SI2023 – A-8 – Mapping Sable Island – Jill Martin

Author and Friends of Sable Island board member since 2014, Jill Martin-Bouteillier brings a wealth of
historical knowledge about Sable Island. She is drawn to maps from which she creates a timeline of
human interaction with the iconic sandbar off the coast of Nova Scotia. She has given presentations to
audiences ranging from historical societies, non-profits, writing festivals, museums, and the Canadian
Navy and subsequently published in Argonauta. Her books illuminate both the challenges and the
wonderment of life on Sable Island. As part of the research for this presentation, she consulted logbooks
kept by superintendents since the beginning of the Humane establishment in 1801, National Archives in
Ottawa, Nova Scotia provincial archives, the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, five centuries of maps
created by cartographers from England, Spain, Portugal and Nova Scotia as well as personal letters and
artefacts in her possession. Her work sheds light on Sable Island’s history of which few people have any

Jill Martin has strong roots to Sable Island. When my great aunt, Trixie Bouteillier died in 1979 at the age of 99, I became the curator of her history, of her time on Sable from 1884-1910. I’ve written two books about my family’s life on the legendary island and through Trixie’s story, shared the history and lore of Sable Island: Return to Sable (2015) and Sable Island in Black and White (2016). All my life, Bouteillier has rolled off my tongue. A coffee break was always a Mug Up. And sure, we had ice cream with our blueberries.