Tantramar Township or Beauséjour Township?
Residents of the area known as Entity 40 are being asked for their thoughts on either of those names for the new municipality that will include Sackville, Dorchester, Point de Bute and their surrounding local service districts (LSDs).
“We want to get as much feedback as we can, so we get an informed decision,” says Robert Corkerton, the deputy mayor of Dorchester, who serves on the committee that will choose the new name.
“The timing is very tight,” he added in a telephone interview.
“The province has given us a very short time window to be able to make the decision. I believe we have until the eleventh of May to have a final name chosen and then sent in to them.”
So far, Corkerton has posted the two suggested names to various Facebook groups where participants have questioned the use of the word “township.”
He explains that, as far as the province is concerned, the new municipality will be legally designated as a town because it’s not large enough to be called a regional municipality, but representatives from Dorchester, Point de Bute and the LSDs thought the word “town” did not apply to them, so they’re suggesting township instead.
Corkerton says he’s noting all of the Facebook reactions and will be bringing them back to the committee, which consists of the mayors and deputy mayors of Sackville and Dorchester as well as representatives from the LSDs.
People can also comment on the names by e-mailing their thoughts to email@example.com.
Corkerton says names containing Tantramar, Beauséjour and Chignecto were all suggested after the committee consulted with local and provincial experts on historical names.
However, he adds that when Fort Folly First Nations Chief Rebecca Knockwood was consulted, she did not favour the name “Chignecto.”
He says he’s not sure why and so far, Chief Knockwood has not responded to phone messages asking for comment.
In his 1996 book Place Names of Atlantic Canada, William Hamilton writes that Chignecto is probably of Mi’kmaq origin and was applied both to Cape Chignecto on the Bay of Fundy as well as the isthmus that connects New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
In his Facebook posts, Corkerton points out that the names Tantramar and Beauséjour have deep historical roots (see his summaries below).
“Personally, I’m leaning towards Tantramar,” he says when asked about his own preference.
“Everybody recognizes that,” he adds. “Tantramar isn’t used anywhere else, it’s really specific to our area. I understand Beauséjour because that one fits as well, but I think Tantramar is the one that fits the best, everybody’s already using it.”
Corkerton emphasizes that the name will apply only to the new municipality while local communities will still be known by their current names.
This place name has its origin in the French word tintamarre, which means a great noise. The first French Acadian settlers in the area who arrived around the last quarter of the 17th century are said to have heard great flocks of geese or maybe the incoming tide that made a great noise. They used the word tintamarre to describe this noise and, eventually, an Acadian hamlet was given the name Tintamarre before the expulsion of 1755. When anglophone settlers arrived in the region in the 1760’s, they kept the name, and after decades of different spellings, it became Tantramar in the second half of the 19th century.
When the French Acadian settlers arrived in the region around the last quarter of the 17th century, they gave French names to their new settlements, Beaubassin being the better known of them all. Eventually, the name Beauséjour appeared to identify a hamlet. When French military forces built a fort in 1750 close to the Missaguash River, they named it Fort Beauséjour or Fort de Beauséjour. It was renamed Fort Cumberland when it was captured by British forces in the summer of 1755. Today, the name Beauséjour lives on as the name of the federal riding in southeastern New Brunswick, an important hotel in Moncton (Delta-Beauséjour), and numerous businesses and cultural groups, such as the Moncton choir Choeur Beauséjour.
For previous coverage, click here.