NORTH RUSTICO, P.E.I. - A symbol recognizing North Rustico’s Acadian and fishing heritage will now be a permanent fixture near the town’s boardwalk.
A six-foot bronze statue of a 1920s Acadian fisherman, located in the water just off the shore of Seawalk Park, was unveiled during a ceremony Saturday.
Many families in North Rustico are still the descendants of Acadians who settled in the town in 1790.
“It really depicts what a fisherman was in the 1920s here and what really built so much of this fishing community and it’s amazing to see,” said Amanda Sauer of Charlottetown, who was at the event because of her family’s strong ties to North Rustico.
The statue was one of three major renovations recently made at the boardwalk.
The former gazebo was also replaced with a larger, more modern structure.
“We had a lot of requests for people to say their wedding vows so that’s all set up for a band, electricity and lights and things like that,” said North Rustico mayor Anne Kirk.
The third renovation was the installation of rocks along roughly 1,100 feet of the town’s shoreline to prevent further erosion.
Kirk said she spoke with someone recently who remembers a time when erosion wasn’t as problematic in the town.
“When they were little, the tide used to go way out and they used to be able to go clamming but you can’t go clamming out that area now because the erosion has taken a lot of the bank with it,” she said.
Kirk said the funding for the renovations was the result of a group effort with money coming from the provincial government, ACOA and other groups.
The total price for all three projects came to roughly $800,000.
Kirk said she did not have the exact numbers but the majority of the money went towards the rocks to prevent erosion.
About $80,000 went towards the overall cost of the statue, including installation.
In order to move the statue to the water, a temporary road from the cliff to the statue’s location was built.
The statue will be able to withstand all seasons.
“The freeze won’t bother it at all,” said Kirk.
Ted Gamauf, one of the boardwalk’s founders, said he is proud of the tourist attraction’s growth since its installation in 1996.
“It’s marvelous,” he said of the new statue.