Discover the best that Parks Canada has to offer in Nova Scotia with your 2018 Discovery Pass – it’s your pass to connect with nature, history, and with friends and family – and with FREE entry for Youth 17 and under, it’s the perfect time to plan a family road trip and check out all of the great activities and discoveries on offer below. There’s still so much to see and do at a Parks Canada site in Mainland Nova Scotia – and it’s all within easy reach. Relax…you have the whole summer to enjoy! For more trip planning ideas, visit: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/ns
Take the opportunity to visit or camp at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site There are more guided activities available than ever before! Go online or pick up a schedule upon arrival and take advantage of an incredible array of new programs starting July 1st. Some are free and others require sign up and/or fees. Visit or call the Visitor Centre for more details, 902-682-2772, www.parkscanada.gc.ca/keji-activities
One of Kejimkujik’s most popular tours is of the Petroglyphs offered daily for free (sign up required). Follow in the footsteps of history - the ancient stone carvings paint a vivid picture of the Mi’kmaw way of life.
The canoe is another iconic symbol of the Mi’kmaw cultural landscape and also the modern day experience of Kejimkujik. NEW this year, visitors can learn the ancient craft of birch bark canoe building with master Mi’kmaw craftsman, Todd Labrador through drop-in demonstrations and a series of hands-on immersive workshops giving a ‘behind the scenes’ cultural experience on the shores of Kejimkujik Lake. Complimentary drop-in demonstrations run Wednesday’s to Saturday’s at 2pm starting June 30th and the hand’s on workshops are on Sunday’s at 10:30am ($65/person, pre-booking required).
Take a hike, or a paddle – Kejimkujik is blessed with beautiful trails and gentle waterways. Bring your bike, canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP), or rent from Kejimkujik’s on-site outfitters, Whynot Adventure, 902-682-2282, www.whynotadventure.ca If you prefer a guided experience, climb aboard a 10-person Voyageur Canoe for a one hour paddling excursion or join 17 other paddlers and help propel a 38’ Mi’kmaw canoe through the magical waters of Kejimkujik Lake.
Once darkness falls, Kejimkujik’s night sky will dazzle you. Thousands of stars come out to play in Nova Scotia’s only Dark Sky Preserve. Stargazing opportunities are abundant – guided programs run Saturday nights (weather permitting) plus there are night hikes, night bike rides, night paddles and Dark Sky Kits you can rent at the Visitor Centre that you can use anywhere in the park.
Also NEW this year, don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate Kejimkujik Seaside’s 30th Anniversary with an incredible culinary celebration and the launch of the Perfect Picnic! Join us Saturday, July 21st for Savour the Seaside with Kilted Chef, Alain Bossé, and help prepare an authentic Acadian seafood boil starting at 11am or participate in an interactive dining experience on the beach starting at 5:30pm. Complete details including costs available online or at the main Visitor Centre. Tickets are limited - call 902-682-2772 or www.parkscanada.gc.ca/keji-seaside
If a relaxing seaside picnic is more your style, try Parks Canada’s newest Perfect Picnic offer and try our twist on “take-out”. Be dazzled by white sand beaches, turquoise water, the big blue sky and thousands of wildflowers—add yourself and bon appétit! It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!
- Place your order with a select restaurant - Lane’s Privateer Inn and Restaurant (Liverpool), White Point Beach Resort (White Point), Quarterdeck Beachside Villas and Grill (Summerville Centre) and Boxing Rock/Finest Kind Food (Shelburne)
- Pick up your lunch (with an optional souvenir Parks Canada picnic blanket available at Lane’s Privateer Inn and Restaurant)
- Find your perfect picnic place in Kejimkujik Seaside National Park and enjoy!
Looking for an exclusive hand’s-on conservation activity? Sign up for Gone Crabbin’, Kejimkujik Seaside’s ‘behind the scenes’ science adventure and help protect native species from the invasive European Green Crab. Offered July and August, Thursday to Sunday, 10 am-2pm. Pre-booking required, call 902-682-2772, $60.65/person, for up to 6 people.
Come and explore 1869 with a kilted 78th Highlander at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site - where the sounds of a modern, bustling port city are exchanged for the crack of rifle-fire and the skirl of bagpipes. One of Canada’s most visited National Historic Sites, the Halifax Citadel helps bring a piece of Canada’s early history to life. Enjoy the ceremonial changing of the sentry, be witness to the noon gun firing (one of the oldest continuous noon guns in the world), follow the drill and rifle firing demonstrations and tap along to traditional bagpipe tunes.
Explore a brand new exhibit, Shaping the Hill that tells the story of the four Citadels built on Citadel Hill. The British rebuilt or expanded Halifax’s defences four times in response to the outbreak of wars or near-war crises. Time and the climate continue to take their toll on the Citadel’s fabric. Efforts are always ongoing to preserve the fort for future generations including the important work being done this summer. Come and learn why the fourth and present Citadel would be the largest, the most powerful, and the costliest.
First World War Commemorations– A rare opportunity to connect with the past and discover the events that helped shape our nation is offered inside the Halifax Citadel. Not only does 2018 mark the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice, it is also the final year for visitors to take in the 300 ft. full-scale replica of a Western Front Canadian trench in the Citadel’s defensive ditch. Get an appreciation for what life was like during the War and the special stories of survival. This immersive exhibit anchored with the Casualty Clearing Station, Blue Bird Nursing Sisters, uniformed soldiers and Military Ambulance help bring this pivotal piece of history to life.
Bring the whole Family – it’s the perfect destination for kids to have historic fun!
