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Boishébert and Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Sites of Canada, J. Leonard O'Brien Memorial

Introduction and background

Boishébert National Historic Site of Canada and Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Site of Canada, J. Leonard O'Brien Memorial, are situated in the Miramichi River and include two separate geographical entities: Beaubears Island, and Wilsons Point, which lies immediately west of the westernmost tip of the island across a narrow channel. Beaubears Island is set at the confluence of the Northwest and Southwest Miramichi. At its upriver end, the island provides a view of Wilsons Point, the site of the Acadian refuge established by Charles Deschamps de Boishébert in the mid 1750s. Its location made the island particularly suited for development as a shipbuilding site since lumber could easily be brought down from the forests farther up the Miramichi River. As well, the relatively deep water close to shore meant that, once launched, ships could be moored nearby while construction was completed. The island provides striking views downstream along the river towards other areas of Acadian settlement in the mid-18 th century and along the shores where many shipyards flourished in the 19 th century.