Joanne Plourde’s fascination with history and the days of the voyageurs recently resulted in the discovery of a cousin she didn’t know about.
Plourde, who organizes an annual Langley City event devoted to the days of the fur trade and the voyageurs who made it possible, had traced her ancestry to one of two brothers in Kamouraska, Quebec.
One became a voyageur while the other remained in Kamouraska, likely becoming a farmer or fishermen.
When Plourde posted about her discovery online, it drew an unexpected response from historian Nancy Marguerite Anderson, who messaged her with the information that she, too, had an ancestor from Kamouraska.
“Our ancestors were brothers, and one of the two came out west,” Plourde told the Langley Advance Times.
As it turned out, Anderson is related to the brother who became a voyageur, while Plourde’s ancestor stayed in Kamouraska.
“That was a really nice connection,” Plourde remarked.
On Saturday, May 13, the unexpected cousins will both make presentations at the annual Heritage Picnic, organized by Plourde’s group, Voyageurs & Co, at Langley City’s historic Michaud House .
Plourde, a professional costumer whose credits include Cirque de Soleil and the series Smallville, will be providing era-accurate costumes for interested participants.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the costumes of the past,” Plourde remarked.
Other presenters include host Sandra Reams, the custodian of Michaud House and an expert on its history, and musician Réjean Bussières, Seattle historian Robert Foxcurran, researcher Brodie Douglas, whose interests include the fur trade and Metis culture; Patrick Calihou, a B.C. Métis artist and wood worker who makes carved paddles and custom cedar row boats and canoes; Mark Forsythe, vice-president of the Langley Heritage Society, and lecturer Max Likin.
Finger food, homemade ice cream and live French/Canadian music are on the menu for the event.
It is the most ambitious Voyageurs & Co program yet, with Plourde describing it as laying the groundwork for next year, which will mark the bicentennial of the voyageurs trade.
Tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.ca under “The Heritage Picnic at Michaud House.”
They can also be purchased at the door Saturday morning, depending on availability.
More information about Voyageurs and Co. is available on their Facebook page.
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