Marcel and Jeannita Bernard honoured for their vast contributions to Acadian tourism

ABRAM-VILLAGE – Sept. 28, 2020 – The Evangeline Tourism Association has just honoured two pillars of the Evangeline region, Marcel and Jeannita Bernard of St. Philippe, for their enormous contribution to the community, cultural and tourism development of their region, their county and their province for several decades.

Speaking on behalf of the tourism association and the Acadian and francophone community of PEI at a tourism forum this weekend, Edmond Gallant said the couple is “always 100 per cent committed” to all ot its efforts.

“We are convinced that without their contributions, the Island’s Acadian tourism and cultural scene would be considerably different than the one we know today,” he said. “If we are considering a new 2.0 version of our tourism association, it is undoubtedly because Marcel and Jeannita helped pave the way to bring us to this point in our evolution.”


In his tribute to the couple, Gallant began by listing Jeannita’s accomplishments. He described her as “an angel with a golden voice”. As a singer-songwriter, she has participated in several musical recordings and her Christmas songs from the 1980s are still part of the local holiday music repertoire. She has also composed theme songs, namely for the Acadian Festival and the Arsenault Family Reunion. She has performed across Canada and in France, often promoting Island tourism. In fact, for her musical contributions, she was inducted into the Evangeline Region’s Musical Hall of Fame in 2019.

Jeannita has performed as an actress and musical entertainer in various dinner-theatre shows and has volunteered extensively with the Evangeline Tourism Association and the Acadian Festival. Most recently, she chaired a working committee that prepared a development plan for the North Cape Coastal Tourism Area Partnership.

Several years ago, Jeannita and Marcel set up the Chalets de la Grande basse, which are tourist cottages located near their home. Jeannita is known for her charm and for warmly welcoming visitors, one of the main reasons why some clients returned year after year, said Gallant. The couple recently decided to sell their cottages.


Marcel was a volunteer at the Evangeline Area’s Agricultural Exhibition for many years before joining the board of directors. Over the years, he has held several executive positions, including the presidency, for several terms. He has also served as president of the Prince Edward Island Association of Exhibitions.

He also served for various terms on the board of directors of the former Centre Expo-Festival, now known as the Acadian Musical Village. In fact, Marcel was one of the people who instigated the construction of the original building as well as the major reconstruction project that was undertaken several years ago. He served as president of the centre’s board for several terms. He also became manager of this tourist complex several years ago. He supervised the general operations of the many facets of the site.

Bernard is a long-time member of the Evangeline Tourism Association, serving in various executive positions over the years, including several terms as president.

Jeannita and Marcel, who are parents of four children, have also frequently participated in out-of-province tourism fairs and sales missions to Quebec to promote Island Acadian tourism. They have also worked on the organization and hosting of the Evangeline Country Music Festival, which takes place every fall.

Their involvement in Island life has certainly not been limited to the promotion of Acadian tourism and culture. Marcel was also a farmer and community development officer for the province for many years. Jeannita, a nurse by trade, eventually moved on to advanced administrative positions in the province’s health care system. She also served as the executive director of the Société Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin on an interim basis while the SSTA was without a permanent executive director.

“All of this proves without a doubt that Marcel and Jeannita have always had the development of their community, their culture and the tourism sector at heart. Eternal optimists, they always foresaw the vast potential of their region and always strived to share its beauty.”


Visibly surprised and touched by this tribute, the couple humbly accepted the tribute and gifts.

Jeannita indicated that she and her husband gave back to their community to ensure a better place and a better life for their grandchildren and future generations. Marcel said his intention has always been to work on developing the Acadian tourism product to improve it in order to better promote his culture and heritage.



PHOTO: On behalf of the Evangeline Tourism Association and the Island’s Acadian and francophone community, Edmond Gallant (left) and Lise Morin (right) presented beautiful gifts of appreciation to Jeannita and Marcel Bernard for their vast contributions to the development of Acadian tourism.