Enjoy the epic beauty of the East Coast
By Tania Moffat
No matter what you call it — Mi’kma’ki (First Nations), Acadia (French), or New Scotland (British) — you are destined to love Nova Scotia. From its deep historical roots, its 27provincial museums and 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites to its rugged seaside beauty and picturesque fishing villages filled with welcoming people, this is a province that everyone should explore at least once in their lifetime.
Home to the highest tides in the world
The Bay of Fundy has been sculpted overtime by the powerful tides that pummel 60billion tonnes of seawater (enough water to fill the entire Grand Canyon) in and out of it on a daily basis. The bay stretches between the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Nature has created a dramatic landscape with jagged cliffs, unusual rock formations and numerous world-renowned fossil discoveries and dinosaur discoveries near Parrsboro and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Joggins Fossil Cliffs.
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of North America, the Bay of Fundy, can be explored via its surrounding UNESCO sites, national and provincial parks, museums and historical sites. Hiking trails deliver breathtaking views of the bay from above or experience captivating views from the ocean floor at low tide. Sea kayaking tours provide a unique view of the sculpted coastline, cliff sand islands. Adventurous visitors looking fora thrill should look into rafting the Tidal Bore.
This rare phenomenon is created when competing currents collide. Tidal waters rush into the rivers providing a natural roller coaster on surges of water that can rise up to eight feet high. Whale watching tours offer a calmer experience for those wanting to explore the mouth of the bay. These waters are a playground for whales. Eight different species congregate here, including the rare North Atlantic right whale, humpback, finback and Minke whales.
Highly spirited history
The Fortress of Louis bourg is the largest reconstruction project in North America. Founded in 1713, the original settlement was built by the French and developed into a thriving centre for trade and fishing. The massive stone walls of the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site have seen their share of battles and marauding over the years.The Fortress was besieged twice and destroyed in the1760s, but today tourists can stroll down its dirt streets with French soldiers as cannon blasts shake the ground and harpsichord notes escape from nearby dancing parlours
Once the home of rum-runners, rebels and privateers, this was one of North America’s busiest seaports and France’s centre of military strength. The Fortress was also the site of New France’s historic rum trade in the 18th century. It has been almost 300 years since rum has been held at the fortress, but it has returned. Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company Ltd., Parks Canada and Fortress Louisbourg Association have unveiled the new brand — Fortress Rum —which has matured on site. Sold in traditional bottles and sealed in wax, it is available at the Fortress’ period restaurants and through the province at select Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation stores and spirit retailers.
This summer visitors can explore the drink that sugar made on the “Louisbourg Rum Experience — Worth Protecting! ”The program, offered daily from July 1 to Sept. 7, allows you to take part in a historic rum tasting and savour an 18th century rum punch.
But rum is not the only spirit found in Nova Scotia. Samuelde Champlain started the Order of Good Cheer in Port Royal, Nova Scotia in 1606. This social club is the oldest in North America. In keeping with their tradition of hospitality, Nova Scotia introduced The Good Cheer Trail in 2015,it is Canada’s first winery, craft brewery and distillery trail. With over 30 wineries, distilleries, pubs and breweries taking part last year, visitors were able to meet the people behind these local creations and sample perfectly paired food and drink along the way.
High profile lighthouses
Over 160 historic lighthouses serve as beacons along the Nova Scotia coastline. The Lighthouse Route follows the South Shore of the province from Halifax to Yarmouth fora total of 339 kilometres. Along these quiet country roads visitors will get a chance to see 20 lighthouses and a world where the past remains a part of everyday life. Oxen still haul lumber, and the wooden dories tied to the docks are still used by the local fishermen
Don’t miss out on the iconic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse. Itis located in the middle of Route 333, just 45 minutes west of Halifax in Peggy’s Cove. The drive along the coast from Halifax is scenic, filled with picturesque small towns and the rugged coastal landscape. As an authentic East Coast fishing village, Peggy’s Cove has 35 year-round residents and is one of the most visited by tourists. Originally settled in the 1800s, the town is perched along a narrow inlet along the Atlantic. The first lighthouse was built in 1868 and was replaced with the current iconic red and white structure in1915. This may be one of the most photographed lighthouses in the province.
Here the waves can crash against the shore with stunning ferocity, and visitors should heed the signs warning of unpredictable surf. The massive, rounded, granite boulders that surround the lighthouse are fun to explore but can be dangerous, especially when they’re wet.
While visiting be sure to stop in the Sou’Wester Gift Shop and take a walk through the village to explore its shops, easily recognized by their signage. Should you find a short footpath at the end of the provincial parking lot, you will be led to one of the cove’s hidden treasures. Clam Pond is a small swimming hole and tidal pool with clear waters; this is the only place that it is advisable to swim in Peggy’s Cove.
Highlighting Canadian heritage
Considered to be the best surviving planned British colonial town in North America, the Old Town of Lunenburg is only one of two urban communities in North America designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town has maintained the same layout, a rectangular grid pattern since it was established in 1753, missing only the fortifications that once surrounded it. Guided tours share the local legends and age-old tales of seafarers long past. Tall ships are moored in the harbour while the streets are brightly coloured with painted historic homes. The Bluenose II, a replica of the world famous schooner, is located at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic along with other sailing vessels and the museum’s aquarium.
Nova Scotia is a province steeped in history and resplendent with natural beauty. The laid-back, welcoming style of its people ensure an enjoyable experience along Canada’s East Coast that simply should not be missed.