Experience our Acadian History
The spirit of l’Acadie runs deep in Nova Scotia. As one of the province’s founding cultures, there are reminders of the intrepid French settlers who first claimed Nova Scotia as their home in the seventeenth century. Explore Acadian history through historical sites, culture and language, genealogy, music, food, and crafts.
Some of Canada's First Acadian Settlements
On the south shore, the Fort Point Museum in LaHave commemorates the May 8, 1604 arrival of Samuel de Champlain's ship Le Don de Dieu in the New World. Champlain was instrumental in LaHave being chosen by King Louis XIII to be the site of the 'First Capital of New France'. In 1632, Isaac de Razilly, French General and Viceroy, landed at Fort Point on the beautiful LaHave and carried out the command of his king.
At Port-Royal, Acadian history is reconstructed at the French Habitation, providing a glimpse into life as part of the first European settlement in Canada. See Acadian-built dykes as you journey to Grand-Pré National Historic Site, once home to the largest Acadian community on the Bay of Fundy and immortalized in Longfellow’s poem Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie.
Throughout the Yarmouth & Acadian Shore region, you will pass through several French-speaking villages and will marvel at the soaring beauty of Acadian churches, such as Église Sainte-Anne Church at Ste-Anne-du-Ruisseau, the oldest Acadian church on mainland Nova Scotia or Église Sainte-Marie/St Mary’s Church at Church Point, the largest wooden church in North America. For a taste of Acadian music and culture, visit Church Point, an Acadian village dating back to 1761. It hosts the music-filled Festival acadien de Clare each summer. Church Point is also home to the Rendez-vous de la Baie Visitor Centre, which features an interpretive centre celebrating the heritage and culture of the Acadians of Clare/Baie Sainte-Marie.
In the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region, the villages of Pubnico are part of the oldest Acadian settlement in Nova Scotia – founded over 350 years ago. Their proud, vibrant culture is celebrated at the Musée des Acadiens des Pubnicos et Centre de recherche (Acadian Museum and Research Centre), where visitors can explore exhibits, crafts, and a working potager (garden) to discover the surprising ways these early settlers made a life from the land. At Le Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse, visitors can also meet local “residents” (costumed interpreters) who demonstrate the Acadian way of life in the early 1900s.
Cape Breton also has rich Acadian roots. Enjoy Acadian food in a local restaurant, watch demonstrations of traditional rug hooking techniques first-hand at Les Trois Pignons: Museum of the Hooked Rug and Home Life, and marvel at folk art in Chéticamp. Les Trois Pignons cultural and information centre will open the door to this area’s rich Acadian history.
Visit Acadian attractions throughout Nova Scotia
- Acadian Centre Archives at Université Sainte-Anne, where you can research Nova Scotia genealogy.
- A guided walk along Saint Mary’s Bay in Clare, including Le Petit Bois, a five kilometre network of coastal and wooded trails.
- Acadian cuisine from the bakery and restaurants of Louisdale and Isle Madame, along the beautiful Fleur-de-lis Trail, Cape Breton.
- The picturesque Acadian communities of Tor Bay and Larry’s River on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore near the town of Guysborough.
- The Acadian House Museum / L’Acadie de Chezzetcook in the scenic coastal community of West Chezzetcook.
From the brightly painted houses and towering churches of the seaside villages to the quiet beauty of the masterfully created hooked rugs, Acadian culture infuses much of Nova Scotia with its vibrancy, jaunty rhythms and the romance of its history and language. To view locations for Acadian centres across the province, look for the Acadian flag symbol on the Tourism Regions Map.