Farmers Bank of Rustico

One of three organizations to receive John Bragg Award

Canada’s History Society recently announced the Farmers Bank of Rustico as one of three organizations to receive the John Bragg Award for Atlantic Canada. 

The new granting program, made possible by the River Philip Foundation, promotes and preserves the histories of community leaders in the region. Each of the recipient’s projects aims to expand knowledge and increase public awareness of key leaders in their communities.

The Farmers Bank of Rustico will receive a $50,000 contribution to carry out their initiative—Father Belcourt: missionary, educator, visionary, fighter for human rights, helping people to help themselves. In addition, the Farmers Bank of Rustico will be featured in a content piece developed by Canada’s History to help further share these stories with a national audience.

Father Georges-Antoine Belcourt (1803–1874) was born in Baie-du-Febvre, Quebec and ordained to the priesthood in 1827. He served as a priest mainly in Manitoba, North Dakota, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. Among the first missionaries to the Red River, Belcourt sympathized with the Métis and supported them in their grievances against the Hudson’s Bay Company. He relocated to Rustico, PEI in 1859, where he set out to help the Acadians, mainly poor French-speaking farmers and fishermen. There, he founded the Farmers Bank of Rustico, the precursor to the credit union movement in North America.

This project will create a bilingual museum and education program and lecture series to investigate and share Belcourt’s complex life and legacy.