RUSTICO, PEI – Aug. 10, 2012 – Thanks to the help of local co-operative organizations, the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico Museum is adding some important artefacts to its collection: two original bank notes that were used during the time of the bank’s operation in the late 1800s. These were accepted by the Island government as legal tender and recognized by banks throughout the Maritimes.
This is a very significant occasion as it marks the first original bank notes ever to be added to the bank’s collection of artefacts.
The currency pieces are being acquired by the Friends of the Farmers’ Bank from owners Morgan and Susan Fisher and Laurel Fisher Lutz – the family recently found the bank notes in their late uncle’s army kit, which was used in the first world war. A number of partners, including the PEI Co-operative Council, le Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î.-P.-É. and the PEI Credit Unions, have provided the funds to purchase these pieces.
“As we celebrate 2012 as the International Year of the Co-operatives, it is only fitting that our organization contributes to this legacy project here at the Farmers’ Bank.” said Maureen Gallant, President of the PEI Co-operative Council. “It is under the same business model of social and economic growth that we operate from today. From Tignish to Souris and almost every community in between, co-operatives have made a difference and continue to play an important role in the ongoing development in almost every facet of everyday life on the Island. I know my counterparts at le Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î.-P.-É. and the Credit Unions of Prince Edward Island will agree.”
The acquisition is also supported by the Province’s Community Cultural Partnership Program. “The Farmers’ Bank Museum provides Islanders with an important insight into the cultural and economic development of Prince Edward Island,” said Robert Henderson, Minister of Tourism and Culture. “It also provides an excellent example of how a community can come together to achieve a common goal. The province is proud to have been able to support the Museum in its acquisition of the rare bank notes and we look forward to the Farmers’ Bank’s 150th anniversary in 2014.”
“The Friends of the Farmers’ Bank have established a goal of raising $50,000 in the coming months, which will be put towards making significant improvements to accessibility, technological enhancements and acquisition and protection of artefacts, such as the bank notes.” said Judy MacDonald, president of the Friends of the Farmers’ Bank. “Acquiring these bank notes today marks a significant first step toward achieving our end goal and could not be done without the support of our wonderful community partners. We are extremely excited that all of these efforts will be fully unveiled in 2014 with a dynamic new permanent exhibition in honour of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Farmers’ Bank.”
A provincially and nationally designated heritage place, the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico is important monument of PEI architecture as well as a symbol of Acadian survival. The Bank operated from 1864 to 1894 and provided farmers with loans at reasonable rates of interest. As 2012 is celebrated as the International Year of the Cooperatives, it is important to note that the Farmers’ Bank was an important link in the establishment of “caisses populaires” in Quebec and a precursor to the credit union movement in the rest of Canada.
In 2011 the Bank had over 5,000 visitors enjoy activities at the heritage site. The Bank is open to the public and hosts cultural and community lectures, exhibitions, and events. It also houses an extensive collection of historical artefacts relating to Acadian culture, the community of Rustico and information about its role in Canada’s economic development.
To learn more about the significance of the bank notes, or to support the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico, the public can contact the Bank at: (902) 963-3168, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.farmersbank.ca. The Farmers’ Bank of Rustico and Doucet House are located on the Church Road, Route 243 North, adjacent to St. Augustine’s Church in Rustico, PEI.
CUTLINE 1: During the recent unveiling ceremonies at the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico are, from left, Louis Shea, representing PEI Credit Unions; Edgar Arsenault from le Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î.-P.-É.; Maureen Gallant, president of the PEI Co-operative Council; Judy MacDonald, president of the Friends of the Farmers’ Bank; and Robert Henderson, Minister of Tourism and Culture.
CUTLINE 2: At the presentation of the bills to the Farmers Bank are, from left, are Laurel Fisher Lutz and her brother Morgan Fisher, who found the bills; Judy MacDonald, president of the Friends of the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico; Tourism and Culture Minister Robert Henderson; Velma Robichaud from the Conseil de développement coopératif; and Dave Whiting from the PEI Co-operative Council.
CUTLINE 3: The five dollar note and the one dollar note.