Mr. Nelson Arseneaux’s House Harbor. This line of telegraph was determined upon by our rulers at Ottawa, not only with a view to the convenience of the Island – themselves, but also for the purpose of benefiting the fishing and shipping interests of the whole Dominion. It was first proposed in Parliament, ably advocated and brought to its present stage by the Hon. Dr. Fortin, the energetic representative for the County of Gaspe in the House of Commons, and will certainly prove of incalculable benefit to fishermen, ship-owners, and ship-wrecked mariners. The great telegraphic centre will be on the far off Bird Rocks, which is about 12 miles north of the nearest Island of the Magdalen group, and directly in the course of the steamships and sailing vessels, from Europe or Newfoundland bound to the various ports of the Gulf and River St. Lawrence. Thus, many days before their arrival, their near approach can be communicated to the owners; orders can be asked for; the news of shipwrecks and fishing prospects can speedily be sent on the wings of the lightening, saving time and money and lessening considerably the cost of insurance. In a word, this scheme of telegraphic communication, matured in the patriotic brain of the Hon. Dr. Fortin, casts off the shackles from navigation in the Gulf and across the Atlantic, and will give a fresh impetus to trade in this department of Canadian industry. As the Magdalen Archipelago will in the future be more generally known as a favorite resort for lovers of picturesque scenery, tourists and sportsmen, a short description of it here may not be out of place. It consists of a group of ten islands situated in the very centre of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, about 50 miles north of P.E. Island, 55 miles north-west of Cape Breton, 80 miles south west of Newfoundland and 130 miles south-east of Perce, in the County of Gaspe. Their names are: Amherst, Grindstone, Alright, Wolf, Entry, Dead Man, Coffin, Grosse, Brian and Bird Rock Islands. They stretch from North East to south east, a distance of about 60 miles from the Bird Rocks to Dead Man’s Island, and altogether have an area of about 55,000 acres, and a population of nearly 5,000. The principal and almost only inhabited islands are Amherst, 14 miles long and 4 wide; Grindstone, 6 miles long and 5 wide; Alright, 4 miles long and 2 miles wide. The inhabitants are, with few exceptions, Acadian French. The whole group is divided into four parishes, with an average of 150 families each, and each parish is furnished with a commodious church, a presbytery and a resident parish priest, - the Rev. Mr. Herbert, being at House Harbour, Alright Island; the Rev. Mr. Allard at L’etang du Nord, Grindstone Island; Rev. C. Boudreault, at Amherst, and the Rev. S. Boudreault at the Basin, to the western part of Amherst Island. At House Harbour there is a Convent School kept by four Sisters of the Congregation de Notre Dame. The scenery of the Islands is grand and picturesque. There you will find no rocky and barren wastes, out everywhere, the eye is pleased with the sight of beautiful fields” covered with the sight of green, rich pastures and fields of waving corn. The hills and mountains are numerous, in shape almost perfect cones, varying in height from 400 to 700 feet, covered with grazing herds of horses, cattle and sheep. The sole proprietor of the entire group is Admiral Coffin; now residing in France. To him the settlers pay a rental of one franc per acre for the land they cultivate. The Islanders are all engaged in fishing. The catching, curing, and exportation of fish is their only employment; still the richness of the soil has, of late years, induced many to divide their attention between fishing and farming, so that farms of an ordinary size and appearance are everywhere to be met with. Stock raising is well attended to; the rich pastures and abundant hay crops render this branch of industry very profitable. A good hay crop is cut year after year off the same piece of land without exhausting in the least, its wonderful fertility. A stranger is everywhere struck with the politeness and hospitality of the native; visitors are seldom allowed to depart without being presented with some valuable articles of home production. Their dwellings are very models of tidiness, comfort and convenience – “where peace and plenty dwell.” The number of visitors to the Island is increasing year by year; and artists are led thither to photograph not only the fair forms of the natives but also the no less attractive landscapes of their northern archipelago.