The Town of Bridgewater officially opened Pijinuiskaq Park, located centrally on King Street in Downtown Bridgewater, on on June 30, 2017.
The opening of Pijinuiskaq Park marked the conclusion of Take Back The Riverbank, a year-long, $5 million infrastructure project in the heart of the community.
Pijinuiskaq (pronounced BE-JN-OO-IS-GAH) is the traditional Mi’kmaq name for the LaHave River, meaning “river of long joints/river branches.” (Source: Pjila’si Mi’kma’ki: Mi’kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas.) The grand opening of Pijinuiskaq Park commenced with a Mi’kmaq Smudging Ceremony, a tradtional Fancy Shawl Dance performed by Myranda Roy, and included speeches by dignitaries, among them Acadian First Nation Chief Deborah Robinson.
The name Pijinuiskaq was one of more than 50 submitted for consideration during a public naming competition in 2016. Pijinuiskaq Park is believed to be the first street, facility or public space in Bridgewater to bear a Mi’kmaq name, giving special meaning to the riverside public space at a time of truth and reconciliation.
“The Town envisions this park as a place where everyone is welcome,” explained Bridgewater’s Mayor David Mitchell. “All cultures, all people."
Pijinuiskaq Park on July 1, 2017, during Canada Day on the LaHave celebrations. Photo courtesy Picnic Studios.