Celebrating this 300th anniversary provided an opportunity to acknowledge our origins and showcase the major contribution of the French and Acadians to what is today Prince Edward Island. We were also celebrating the fact that 300 years later, French is still spoken on the Island!
The First Nations have been living on the Island for thousands of years. During this anniversary year, it was important to reaffirm these historical bonds of friendship between the Mi’kmaq and the French and Acadians.
The 300th anniversary consequently also provided a unique opportunity to recognize the impact of French rule (1720–1758) on the Island, notably from a toponymic perspective, since countless places still bear the names given to them by the French.
It was also an opportunity to highlight the fact that a great number of Islanders have Mi’kmaq, Acadian and French roots. Even if they no longer go by their names of old, how many MacDonalds, McNeills, Sheas, Maddixes, O’Briens, Fennesseys, McKinnons, McPhees, Stewarts, Camerons and many others simply have not yet delved far back enough into their genealogical roots?