From Moncton, Rte-15 cuts across to the Northumberland Strait at SHEDIAC, the province’s lobster capital, while Rte-11 heads north along what’s been dubbed the Acadian Coast all the way to Miramichi. Settled in the years after the deportations of the 1750s, the string of pretty villages here are all French-speaking and proud of their Acadian roots. BOUCTOUCHE, 35km north of Shediac (55km from Moncton), was founded by Acadians in 1785 and is the birthplace of Canadian business legend K.C. Irving in 1899 – he opened his first petrol station here in 1924.
Le Pays de la Sagouine
The highlight of the Acadian Coast is Le Pays de la Sagouine, a sort of Acadian fantasy village set on the Île-aux-Puces and connected to the mainland by a 325m wooden footbridge. Conceived by acclaimed local Acadian writer Antonine Maillet (the name comes from her 1971 novel La Sagouine) and opened in 1992, costumed actors show off traditional Acadian crafts, cuisine and trades such as fishing, all enhanced with humorous tales and period costume (including the eponymous heroine of La Sagouine, an uneducated washerwoman, considered the voice of the Acadian people). Actors also take part in musical performances throughout the day: the excellent dinner theatre is $53.99 ($64 joint ticket), but check the website for performances in English. You’ll probably enjoy this more if you speak at least some French, but the site is bilingual and daily tours run in English.