Pubnico – past and present
In 1653, Charles de La Tour gave to Philippe Mius d'Entremont the choice to settle wherever he wished. He chose what was then known to the Mi’kmaq as “Pogomkook.”
Charles de La Tour bestowed the title of Baron upon Philippe Mius d'Entremont and created the first constituted barony in Acadia and the second in all of Canada. The center of the barony was located on the east side of the harbour, not far from its head. It was in this same year, 1653 that Philippe Mius d'Entremont came to live here, with his wife, Madeleine Hélie, and their daughter, Marguerite, who was born in France and was to become the wife of Pierre Melanson, the founder of Grand-Pré. It is here that were born his four other children, Jacques, Abraham, Philippe and Madeleine, the youngest of the family.
As for the name “Pubnico,” historians tell us that it comes from the Mi’kmaq word “Pogomkook,” meaning "a place where in winter one can go and fish eels in the harbour by cutting holes in the ice.” (This is one interpretation). When the French arrived, they changed the name to "Pobombcoup", which in turn was shortened to "Pombcoup", and again to "Pubnico" with the arrival of the English.
From this view area, you are looking north towards the head of the harbour. The water there is shallow and freezes over in winter, so it makes sense that the Mi’kmaq would have fished for eels through holes in the ice. Looking towards the east, on the opposite side of the harbour is where the centre of the barony was located.
This seaside setting is more than beautiful; it’s a watery highway from which this community has long derived much of its livelihood. Exploring, fishing, settling, shipbuilding, trading – the coast and its offshore resources led our ancestors to put down roots in this area. Much the same relationship keeps us here today. For despite all the changes across four centuries, the ocean and the inter-tidal zone remain at the economic heart of the Pubnico community. Nature provides the bounty we harvest and safeguard.