Word from the President
By Alexander Reford
August 7th 2012, Heritage Lower Saint Lawrence launched two new editions of Alice Sharples Baldwin’s classic book on the history of Métis-sur-Mer today at the historic Killiecrankie Inn at Leggatt’s Point. Musicians and actors brought Baldwin’s book to life life with readings and performances in homage to this classic book by one of Metis’ most prolific authors.
Heritage Lower Saint Lawrence has published the original Metis Wee Scotland of the Gaspé with new illustrations and the first ever edition in French, entitled Métis un brin d’Écosse en Gaspésie. Metis Wee Scotland of the Gaspé tells the story of this seaside community over more than 200 years. Baldwin presents a tableau of vivid anecdotes and some of foundation stories of Metis. She chronicles the lives of many of its distinguished visitors and the story of the many families who have made Metis their summer home since the 1850s. Baldwin is a talented story-teller and dramatist and the history of the oldest English-speaking community in the region comes alive through her distinctive voice.
Alice Sharples Baldwin was an author and historian who summered in Metis for more than fifty years. Born and raised in Quebec City, she was educated at McGill and the Sorbonne in Paris. She was the author of several other books, including a history of the Price family. Her novel High Wide and Handsome was set in Metis. She wrote Metis Wee Scotland of the Gaspé from Tall Trees, her house at Leggatt’s Point. Baldwin also did many of the illustrations in the original publication that have been reproduced in this new edition.
This project was initiated by Jacques Bastien, one of the founding members of Heritage Lower Saint Lawrence in the belief that the Francophone community would benefit from knowing more about Metis and its unique history. Long-time resident of the region and summer tenant of the United Church Manse, Jacques is a collector of anecdotes and local history and has brought his intimate knowledge of the region and his elegant prose to this first ever edition in French. He perfected the translation of Metis Wee Scotland of the Gaspé with his wife Bernadette Labrie. Métis un brin d’Écosse en Gaspésie features an introduction by Julie Coulson Fine, a great niece of the author.
Metis Wee Scotland of the Gaspé and Métis un brin d’Écosse en Gaspésie are published by Heritage Lower St. Lawrence with the assistance of the C.B. Powell Family Foundation and Canadian Heritage. Alexander Reford selected the illustrations and piloted the project. Graphic design is by Fernande Forest. Many of the photographs used in the publication are from the collection of the McCord Museum of Canadian History and Les Jardins de Métis.