- A Soldier’s Life – Calling all kids (6-12) for this once in a lifetime opportunity to play soldier in a 19th century fort. Enlist, get a uniform and settle into a role-playing adventure (offered twice daily, July 2 to August 31, 1:30pm and 3pm, sign up 30 minutes before, $7.30/person).
- Citadel Adventures comic book fun – kids (6-13) will enjoy becoming a spy with the help of a special comic and spy kit. Find the clues with the help of a special spy kit and help foil the enemy’s plans – you’ll discover some of the darkest corners of the fort in your search.
- Parks Canada XPLORERS – Curious and active children (6-11) will love becoming certified Parks Canada Xplorers. Pick up your free booklet and complete the fun activities to get your collectible souvenir – it’s as simple as that! Available at most Parks Canada sites across the province.
Feel the adrenaline rush as you fire an original Snider-Enfield rifle, just like a 78th Highlander with Ready, Aim, Fire! Take your best shot (offered daily, May to October, between 10am – 3pm, $22/person). And when darkness comes, join a spirited Ghost Tour (July 5-Oct. 27, tickets available on eventbrite.ca) and discover the haunting secrets and fascinating history of the historic British fort by candlelight. www.parkscanada.gc.ca/halifaxcitadel
For a special local culinary offer, catch a ride with Halifax Foodie Adventure and taste your way through Halifax’s historic and hippest neighbourhoods including a behind-the-scenes charcuterie and spirit tasting inside the historic Halifax Citadel. https://www.novascotia.com/packages/experiences/best-of-halifax-foodie-adventure/203635
Once the epicenter of the conflict between Europe’s empire builders, Fort Anne National Historic Site, celebrated its 100th anniversary as Canada’s oldest national historic site in 2017. However, its story reaches back more than 3,000 years, weaving together a tapestry of history that includes the Mi’kmaq, French, Scots, British and Acadians. Over the centuries, it has been a camp site, farmland, seat of government and battlefield, and it remains an outstanding example of a Vauban-style fortification.
Immerse yourself in the stories of struggle and survival in the brand new interactive exhibit inside the Officers’ Quarters Museum and don’t miss the chance to explore with the help of an interactive tablet ($5 rental) or join a guided tour of the Vauban fortifications or the White Glove Tour to peek ‘behind the scenes’.
Fort Anne is the perfect destination to give yourself extra time to play and enjoy some recreation. Borrow a croquet set and try your hand at this gentle sport or bring your kites, its breezy here – and perfect for letting your kite soar high. Afterwards take a roll down the hill – the fort is a natural playground.
Lastly, enhance your visit with an extra special experience and join the Candlelight Graveyard Tour offered rain or shine starting in June to October. Grab a lantern and follow your guide through one of the oldest English graveyards in Canada. The names etched in stone reveal fascinating stories about the area and its inhabitants. Presented by The Historical Association of Annapolis Royal. Meet at Fort Anne parking lot, no reservations required. www.tourannapolisroyal.com/graveyard.html for fees and schedule. www.parkscanada.gc.ca/fortanne
As you sit at the edge of Port-Royal National Historic Site overlooking the harbour of the Annapolis River-Basin, it’s easy to imagine why French explorers chose this location for settlement. One of the earliest French settlements in North America, Port-Royal proudly lives on today as Canada’s first major historical construction – a milestone representing the coming together of a community to recreate history for decades to come. Enter the forge, sit down at the ‘Good Cheer’ Banquet table, check out the sleeping quarters, smell the herbs in the apothecary or visit the fur room – there’s no better way to personally experience how the French colonists lived here.
This year Port-Royal is undergoing some restoration work to the Habitation’s aging wooden roof, palisade and gun platform. Visitors have the rare opportunity to view the workers as they use modern and historical tools and techniques to restore the small French compound for generations to come.
Just outside, step into a wigwam and learn more about the Mi’kmaw and celebrate our shared history and culture. Visit Saturday to Wednesday, 2pm-4:30pm and immerse yourself in the songs and legends, try your hand at some traditional games and learn more about the crucial relationships forged with the French.
If you’re in the area on a Thursday afternoon, join in the special music series offered on four special Thursday afternoon’s featuring talented local entertainers - July 12 & 26 and August 9 & 23, from 1-3pm. www.parkscanada.gc.ca/portroyal
If you’re looking for an exclusive culinary evening, join the Good Cheer Lobster Feast and be taken back in time with Champlain to dine like its 1606. Savour Nova Scotia lobster, Digby scallops, local beverages and an exclusive after-hours tour of Port Royal. https://www.novascotia.com/packages/experiences/good-cheer-lobster-feast/204256
Located in the heart of a UNESCO Wold Heritage Site, discover powerful Acadian stories within a picturesque landscape at Grand-Pré National Historic Site. Successes and struggles are told through a multimedia presentation and engaging displays, interactive activities, a splendid
Victorian garden and a Memorial Church. Stroll through the magnificently kept Victorian gardens where the Statue of Evangeline and other monuments and sculptures can be found amongst flower gardens, a kitchen garden and an orchard — the absolute perfect spot for a picnic, to fly a kite or to take a bike ride on the picturesque Harvest Moon Trailway. www.parkscanada.gc.ca/grandpre
Featured Special Events:
July 21 – Savour the Seaside at Kejimkujik Seaside
July 28 – Presentation of Colours Ceremony at the Halifax Citadel - FREE Entry!
July 29 – Construction Traditions at Port-Royal
August 6 – Community Day at Fort Anne & Port-Royal – FREE Entry!
August 17-18 – Grand-Pré Landscape of Cultures Festival – FREE Entry (Aug 18 only)
September 15 – Best of Summer at Kejimkujik – FREE Entry!