Take a break from the everyday and visit a Parks Canada site in Mainland Nova Scotia this summer – entry is free in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. Now’s the time to start planning your family adventure. Check out all of the great activities and discoveries on offer below – there’s something for everyone!
Once the epicenter of the conflict between Europe’s empire builders, Fort Anne National Historic Site, celebrates its 100th anniversary as Canada’s oldest national historic site in 2017. 100 years ago, the proud citizens of Annapolis Royal successfully petitioned the government to preserve the fort as a national historic site, the first of its kind in all of Canada. Now the cornerstone of one of Canada’s prettiest towns, over 3,000 years of history is awaiting discovery in the new interactive exhibit specially designed in honour of the 100th anniversary and Canada’s 150th! www.parkscanada.gc.ca/fortanne.
Fort Anne is the perfect destination to give yourself extra time to play – take in a tour or try out a new activity.
Tapestry tour – let us guide you through 400 years of history as portrayed on a unique canvas – a 5.5m x 8.5m heritage tapestry that took 100 volunteers some 3 million stitches to craft.
Enjoy some recreation – Borrow a croquet set and try your hand at this gentle sport or bring your kites, it’s breezy here – and perfect for letting your kite soar high. Afterwards take a roll down the hill – the fort is a natural playground.
NEW for 2017 – two brand new guided tours will enrich your experience at Fort Anne! Join a one hour guided tour of the fortification from the ramparts and learn why Fort Anne is a classic example of a Vauban Fort (offered in English and French, $4.90/person). If you want to go behind the scenes, join a ‘White Glove’ tour of Fort Anne’s archive, library and artefacts in storage (offered as a bilingual tour, $9.80/person, max 10 participants).
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.
Welcome to the Confederation era! Come explore the year 1869 and celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary 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.
Feel the adrenaline rush as you fire an original Snider-Enfield rifle, just like a 78th Highlander with the Ready, Aim, Fire experience! Step back in time and take your best shot (offered daily, May to October, between 10am – 3pm, $22/person)
Bring the whole Family to the Halifax Citadel – there’s never been a better time to be a kid!
- 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 daily, July & August, 2pm-3:30pm-sign up before 1:30pm, $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 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.
- Road to 2017 Hometown Heroes - this is your opportunity to connect with the past and discover the events that helped shape our nation. Special events commemorating key anniversaries help tell the stories of our hometown heroes - those that went off to war and those that kept the home front safe. Visit the 300 ft. full scale replica of a Western Front Canadian trench in the Citadel’s defensive ditch and get a sense of what life was like during the First World War. This special immersive exhibit will bring this pivotal piece of history to life. Watch for exciting special events including the RCMP Musical Ride and Rendez-vous Tall Ships Regatta in July - www.parkscanada.gc.ca/halifaxcitadel
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. 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, 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!
The habitation is yours to discover - 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.
Just outside the habitation, step into a wigwam and learn more about the Mi’kmaw and celebrate our shared history and culture. Immerse yourself in the tales, songs and legends, try your hand at some traditional games, and learn more about the crucial relationships forged with the French. www.parkscanada.gc.ca/portroyal
There’s never been a better time to visit Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site - come for a paddle, stay for the stars! Kejimkujik is the only national park to also be designated a national historic site. Listen to the tale of the Mi’kmaq, shared through stories and legends and carved in stone or petroglyphs.
Keji’s night sky will dazzle you once darkness falls. Thousands of stars come out to play in Nova Scotia’s only Dark Sky Preserve. Stargazing opportunities are everywhere – guided programs every Saturday night (weather permitting) plus night hikes, night paddles and Dark Sky Kits you can rent at Visitor Centre. Kits are just $5 and include binoculars, a star finder, a red light and the monthly observations for the night sky – everything you need and each month brings something new to discover!
There are more guided activities this year than ever before and everyone is invited! Starting July 1st, pick up your schedule upon arrival and take advantage of the incredible offerings! One of Keji`s most popular tours is of the Petroglyph tour 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.
Take a hike (or a paddle) - Keji has some of the best trails and most gentle waterways. Bring your bike, canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP), or rent from Keji’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 Keji Lake. So much to see and do – relax….you have the whole summer to enjoy! www.parkscanada.gc.ca/keji
You can also have a Keji experience along the South Shore at Kejimkujik Seaside…it`s a little piece of heaven with sun kissed sand and turquoise waters waiting to be explored. Looking for a more active adventure? Sign up for Gone Crabbin’, the ‘behind the scene’ science adventure. Take part in this exclusive coastal experience and help protect native species from the invasive European Green Crab. Be prepared to get your hands wet and have fun as you weave your rowboat between the stunning granite islands pulling traps from the water. Offered Friday to Saturday, 10 am-2pm, during July and August. Pre-booking required, call 902-682-2772, $29.30/person, for up to 6 people.
It`s time to hit the road and discover the best that Parks Canada has to offer in Nova Scotia with your Free Discovery Pass. It`s Time to Connect…with nature, with history, and with friends and family. Make 2017 a year to remember! For more trip planning ideas, visit: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/ns