The Guardian newspaper, September 1st, 2007 featured "ROMA at THREE RIVERS ...
the text below is a copy of the article in its entirety ...
Fun feast at Roma at Three Rivers historical site at Brudenell Point to mark the 275th anniversary of this enterprising French entrepreneur's arrival
MARY MACKAY The Guardian
This tongue-twisting 21-letter word is a one-shot way to say "Happy 275th anniversary" to mark the 1732 arrival of French entrepreneur Jean Pierre Roma to what is now Brudenell Point, near Montague.
And there's a Roma-style celebration afoot for Sept. 8 at Roma at Three Rivers, a historic park and interpretive centre established in 2004 to preserve and promote the historical, natural and archeological integrity of this national historic site.
"We're calling it the Roma Feast, and it is in recognition of the fact that Jean Pierre Roma was Prince Edward Island's first entrepreneur. He was into having good times so we're saying it's going to be good food, good times and good cheer at this celebration," says Dale Dewar, president of Three Rivers Roma Inc., a non-profit group that manages the Roma at Three Rivers' site.
Being the enterprising entrepreneur that he was, Roma would be pleased at the collective of period-style structures and extensive system of interpretive trail systems that exist now on the site where he landed 275 years ago.
But when he and his indentured band of 80 settlers sailed their way into Cardigan Bay and made landfall at Brudenell Point in June 1732, there was nothing to write home about.
In an article written by Edgar Dewar, Three Rivers Roma Inc. project manager and one of the original founding board members, he notes that King Louis XV of France had granted Roma and his France-based business partner's exclusive rights to a sizable 220-km by 2.5-km stretch of virgin property in what was then l'Isle St. Jean.
They called it Trois Riviéres.
"It was a huge grant of land but they were really only interested in the part of the land that was close to water," says Hugh MacDonald, Three Rivers Roma board member and one of the original founding board.
Roma and his work crew quickly cleared and leveled approximately 200 acres.
"There were farmers, there were fisher folk, there were carpenters, and there were all sorts of tradesmen (with Roma)," MacDonald says.
"He basically in a very short time cleared this point and he established nine buildings, some of which were quite large."
The aim was that Trois Riviéres would be an international trade centre, trading with Fortress Louisbourg in Nova Scotia, France, the West Indies and Quebec.
"He planted gardens and things like that, enough for them to survive on. He fished enough to send shiploads of fish back to France to make money.
"He did all this with this handful of people that he had. He did a tremendous amount in the time he was here."
Nearly a century later, brothers Hugh and Angus Macdonald arrived on the scene. "They built ships here and operated a store and tavern on the point. "The basement for that store is still there," says MacDonald, who is a descendant of this family. In 1828, Andrew Archibald (A.A.) Macdonald was born at Brudenell Point. He later became a Father of Confederation and a Member of Parliament. It was for this reason and the rich Roma history that the site was designated as a National Historic Site. "It was recognized in 1933, it's one of the first National Historic Sites in Canada," says Joan Perrin, who is working on the upcoming Roma feast. A monument was erected at the point in 1936. After the Macdonalds, a number of people farmed the land. There was also a Scout camp at the point. Work on the historic park and interpretive centre started a little more than seven years ago.
At that time, a meeting drew interested parties together, namely Barney Bree, Dewar and MacDonald, who ended up on a committee that focused on the development of the area and the Roma site.
"From a commercial point of view, we were trying to get something that would be part of an attraction that would help to draw people to this area and that would add to its potential as a visitor destination," MacDonald says.
"From my perspective, the other part of it was that there was this very important piece of Island history that's down here and that's basically untouched."
The committee expanded and the construction process began in early 2004. It opened in September.
Today there are a number of structures, such as a dining hall and a cookhouse that features an outdoor bake oven and professional chef's kitchen that will be culinary central at the upcoming Roma feast.
In addition to a garden that features produce that would have been popular in Roma's day, there are also nine kilometres of nature trails to traverse.
"We're not exactly replicating (Roma's community), it's more recognizing. We built buildings in the style of (Roma's time).
"They're not directly on the historic site because we don't want to cover over the archeology which is there," MacDonald says.
A staff of six or more in the summer months includes summer students who are in full Roma-era regalia to guide visitors through the site and back in time to this entrepreneurial reign.
A final part of the vision is to have an observation tower onsite and proper display and storage space for some of the many artifacts that were excavated from the site from 1968-70, in co-operation with Parks Canada. They are now stored in Ottawa and Halifax.
"It's sort of amazing the quality of the work that we managed to put in place down here and it's all due to the hard work and the co-operation of all kinds of people. . . ," MacDonald says.
"So when we think back on all the days and all the hours (of work), just seeing things come together little by little is very satisfying."
Things were really starting to go well for Roma when war broke out once again between France and Britain.
"At the end of things, a group of privateers from New England. . . came up and torched the place, burned everything down 13 years into the project," MacDonald says.
Roma, his family and a handful of servants watched from the woods as all they'd built was looted and burned to the ground. They then fled to St. Peters and Quebec City.
A Fitting Feast
The Roma Feast is being held as a celebration of the arrival of the Island's first commercial entrepreneur, Jean Pierre Roma, 275 years ago.
It will be held at Three Rivers historical site, Brudenell Point, near Montague, on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 8.
The Roma Feast begins at 6 p.m. with a reception, cash bar and entertainment.
The entertainment then continues as the main meal is served, beginning at 7 p.m.
The costumed performers are led by Acadian fiddler/stepdancer Anastasia DesRoches and Georges Arsenault as Robert Potier Dubuisson (sub-delegate of the intendant on l'Isle St. Jean). They will be joined by Charles Duguay as Jean Pierre Roma.
Others people scheduled to appear are Brent Chaisson, Jock Beck, Christie Beck, Leah Jordan, Emily O'Brien and Tyler Dockendorff.
In addition, two minstrels from Fortress Louisbourg will be joining in the festivities.
The meal of spit-roasted pork, to be served by costumed volunteers, will be overseen by Chef Peter Dewar.
Using vegetables that would have been grown in the 1730s, the menu includes dishes such as maple ginger turnip and butternut squash soup, along with freshly baked soldier's bread.
The Roma Feast is open to members of the general public.
A limited number of tickets are available for purchase at the Garden of the Gulf Museum in Montague (838-2467).
Tickets are $50 each. A tax receipt for $35 will be issued. Period costumes are encouraged, but not essential.
Anyone who would like more information about the feast or the Roma settlement is encouraged to should check out www.romapei.com.
6 p.m - reception
Beer, red and white wine
Beer- steamed mussels
Fresh-baked soldier's bread
7 p.m. - dinner feast
Roasted butternut squash soup with sour cream
Onion and beet salad
Caraway, raisin, blue cheese braised red cabbage
Maple ginger turnip
Barbecued Corn Wheels
Spit roasted pork with apple sauce
Apple fritters with crème custard sauce