The Black Loyalist Heritage Site, located in Birchtown on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, shares the story of the Black Loyalists – some of the earliest Black settlers in Nova Scotia.
In the late 18th century, Birchtown was the largest free Black community in British North America. It was the centre of the Black Loyalist experience and its founding represented a turning point in the history of persons of African descent in Canada.
In May 2015, the new Black Loyalist Heritage Centre opens, and will take visitors on the journey of these earliest Black settlers from places like America and Jamaica to Nova Scotia – and for some, back to Africa. Visitors can also trace their heritage through the names in the Book of Negroes, a document containing the names of all Black Loyalists who escaped to Canada after the American War of Independence.
The original heritage site includes the National Historic Monument of Canada honouring the landing of the Black Loyalists in Canada; St. Paul’s Church (circa 1888); and the Old School House Museum, a one-room school house built in the 1830s and home to artifacts from archaeological digs and items donated and loaned to the museum. You can also stroll along the Black Loyalist Heritage Trail, a 1.5 km trail with interpretive panels, which takes you around the Black Burial Ground.
Site amenities include a gift shop, public washrooms, parking and picnic area. Bus tours are welcome.
The Black Loyalist Heritage Site is also located less than 10 kilometres away from Shelburne, where parts of the BET and CBC-produced Book of Negroes miniseries was filmed.
Facilities / Services
Admission: Admission $3 (museum).