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Marshland: History of marshland

A virtual exhibit on the records of life on the Tantramar.



For at least 7,000 years indigenous peoples have frequented the Tantramar Marshes to hunt and gather food

1583 French explorer Stephen Bellinger reputed to have explored area of Bay of Fundy and Minas Basin

1604 First French settlement established on Isle Ste-Croix in St. Croix River; settlement relocates to Port Royal a year later

1605-7 Champlain explores the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy

1671 First Acadian settlements commence on the Tantramar marshes at Beaubassin

1713 Treaty of Utrecht grants large part of present-day Nova Scotia to the British; Tantramar area forms a frontier between English territory and French territory

1750s British construct Fort Lawrence and French construct Fort Beausejour on a adjacent ridges of Tantramar Marsh as part of building geopolitical climate for control

1755 British take Fort Beausejour, and subsequently Acadian residents of the area are dispersed as part of the Expulsion of Acadia

1761 Demobilized soldiers from Fort Lawrence and Rhode Island Baptist colonists arrive to take over abandoned Acadian lands

1772-4 Some 1,000 Yorkshire Methodist settlers arrive to take over lands abandoned by other English speaking settlers

1760 Legislation passed to create Commissioners of Sewers to manage the marsh

1784 Creation of the Province of New Brunswick as separate from Nova Scotia

1785-6 Loyalist settlers arrive to settle at Chignecto

1803-1823 Early censuses taken for Parish of Sackville

1815 Tolar Thompson begins construction of a canal to drain the upper marshes as part of a plan to extend the agricultural area of the marsh

1839 Charles Frederick Allison donates land and money to start a Wesleyan Academy in Sackville, this later becomes Mount Allison University

1847 Local merchants petition to have Sackville become a free port of entry

1867 British North America Act establishes the Canadian Confederation

1872 Intercolonial Railway completed to Amherst, NS

1870-1914 Hay pressing devices become an important means for farmers to prepare their hay for export

1897 Project to construct the Chignecto Ship Railway ends in failure due to lack of funding

1903 Sackville Hay and Feed Company established, later expanded to Eastern Hay and Feed Company in 1913

1903 Town of Sackville, New Brunswick incorporated

1913-1922 Navigation to the Port of Sackville becomes progressively difficult due to silting: port abandoned as railway and highway communication takes over

1914-1918 World War I

1929-1940 Great Depression causes significant economic hardship and despair in Canada and elsewhere

1920-1940 Regional and international market for Tantramar hay declines sharply as automobiles replace horses in transportation and resource industries

1939-1945 World War II

1943 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation builds shortwave transmission facility on Tantramar marshes at Cole's Island site.

1947 Field Office for the newly formed Canadian Wildlife Service locates in Sackville, pointing to new recognition and interest in the importance of the marshes to migratory birds

1948 Maritime Marsh Rehabilitation Act passed to provide federal assistance in repair and maintenance of dykes

1970 Agricultural exploitation of the marshes wanes as more and more people derive their living from other forms of employment

1975 Growing emphasis on seeing the marshes as a cultural resource, a place for artists, naturalists, and ecotourism