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History

Bay du Vin

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By Doug Underhill

Located approximately 20 miles below the former town of Chatham in City of Miramichi is the small, but picturesque community of Bay de Vin.

With some of the deepest water along the Miramichi Bay de Vin was one of the most important early French settlements along the river. Its is suggested that its name comes from a mispronunciation of the French "Baie de Vents" meaning Bay of Winds" rather than the widely supposed "Bay of Wine" in the literal translation.

It is said that the French had established a settlement along the south shore of Miramichi Bay just east of Gardiners Point. One of the first group of people to begin the community was from St Malo, France. They established the first French community in 1642 making it the earliest in Northumberland County. Eventually there were close to fifteen building and a chapel. When they saw the English approaching, they supposedly burnt the community and moved on. The area was then later settled by the Irish and English.

Bay de Vin had the first regional high school with both academic and vocational training in the province. It was established by the Reverend Douglas Smith, but was phased out in 1966 and eventually replaced by Miramichi Rural School.

The area is known to be rich in smelts, oyster beds, salmon and cranberries. It is a very pretty area with the Willistons being one of the more noted family names. A Luther Williston, a well known lumberman, once had a stone colonial hose located there.

Mighty Miramichi
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