Rue Principale in Saint-Basile, Edmundston, New Brunswick, E7C, Canada
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Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Saint-Basile Cemetery is a cemetery containing tombstones, monuments and a wrought-iron fence located in front of the Saint-Basile church, on Principale Street in the Saint-Basile quater of the city of Edmundston.
Saint-Basile Cemetery is designated a Local Historic Place for being the oldest final resting place in Madawaska County. It is also recognized for the pioneers who are buried there and for the sculpted works done by people from the region.
Still in use today and currently enclosed by a wrought-iron fence on two sides that opens into three portals on the front, the Saint-Basile Cemetery was the first cemetery in the Madawaska region. It has provided a final resting place for the people of this community for more than 200 years. The first grave goes back to circa 1790. The oldest known tombstone dates from 1802.
Saint-Basile Cemetery is recognized for the graves of important figures in Madawaska’s history. Father Benjamin Saindon spent 16 years of his sacerdotal life in Saint-Basile. He founded a colony near Pont-Prime in Saint-Basile and had the Calvary erected in the cemetery. Msgr. Louis-Napoléon Dugal left his mark on local history through his dedication to society by creating 14 parishes and spending 53 years of his sacerdotal life in Saint-Basile. A marble stone is dedicated to Marguerite “Tante Blanche” Thibodeau Cyr, whose charitable work in the area during the Black Famine of 1797 earned her the title of “aunt of Madawaska”.
The heritage value of this cemetery also lies in the sculpted works found there. A granite monument to the cross was created by Rino P. Martin and René Doucette in the memory of the forefathers whose names are engraved on a bronze plaque. A Calvary composed of four statutes, assembled by Alphonse Pelletier and Lévite Bois, is located across from the cemetery’s main entrance at the end of a path interspersed with sculpted stone plaques, representing the procession of Christ.
Source: Société Historique du Madawaska, Site File: "Cimetière Saint-Basile"
The character-defining elements that describe Saint-Basile Cemetery as a whole include:
- wrought-iron fence enclosing two sides of the cemetery and opening into three portals on the front;
- wooden tombstones;
- wrought-iron crosses serving as tombstones;
- tombstones made of sculpted marble;
- granite monument dedicated to the forefathers, located at the cemetery’s right-hand entrance;
- cement-slab walkway at the main entrance, interspersed with sculpted stone plaques representing the procession of Christ;
- Calvary composed of four statues, located at the end of the path;
- series of white painted wooden crosses at the rear of the cemetery in memory of the Madawaska pioneers, whose names are engraved on the crosses.
Local Governments (NB)
Local Historic Places Program
Municipal Register of Local Historic Places
1878/01/01 to 1878/01/01
1802/01/01 to 1802/01/01
1797/01/01 to 1797/01/01
1790/01/01 to 1790/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Architect / Designer
Pioneers of Madawaska
Location of Supporting Documentation
Centre de documentation et d'études madawaskayennes and the Société historique du Madawaska
Cross-Reference to Collection