Monday, June 4, 2012

The beginnings of Canada – St Malo:

We think you know that one of the things we love most about our home town of St Malo is its history.  One of the many highlights of that history are the adventures of the famous explorer,  Jacques Cartier, the man credited with discovering Canada or at least the small region of Québec  he named Canada as a result of his 1534 voyage.

Charged by François I of France to look for gold in the New World Cartier set off from St Malo on 20 Apr 1534 with 2 ships and 61 men.  He arrived off Newfoundland 20 days later.  After what was generally regarded as a successful voyage he set off on a larger expedition in 1535 with 3 ships, Grande Hermine, Petite Hermine and Émérillon, and a crew of 110.

He returned to his newly discovered lands several more time throughout his lifetime but died at home in St Malo and is buried in pride of place in the Cathedral St Vincent in the walled city.

The connection between France and Canada has always been strong of course but here in St Malo there is a terrific sense of pride that this is where it all began and many Canadians make pilgrimages here each year to retrace the steps of the great explorer.  The ‘Place de Quebec’ houses a mini cultural embassy ‘Maison de Quebec’ which hosts seasonal cultural events with many visiting Canadian performers entertaining the locals and the tourists alike. 

The natural link means that many Canadians have made this part of France home and many more have chosen to buy holiday homes here.

If nothing else the common language makes their transition considerably easier ………..