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Records Reconstructing the History of our Communities

The East Coast Trail is a 400-kilometre long coastal hiking trail that passes through 22 active historic fishing communities and an equal number of settlements that no longer exist. For roughly two centuries the church has played a central role in the daily life of these communities. Often the priest or minister was the only person keeping a record of the day-to-day life of the community (births, marriages, deaths, celebrations).

One of the central mandates of the East Coast Trail Association is to reconstruct the history of the communities the trail passes through. It is my experience that each community has a unique character, shaped by its own, unique history, and that the better and richer the surviving records, the more likely it is that this character can be captured in an engaging narrative.

In truth, I wish I could have found out more, but at least the archival records that have survived allowed me to describe "the tip of the iceberg." This is often enough to give readers a sense of what has been lost to history.

Peter Gard
Series Editor East Coast Trail Guidebook Project
September 15, 2004


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