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Archeologists advance toward proving Acadian burial site at Annapolis Royal, N.S.




Archaeologists say they’ve made a promising discovery at Fort Anne, Canada’s first national historic site, by using ground-penetrating radar to explore a burial ground.

Fort Anne is located in Annapolis Royal, N.S., and became a national historic site in 1917. It’s considered one of the most hotly contested sites in North American history, having changed hands seven times, between the Scottish, British and French.

Fort Anne, Canada’s first national historic site, is located in Annapolis Royal, N.S., on the banks of the Annapolis River. (Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

Ted Dolan, Parks Canada site manager, says it’s also the birthplace of the Acadian culture, since governor Charles de Menou d’Aulnay arrived there in 1636.

“The colonists that came with him, within two generations, stopped identifying themselves as French and started identifying themselves as Canadians and they lived all along these shorelines,” said Dolan, standing at the edge of Fort Anne, overlooking the Annapolis River.

There are 234 headstones on the site in what’s believed to be the British cemetery. The earliest stone was erected in 1720 and is the oldest known gravestone with a British inscription in Canada. 

But it’s also believed there are 2,000 people buried at Fort Anne in an Acadian burial ground with no visible traces.

The Garrison Graveyard at Fort Anne is one of the oldest in Canada. (Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

Alan Melanson, a local resident and 10th-generation Acadian, believes his ancestors are buried at Fort Anne, and he says it’s important to to know for sure.

‘Arbiter of history’

“I’ve read parish records, I’ve heard oral stories, but I find the arbiter of history is archeology,” he said.    

That’s why a team of archaeologists explored the area in early December using ground penetrating radar (GPR). They’re working in partnership with Parks Canada and Map Annapolis, a community-based organization that uses maps to learn more about places they care about in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.

“People seem to be becoming more and more interested in where they came from,” said Map Annapolis project manager Heather LeBlanc.  

Archeologist Sara Beanlands, left, and Map Annapolis project manager Heather LeBlanc review the map of the Garrison Graveyard at Fort Anne. (Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

Sara Beanlands, principal and senior archeologist with Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc., explained that GRP can explore what’s beneath the surface without disturbing sacred ground.

“It sends electromagnetic pulses into the ground, and if it hits something below the ground’s surface, the reflections will be sent back to the instrument,” she said.

Processing the data 

Collecting the data is relatively easy. An archeologist pushes a piece of equipment that looks like a lawnmower back and forth in straight lines, creating a grid. But processing the resulting data is time consuming.

Two weeks after the team collected the information, they produced images showing anomalies beneath the surface. A series of wave patterns showed up at the same depth —  about a metre below ground — in a row, evenly spaced.

Archeologists Beanlands and Garcin review the images produced by the data they collected at Fort Anne using ground penetrating radar. (Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

Archeologist Steve Garcin said it could mean two things.

“Either we could be seeing graves as these physical anomalies, or the spaces in between could be grave shafts that have been dug out,” he said.  

The archeologists don’t like to call it proof without actually digging up the site, but they say it is strong evidence of what Acadians have believed all along, that their ancestors are buried at Fort Anne.

Fort Anne became a national historic site in 1917, making it Canada’s first. (Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

“This is the cradle of Acadia,” said Alan Melanson. “Anybody who’s Acadian in the world traced their roots to this particular area.”

They agree the latest discovery beneath the earth is one more level of authenticity that identifies the final resting place of the dead and keeps a piece of Canadian history alive.



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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa




With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV




A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence




Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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