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’kmaw name for the LaHave River, meaning “having long joints or branches.”
Click the "Play" button on the digital player at the top of the page to hear the prounciation of Pijinuiskaq, courtesy of the Mi'kmaw Place Names Digital Map Project. Click here to visit this amazing resource. The grand opening of Pijinuiskaq Park commenced with a Mi’kmaw 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’kmaw name, giving special meaning to the riverside public space at a time of truth and reconciliation.
In 2022, an interpretive panel commissioned by the Town of Bridgewater was installed along King Street overlooking Pijinuiskaq Park. The artwork on the panel was created by Mi'kmaw artist Melissa Labrador, the creator behind Seven Directions Mi'kmaq Art. The panel tells of the story behind the name's selection, its meaning, its pronunciation, and the founding of the park.
The video below features Melissa talking about the creative process and how artistic elements for the panel were chosen. The video also features Mi'kmaq Elder Todd Labrador, who speaks about the cultural importance of Pijinuiskaq and rivers throughout this region, as well as his own personal memories connected to Pijinuiskaq/the LaHave River.
Pijinuiskaq Park on July 1, 2017, during Canada Day on the LaHave celebrations. Photo courtesy Picnic Studios.