While we say that Nova Scotia is ‘Shaped by the Sea’, it has also been shaped by a rich history. The province’s 26 Canadian National Historic Sites, tell the story of centuries of adventure, of cultural diversity, conquest, discovery and scenic beauty. The Story of over one million immigrants, troops, war brides and their children who entered through Halifax to begin their new lives in Canada is told at Pier 21, Canada's Immigration Museum.
Step back into the 18th century to discover how English and French troops struggled for control over North America and learn how a famous inventor and his associates changed the way that people would communicate forever through the invention of the telephone. Nova Scotia is home to 26 National Historic Sites where you can explore the rich history and heritage and the people who have worked and fought to make Nova Scotia what is it today.
Some of Nova Scotia’s National Historic Sites feature live period story-telling with actors in full costume living out their parts. Visit Port-Royal, one of the first settlements in North America, and step back in time to the world of Samuel de Champlain and the Order of Good Cheer. Embrace the spirit of the Mi’kmaq as you marvel at the ancient petroglyphs in Kejimkujk National Park. Guided tours are provided at many of Nova Scotia’s historic sites.
Visit the Majestic French and British Fortresses
The Fortress of Louisbourg in Cape Breton is an example of Nova Scotia’s ‘living history’. Once you step through the gates you are instantly transported back to life in Colonial France in 1744. Inside the fortress you can speak with the “residents” representing all walks of life, and delight in their stories of a bygone era. Don’t be shy, they’re friendly and knowledgeable, and happy to tell you about their lives, work, worries, and hopes! Don’t forget to take a break and have lunch or dinner in a restaurant serving the authentic food of the day.
At Grande Pre in the Annapolis Valley you can get to know the Acadians, who settled along the shores of the Bay of Fundy and Minas Basin. They were hardy pioneers, who experienced hardship and tragedy, yet survived in the face of extraordinary challenges. Discover the story of the Deportation of 1755, as told through Longfellow’s narrative poem “Evangeline”. The Historical Association of Annapolis Royal offers award winning tours of a traditional “living history” in Nova Scotia’s Acadian heartland. Think you might have Acadian roots? In the church you can look through some of the over 300 Acadian names to see if yours is there!
In Halifax you can be transported from a modern city to a 19th century fortress in an instant. The Halifax Citadel is one of Canada’s most visited National Historic Sites. Walk the ramparts and corridors of this magnificent fortress overlooking Halifax Harbour as you listen to the skirl of bagpipes. Talk to members of the 78th Highland regiment, watch them drill on the parade square and firing their muskets. If you’re here at noon, don’t jump when the noon gun is fired!
Nova Scotia embraces its rich, long history. We know you will too!