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06 July 2020  

Labour Landmarks

Escuminac, 1959

THE FISHERMEN: The impressive 10,000- pound stone monument, known as Les Pêcheurs - The Fishermen, stands at the Escuminac Wharf. The three figures represent a group of fishermen equipped with fishing gear and nets facing the sea which provides their livelihood. The names of the victims and survivors of the Escuminac Disaster are inscribed on a bronze plaque.

The most impressive labour landmark in New Brunswick commemorates the worst work-related disaster ever to occur in the province. This catastrophe, known as the Escuminac Disaster, took place during the night of 19 to 20 June 1959, when 35 fishermen, young boys as well as adults, perished in a violent storm on the coast. Escuminac Wharf, located at the entrance to Miramichi Bay, was at that time the centre of fishing activity for several nearby communities. Artist Claude Roussel and his assistants laboured for six months to create the remarkable piece of art known as Les Pêcheurs - The Fishermen. A modernist in his style, Roussel aimed to produce a monument that would honour the dignity and courage he witnessed in the daily life and work of the fishermen. The imposing monument weighs 10,000 pounds – nearly five tonnes – and stands on the wharf in Escuminac. The monument was unveiled on 19 June 1969 and was declared a Provincial Historic Site by the Government of New Brunswick in 2001. These efforts clearly show how important this kind of commemoration is in the eyes of the working people of the province.