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An immigrant photographer who championed wetlands conservation in Nova Scotia. A Jesuit priest who made it his earthly mission to support struggling farmers in P.E.I. And an Acadian architect whose vision helped to shape his community in New Brunswick.
The stories of these three innovators will be celebrated and shared thanks to the John Bragg Award for Atlantic Canada — a new granting program made possible by the River Philip Foundation that promotes and preserves the histories of community leaders in the region.
Each organization will receive a $50,000 grant for a project to share the stories of inspiring people who have shaped Atlantic Canadian history and society. In addition, they will be featured in a content piece developed by Canada’s History to help further share these stories with a national audience.
The 2023 recipients are:
The Rosemary Eaton Legacy Project
Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia)
Rosemary (Gilliat) Eaton (1919-2004) was a ground-breaking female activist, photojournalist, and community leader. She was born in England in 1919 and moved to Cole Harbour in 1965. She took an avid interest in the community and was dedicated to preserving the local heritage and protecting the natural environment. She had a particular interest in wetland conservation and played a vital role in protecting the Cole Harbour Saltmarsh from urban expansion. She founded the Cole Harbour Environment Committee and was a founding member of the Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society. She continued documenting the changing landscape of Cole Harbour until the late 1990s.
The Rosemary Eaton Legacy Project will honour Eaton’s work with the construction of an outdoor classroom and an art installation and exhibit featuring her photographs.
Father Belcourt: missionary, educator, visionary, fighter for human rights, helping people to help themselves
Friends of the Farmers Bank of Rustico Inc. (Rustico, Prince Edward Island)
Father Georges-Antoine Belcourt (1803–1874) was born in Baie-du-Febvre, Quebec and ordained to the priesthood in 1827. He served as a priest mainly in Manitoba, North Dakota, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. Among the first missionaries to the Red River, Belcourt sympathized with the Métis and supported them in their greivances against the Hudson’s Bay Company. He relocated to Rustico, Prince Edward Island, in 1859, where he set out to help the Acadians, mainly poor French-speaking farmers and fishermen. There, he founded the Farmers Bank of Rustico, the precursor to the credit union movement in North America.
This project will create a bilingual museum and education program and lecture series to investigate and share Belcourt’s complex life and legacy.
Nazaire Dugas redux
Nordais Collectif (Tracadie-Sheila, New Brunswick)
Born in Caraquet, New Brunswick, Nazaire Dugas (1864-1942) was the first Acadian architect to make a living from his profession. He created plans for many prominent buildings in the region, as well as a number of private residences and businesses. His conceptual, technical and practical know-how has had a major influence on the development of the entire Acadian Peninsula. Despite this, much of his work is not well-known and is at risk for demolition or disrepair.
“Nazaire Dugas redux” is an ambitious project to research and survey Dugas’ buildings, develop a summer residency for artists to engage with the history, and create a physical and digital exhibition of Dugas’ work.
The John Bragg Award is made possible with the generous support of the River Philip Foundation.