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Nova Scotia History

The First Nations called it Mi'kma'ki, the French called it Acadia, the British called it New Scotland. We hope you’ll call it captivating. 

Learn about the lives of Native People before European contact at a heritage museum in Bear River, then travel forward to the Fortress of Louisbourg, the largest historical reconstruction in North America. 

Board the iconic Bluenose II and navigate your way through the age of sail. Once back on shore, walk Pier 21, the harbour warehouse where one million immigrants, refugees and war brides made their own first steps in Canada.

But our history is not just about graceful schooners and welcoming cultures…there have been battles, social upheaval, and an earth-shaking disaster known as the Halifax Explosion

And Nova Scotia was (and perhaps still is) home to more than a few rebels, rogues and rum-runners. There were even ‘legalized pirates’ called privateers who haunted the cold waters of the Atlantic, looking to profit by capturing foreign ships.

Living the past at our museums and historic sites

There are 27 provincial museums that explore the history of Nova Scotia and the many cultures that call it home. One museum pass can open up all these doors into bygone days. 

And the past becomes a full-on sensory experience at any of the 10 living historical sites in Nova Scotia. Cannons blast and blacksmiths forge as interpreters get in character to make history something you can touch – and even taste.  

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History for the world

With 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites—the Acadian homeland of Grand Pré, Old Town of Lunenburg, and Joggins Fossil Cliffs—see how Nova Scotia adds to the richness of world culture.

Historical Escapes