Chapel Cove Harbour and St Peters Bay

Chapel Cove Harbour and St Peters Bay
Photo 26 of 41: Chapel Cove Harbour and St Peters Bay
Taken 2009 October 13 in Chapel Cove from the Chapel Cove Road near house number 187
GPS 45°36.510'N 60°46.248'W

The Chapel Cove Road leaves Highway 247 in L’Ardoise West at GPS 45°36.790'N 60°46.781'W and, 1 km (0.6 mi) later, places one below the church overlooking St Peters Bay, with Chapel Cove Harbour nestled inside the protection of L’Ardoise Head, seen in the centre of the photo. Since no islands are adjacent to this shore on the maps, except for St Peters Island, which is to the right and outside the scope of this photo, I assume what one sees in the distance are headlands and islands off the northeastern shores of Isle Madame. That this is a fall scene and not a summer one is clearly indicated by the changed colours of the grasses in the field and along the shore.

L’Ardoise is an Acadian village that dates back to at least 1720 in which fishing has played a large rôle since its founding.¹ Named for the large quantity of rock and slate found near its shore line, its name consists of the French words for “the slate”. The standard French pronunciation of the name today is [laʀˌdwaz] (lar-DWAHZ in rough English phonetics); the local Acadian pronunciation is [larˌdwez] (lar-DWAYZ), faithful to the French of its original settlers: the diphthong written oi was pronounced in Old French as [oɪ], but as Old French became Middle French, it evolved into [ue] and then [we] and later still into [wɛ]; in Paris, it evolved even further to end up as [wa] in the 18th century. [wa] was not generally accepted in polite circles in France until the end of that century and did not become the standard pronunciation until after the French Revolution, long after L’Ardoise had been settled.² The usual English pronunciation in Cape Breton, [ˈlard.weɪz] (LARD-ways) is a stress-shifted Anglicization of the Acadian version; I have also heard Cape Bretoners render the name [ˈlɔrd.weɪz] (LORD-ways), but that vowel change does not reflect the Acadian French pronunciation.³

From Chapel Cove, I drove on to Little Harbour beyond L’Ardoise where the afternoon cèilidh and lobster dinner was held. A lady dressed as a lobster greeted all who arrived at the beautifully decorated venue inside the Lobsters ’R’ Us building at the harbour. The afternoon’s entertainment was varied, from traditional Scottish fiddle music to sing-along folk songs to ballads to French folk songs I learnt in college French classes (e.g., Mon père aussi ma mère n’avaient que moi d’enfant, one version of which is given here) to music on the small pipes; enthusiastic step-dancing accompanied several of the numbers. The lobster dinner featured huge lobsters and a full complement of fixin’s, from corn on the cob to potato and pasta salads, to breads and rolls and, of course, tea, coffee, and a great array of desserts. This was the first time such an event had been held in the area during Celtic Colours and was such a success that plans are already being made to repeat it next year.

[2012] Indeed, the Sounds by the Sea afternoon has continued each year since with the same excellent entertainment format and fabulous lobster dinner; its organizers are to be congratulated for their fine achievement. It is a great tribute to the volunteerism that exists in this community that last year they also hosted an official Celtic Colours concert later in the week.

¹ See this web page (courtesy of the Wayback Machine archives, as the original no longer is on-line) for the names of the early settlers and a reminiscence of life in the area.

² See this French Wikipédia web page for the evolution of oi; a text book I used in college and now likely long out of print, A History of the French Language by Urban T. Holmes, Jr., and Alexander H. Schutz, published in 1948, gives some cultural information about this shift on p. 115 and on p. 132. See also this fascinating article, in English, on reviving historical pronunciations in French opera and theatre, which coïncidentally devotes a great deal of time to the evolution of oi. The older pronunciation survives in colloquial and jocular French to this day on both sides of the ocean in pronunciations such as [mwe] for moi, often spelt as moué in such contexts to convey its now non-standard nature.

³ It is interesting to note that the local English pronunciation of Framboise, another Richmond County place name, as [ˈfræm.bɔɪz] (FRAM-boyz) does not follow the Anglicization pattern used for L’Ardoise. In French, Framboise and L’Ardoise rhyme, as one would expect from their common endings.