Fort Gaspareaux National Historic Site of Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Fort Gaspareaux National Historic Site of Canada is an archaeological site located just outside Port Elgin, New Brunswick, 4.8 km from the village of Baie Verte. It is on a small point of land jutting into Baie Verte on the Northumberland Strait separating the mainland from Prince Edward Island. The site consists of 1.23 hectares of flat coastal land on the south side of the estuary of the Gaspareaux River and is protected by a substantial sea wall. Its landscape contains archaeological traces of the French Fort Gaspareaux together with 9 graves of Provincial soldiers killed in 1756 while garrisoning the fort. The designation refers to the landscape and the remains of the French-English struggle it contains.
Fort Gaspareaux was designated a national historic site 1920 because of its role in the struggle between France and Britain for North America in the 1750s.
The heritage value of Fort Gaspareaux National Historic Site of Canada resides in its associated history as illustrated by the site, setting and associated remains. The strategic location and footprint of the fort, its materials, construction technology and disposition all embody value.
Fort Gaspareaux was a border outpost built by French troops in 1751 by order of the Marquis de Jonquière, Governor-General of New France to prevent the British from penetrating the Chignecto Isthmus. It also served as a provisioning base for the forts of Acadia during the French règime. The fort was manned by a skeleton staff of 19 soldiers led by M. De Villeray when, on 17 June 1755, it was attacked by British soldiers under Colonel John Winslow and forced to surrender. The British burned the fortress in September 1756. Its location has been known since that time even though the site of the fortress served as farmland for a long period. This was one of the first sites to be commemorated by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and became the locus of archaeological investigation in 1996.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1920, 1923 and 1975; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 2006.
Key elements of this site contributing to its heritage value include:
- its strategic location on the Isthmus of Chignecto on a defensible point of land extending into Baie Verte;
- its setting on a flat coastal plain beside a natural harbour off the Strait of Northumberland at the east end of the portage route through the Chignecto corridor, with a natural bog landward and indigenous forest as a border on one edge of the site;
- the integrity of the natural landscape;
- the trace of the fort itself as described by forms and remnants of its footprint embedded in the cultural landscape (ditch, remnants of the curtain wall);
- the integrity of above and below ground remnants of the fort;
- the found form, materials, and location of archaeological remnants;
- the integrity of the gravestones of soldiers killed in 1756 and buried on the site;
- retention of the knowledge associated with historic objects removed from the site during archaeological excavation (including 18th century ceramic shards; fragments of glassware; clay pipes; pre-European Aboriginal artifacts);
- viewplanes seaward from the site of the fort, toward the mouth of the Gaspareaux River, overland to the village of Baie Verte and to the portage route to Beausejour.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1751/01/01 to 1751/01/01
1755/01/01 to 1755/01/01
1751/01/01 to 1756/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
- Military Defence Installation
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection