Locations of the lazarettos of Sheldrake Island and Tracadie.
4 March 2003
Tracadie and Sheldrake Island


Tracadie, New Brunswick , Canada is located in the North Eastern part of the province, in the county of Gloucester.


The city of Tracadie-Sheila
10 March 2003
Tracadie-Sheila, New Brunswick, Canada


Origin of the word Tracadie

The name Tracadie, which is of MicMac origin, means "ideal camping location". Tracadie is situated along the coast of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in the North Eastern part of Gloucester county. It lies between the mouths of two rivers: Grand Tracadie and Petit Tracadie.
According to oral tradition, the first acadian inhabitants settled there in 1785 and were followed by the English a year later.

Incorporation of Tracadie

Tracadie was incorporated as a city in 1966. The villages of Tracadie and Sheila were amalgamated to become a new municipality in 1992. The city of Tracadie-Sheila is today considered as the centre for services in the Acadian Peninsula serving a population of close to 30,000 people.

The parish's beginnings

The first registered acts in the Parish of Tracadie were the baptism of Thomas Ferguson and the marriage of Pierre Gautreau and Blanche Marguerite Bastarache in 1798. The first chapel and cemetery date back to approximately 1800; however, Tracadie's first pastor was only named in 1842. He was named François-Xavier S. Lafrance. He was the same priest that founded the "Collège St Joseph" in Memramcook which would become the Université de Moncton. The first school opened in 1843 and was yet again the work of Father Lafrance. He called upon his brother, Charles, to come teach at this school.


The current church
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


The current church

The construction of the 3rd stone church with two steeples began in May 1926 when father J. M. Lavasseur was the parish pastor. Its plans were drawn by architect René A. Rochet of Montreal.

Christmas mass was celebrated in the new church, still in construction, as early as December, 1927. Still under the patronage of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Joseph, the church was consecrated in autumn of 1949 when father Joseph A. Trudel was pastor.


Memorial erected in remembrance of father F. X. Lafrance, first pastor of Tracadie
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Acknowledgement of the disease by the Province of New Brunswick

Father Lafrance arrived in Tracadie in early 1842. He immediately noticed that a large number of people suffered from a strange sickness that they called "la maladie"; "the sickness". He had himself studied medicine before joining the priesthood. He decided to inform the provincial government about the dangerous state of the disease that was taking hold of his parish. At the request of the government, he wrote a report to the province's Lieutenant-Governor in which he stated that this disease was similar to leprosy tuberculosis which had spread rampantly through Europe in the 18th century. Lazarettos had been constructed to stop the disease; hence, he suggested that a lazaretto be built in Tracadie and that an annual subsidy be granted for its upkeep.
He also asked that a committee be named with the authority to quarantine the sick suffering from leprosy. He obtained that which he seeked in the creation of a "Bureau of Health" which was the first of its kind in the province and in Lower Canada. Its members, Joseph Cunard, president, François-Xavier-S. Lafrance, chaplain and Charles J. Peters, received the authority to find a site that could welcome the sick of the region.