Elm Tree Project PDF Print E-mail


In the beginning, the Old Elm Tree stands at Horton Landing as a sentinel watching over the tides...


A beautiful place for an outing!


13 eagles perched in the Old Elm Tree

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The Sentinel standing as a witness before the high tides of the Minas Basin - 175 years of keeping the watch!


Lone Eagle... by Wendy Elliot


True companions


2009 - The Sentinel till standing!

Then comes the great storm of 2010... the Sentinel falls!


In the night of November 5th - 6th, 2010, the Old Elm Tree succombs in the wake of a powerful storm.

The Old Elm Tree lives on!

The week after the storm, Monette Léger, an Acadian artist and sculptor from Shediac, New-Brunswick, well-known for her numerous tree sculptures in and around her hometown, is moved by the loss of this great landmark that stood as a companion next to the Deportation Cross at Horton Landing, and comes up with an idea! She calls Victor Tétrault, Executive director of Société Promotion Grand-Pré, and asks if she could have a piece of the tree. In the course of their conversation they come up with another idea to expand the project to include two other sculptors: a sculptor from the First Nations, and a descendant of the New England Planters.

Victor asks the head of Maintenance at Grand-Pré National Historic Site, Wayne Kelley, if he and his staff could go to Horton Landing to collect pieces of the tree before the snow sets in for the winter.


November 2010 - The maintenance crew from Grand-Pré National Historic Site examine the fallen tree at Horton Landing.


Pieces recovered from the fallen Elm Tree are brought to Grand-Pré National Historic Site.

In the weeks that follow, an invitation goes out to Gerald Gloade, a Mi'kmaq history Interpretor and Artist with the Millbrook First Nation community located adjacent to the Town of Truro, and to Doug Morse from the community of New England Planters living in the Grand Pré area. Since 1984 Doug has carved signage of all shapes and sizes for residential, commercial, and nautical applications, as well as family crests. During this time, he broadened his scope to include antique repairs and reproduction furniture. Gerald and Doug both eagerly accept the invitation to participate in this unique project.


monetteleger Gerald Gloade Doug Morse

Monette Léger (Acadian), Gerald Gloade (Mi'kmaq) and Doug Morse (New England Planter descendant)

The artists agree on a design...

In the months that follow, Monette provides an initial drawing. The project evolves when the three artists meet at Grand-Pré in April 2011 to decide the next steps together.



Initial drawing, how it all begins.

The artists find the trunk itself not suitable for carving and decide to use it as the backdrop and carve on pieces of basswood glued up. Then these panels are secured to the tree trunk pieces for display.



Introduction of basswood to be carved and mounted to the elm tree (see pale yellow section)



Doug gluing pieces of basswood together.

In July 2011, during her two-week residency at the Historic Site, Monette Léger and her partner Raymond Nadeau (they are married since!) begin the work.


Parks Canada staff give a helping hand to Raymond (seen on the right).

The artists find the trunk itself not suitable for carving and decide to use it as the backdrop and carve on pieces of basswood glued up. Then these panels are secured to the tree trunk pieces for display.

Monette creates the model for the triptych...


maquette_1 maquette2

The Triptych

This three-part work is based on the theme of reconciliation, and together, they name their creative artwork:

Kmitkinu Nesnemikasik aqq kaqi tepesk
Trois cultures, une terre, riches d’histoire
Three Cultures, One Land, Rich in History


The decision is made to unveil the sculpture in stages. The Acadian piece is unveiled on July 22nd, 2011, during the Social Evening organized by the Société Promotion Grand-Pré and Les Amis de Grand-Pré. The Planter piece is unveiled on January 15th, 2012, during the Annual Celtic Concert at Grand-Pré National Historic Site, and the First Nation piece unveiling is planned for June 21st, 2012, at the Glooscap Mi'kmaq community near Grand-Pré. The final unveiling of the complete sculpture is planned at the Historic Site on July 1st, 2012, Canada Day.




Unveiling the Acadian Story - July 22nd, 2011



September 27th, 2011 - The Acadian Section is on display during the ICOMOS visit for the UNESCO Nomination project.

dougdevoile sectionplanter

Unveiling the Planter Story  - January 15th, 2012

Still a work in progress...


Doug, Monette and Gerald planning to connect the Mi'kmaq section...


The Mi'kmaq Section mounted on the round platform...

GeraldDougPaperPattern GeraldDougFittin

Work session on the Mi'kmaw section March 12th, 2012


Artist hard at work! (April 2012)


A first glimpse of the Mi'kmaq section...


Unveiling on June 21st, 2012, at Glooscap First Nation Community

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Unveiling of the sculpture Three Cultures, One Land, Rich in History

July 1st, 2012, Canada Day

We should mention that the Three Cultures sculpture project coincided with the Nomination Grand Pré Project to recognize the Landscape of Grand Pré as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That project emphasized the collaboration of the three cultural groups of the Grand Pré area. By a remarkable and completely unexpected coincidence, the Landscape of Grand Pré became a World Heritage Site on Saturday, June 30, 2012, and the first public unveiling of the assembled sculpture was held the following day, on Canada Day, July 1.

The completed sculpture was installed on a pedestal in the main hall at Grand-Pré National Historic Site

where the final public inauguration was held on Canada Day, July 1, 2013, at 2:00 pm.


Mi'kmaw Section


Acadian Section


Planter Section


Feel the heartbeat of Old Acadie - still vibrant and proud!


Proud to be a
Parks Canada Partner

© 2014. Grand-Pré National Historic Site. Société Promotion Grand-Pré