Bringing the Past to the Present

A Celebration of the Txalupa Project

Cape Breton University’s Louisbourg Institute, Parks Canada, and Membertou are pleased to present Robert Grenier, a world-leader in archaeology and underwater conservation. Grenier, who is Chief of the Underwater Archaeology Service for Parks Canada, will be at the Muin Room, Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, on Thursday, June 9 at 12 noon, to present the Txalupa Project. The event is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.

The event is a celebration of the cooperative work between Parks Canada, First Nations, and the Basques to reconstruct a Txalupa, a small, open fishing vessel that first brought Europeans to the Americas, beginning in the 16th century.  During the presentation Grenier will highlight how Basque artisans created a replica of a 1565 Txalupa based on a wreck that his archaeological team discovered in Red Bay, Labrador.

“Robert Grenier’s work reminds us of the importance of our underwater heritage, and it inspires us with the possibilities created by celebrating and communicating our shared history,” says Anne-Marie Lane-Jonah, a historian with Parks Canada and member of the Louisbourg Institute.  

In 2006, six Basques and a Mi’kmaw sailed the reconstructed vessel over 2000 kilometers, from Quebec City to Red Bay, following a route that was frequented by Basques long before the time of Champlain. This collaborative project was celebrated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as exemplary of the best international practices of valuing and celebrating our shared underwater heritage.

“Given the importance of the vessel to First Nations history, and the critical role of the Mi’kmaw in its reconstruction, it is especially appropriate that the event be held at Membertou,” added Dr. Andrew Parnaby, also a Louisbourg Institute member.

In 1963, Grenier began his career at the Fortress of Louisbourg, and has since become a highly sought after expert in his field. Throughout his career Grenier has been recognized for his many accomplishments including being a recipient of the prestigious Prix Grands diplômés de l'Université Lavalin 2011.

Grenier is the past President of the International Scientific Committee on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, UNESCO/ICOMOS. He has conducted searches for shipwrecks in North American waters for over 45 years, and is currently Project Leader for Parks Canada’s Arctic Survey in the North-West Passage, an extensive search for the Franklin Expedition ships H.M.S. Erebus and Terror.