The spirit of l’Acadie echoes deep throughout Nova Scotia’s heritage, a legacy of the intrepid French settlers who arrived on our shores in the 17th century. Acadian culture is still rich and vibrant in Nova Scotia today. It has been built through the years and influenced by a number of events, most notably the Deportation of the Acadians (1755-1762). Today’s thriving Acadian culture reflects this strong and resilient culture. Parks Canada is honoured to preserve, and share this rich history at national historic sites throughout Nova Scotia. These special places share the Acadian story.
Discover the joie de vivre of the Acadian culture as you travel through this fascinating chapter of Canadian history with Parks Canada. Find a link to each site on the following page: parkscanada.gc.ca/NS
Port-Royal National Historic Site
As you sit at the edge of Port Royal at the mouth of the Annapolis River, it’s easy to imagine why French explorers chose this location for settlement. Samuel de Champlain once called this place ‘’the most suitable and pleasant for a settlement that we had seen’’. One of the earliest French settlements in North America, christened Port-Royal, it became the first European settlement north of Florida. While only in existence a few years, the settlement, and what it accomplished, proved to be a model for future exploration of the continent. Port Royal National Historic Site and the Habitation live on today as Canada’s first major historical construction proudly celebrating 75 years since its official opening in 1941 – a Milestone anniversary representing the coming together of a community to recreate history for Future generations.
The Habitation is yours to discover - enter the forge, sit down at the kitchen table, check out the sleeping quarters, smell the herbs in the apothecary or visit the storeroom – there’s no better way to personally experience how the French lived here.
Visitors are invited to join in the 75th anniversary celebration on Sunday, July 3rd. Don’t miss the chance to officially be inducted into the Order of Good Cheer! There’ll be fun activities, special guests, presentations, music and more – stay tuned for the details, parkscanada.gc.ca/portroyal
Fort-Anne National Historic Site
Once the epicenter of the conflict between Europe’s empire builders, Britain and France, during the 1600s and 1700s, Fort Anne remains a present day reminder of this struggle and is now the cornerstone of one of Canada’s prettiest towns. The Fort’s impressive heritage tapestry in the Officers’ Quarters is a visual reminder of this area’s historic milestones, each stitch a connection to a storied past filled with 400 years of intrigue and drama. The stories of struggle and survival still echo through the artifacts and exhibits.
Visitors can enhance their visit with a unique experience by joining the Candlelight Graveyard Tour. Grab a lantern and follow your guide through one of the oldest English graveyards in Canada. The names etched in stone reveal a fascinating story about the area and its inhabitants. Presented by the Historical Association of Annapolis Royal June to October at 9:30 p.m. No Reservations required, rain or shine, meet at the Fort Anne parking lot. Visit Tourannapolisroyal.com/graveyard.html for fees.
In 1917, Fort Anne became Canada’s first National Historic Site – and will celebrate its centennial in 2017. Make plans to join us– we have a lot to celebrate! – More details to follow at parkscanada.gc.ca/fortanne.
Grand Pré National Historic Site
Grand-Pré is a powerful monument that unites the Acadian people. Visitors to the site will uncover the tale of Le Grand Dérangement: a tragic event in Acadian history that has shaped the vibrant culture of modern day Acadians across the globe through its quiet but powerful renaissance. The site commemorates the Grand Pré area as a centre of Acadian settlement from 1682 to 1755 and the Deportation of the Acadians, which began in 1755 and continued until 1762. For many Acadians throughout the world, the site remains the heart of their ancestral homeland and the symbol of the ties that unite them to this day.
Embark on a fascinating journey with a guided tour! Your exploration begins in the hull of a Deportation Ship, for a state-of-the-art cinematic introduction. In July and August (twice daily), interpreters will guide you through the history and significance of this national historic site. You’ll explore serene duck ponds bordered by majestic weeping willows, the legendary Statue of Evangeline – (heroine of the Longfellow poem) – and the Memorial church.
End the day by taking the path up the hill to the Landscape of Grand Pré view park. You’ll understand how this area got its name, Grand Pré, meaning great meadow, and why it became Canada’s 16th World Heritage Site inscribed by UNESCO in 2012.
Don’t miss the Acadian Days held on July 16-17! For two days, Grand Pré is vibrant with a celebration of Acadian culture, through art, food, music and various activities.
Fort Edward National Historic Site
Discover a key chapter of Canada’s colonial history on a lonely hilltop high above Nova Scotia’s historic Minas Basin. Built in 1750, Fort Edward provided an important British stronghold during decades of discord with Acadian settlers and the Mi’kmaq people. Experience the powerful story of the 1,000 Acadians who were removed from Fort Edward during the deportation. Today, visitors can explore the inside of North America’s oldest existing military blockhouse and walk historic grounds with sweeping river views. Walk the perimeter trail and you’ll appreciate how this quiet, subdued site comes alive with imagination offering a perfect spot to picnic with spectacular views of the Annapolis Valley.