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A Guide to the Canada's Maritime Provinces

Updated on April 23, 2018
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RedElf (Elle Fredine) is a photographer, published author, and educator. Life-long learning is key to adding value to life.

Canada's Maritime Playgrounds

With a coastline of unparalleled beauty and variety, Canada's Maritime provinces offer unrivaled opportunity to explore new vistas - to enjoy summer days on sandy beaches, to take long drives through a country-side rich in history, and to sample down-home cooking at its best. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island offer romantic getaways and family vacations with a unique Canadian flavor.

Whether you plan to travel to the Maritimes, or simply take a tour online, you will find a collection of some of the Atlantic provinces most interesting and amazing vacation spots in the feed below. Take a few minutes and enjoy a trip through some of the most interesting and historic vistas in Canada - and take in some of our great music while you're here.

Peggy's Cove - photo from
Peggy's Cove - photo from
NB provincial flag - image from media
NB provincial flag - image from media

A Brief History of Immigration

The romantic, tragic tale of Evangaline, and the "Evangeline Trail" stands in testament to one of the darker events in early Canadian and American history - the deportation of the Acadians.

The Acadians (French: Acadiens) are the descendants of the seventeenth-century French colonists who settled in Acadia, now the Canadian maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, as well as in what is now Quebec, and in the U.S. state of Maine.

These French settlers, whose descendants became known as Acadians, came from many different regions in France, from the Maillets of Paris to the LeBlancs of Normandy. The popular Acadian surname 'Melanson' has its roots in Brittany, while those with the surname 'Bastarache' had their origin in the Basque Country.

During the Seven Years' War, between 1755-1763, British colonial officers, as well as the New England legislators and militia, deported more than 14,000 French-Acadians from the hotly contested maritime region. Approximately one third of the deportees perished. Many later settled in Louisiana, where they became known as Cajuns. Still others were transported to France. Many Acadians eventually returned to the Maritime provinces of Canada, most specifically, New Brunswick.

France was not the only nation to send settlers to that area of the New World. The Maritimes are also home to the proud descendants of Scotland's sons and daughters.

Between 1760 and 1860, millions of people emigrated from Great Britain, with emigration from Scotland to the Maritime Provinces forming one of the principal components of the exodus. By 1815, Scots formed one of the three major ethnic groups there.

Many of the emigrants were Highland farmers, who gathered in isolated communities because of the opportunity there to be left alone to pursue the traditional way of life.

A large group of Ulster Scots, many of whom had first settled in New Hampshire, moved to Truro, Nova Scotia in 1761. Their descendants have provided many of the country's leading justices, statesmen, clergymen, businessmen and scholars.

In 1772 a wave of Scottish immigrants began to arrive in Prince Edward Island, and in 1773 the ship Hector brought 200 Scots to Pictou, beginning a new round of Highland emigration - the town's slogan is "The Birthplace of New Scotland". By the end of the 18th century, Cape Breton Island had become a centre of Scottish settlement, where only Scottish Gaelic was spoken.

These two streams of emigres provide much of the rich cultural heritage of the Atlantic regions.

Map from
Map from

New Brunswick - Atlantic's Playground

The waters off New Brunswick's sandy beaches feature the warmest water temperatures north of coastal Virginia.

One of our favorite drives along the coast led past the "flowerpot" rocks, along the shore of Shepody Bay in the Bay of Fundy, on Hopewell Cape, NB.

Part of the Rocks Provincial Park, the shoreline's sandstone has been eroded by the world's highest tides, leaving tall pillars of stone with trees and soil on top standing high above the low tide line.

Almost any township in New Brunswick boasts an historical home of one of the families of the early settlers. Our family spent the day one Sunday driving from small town to small town, stopping at every historic home we could find.

Most of them were imposing, four or five story wood or brick edifices with formal dining rooms, outdoor summer kitchens, family rooms on the third floor, nurseries on the fourth, and housemaids quarters in the fifth floor attics. I remember being most impressed with the "Uniacke House" (in NS), and Sam Sneed's birthplace.

Almost all the homes, besides having samples of the clothing of the day on display, also bore a bronze plaque in the entry-way, cataloging the family tree of the original builders. It was sad to see a list of anywhere from 9 to 15 children borne into the family, few of whom survived past their 5th year let alone into adulthood.

Another great sight to take in is the annual Shediac Lobster Festival. Celebrated since 1949, the this world renowned festival runs for 5 days at the beginning of July with outdoor, family entertainment nightly, featuring magicians, musicians, and well known local, national, and international entertainers.

Nova Scotia

"New Scotland" is home to Halifax, the bay of Fundy with its world record tides, the fertile and lovely Annapolis valley, succulent Digby scallops, and the shipyards that built "The Bluenose".

Long featured on the Canadian dime (ten-cent coin), the Bluenose schooner was a trim beauty that dominated the International racing world on this side of the Atlantic for 17 years.

Designed by William Roué and built by Smith and Rhuland, Bluenose was launched at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on March 26, 1921, as a racing ship and fishing vessel. She was designed and built to expunge the defeat of the Nova Scotian fishing schooner Delawana by the Massachusetts fishing schooner Esperanto in 1920, in race for the International Fishermen's Trophy, a race sponsored by the Halifax Herald newspaper.

No mere racing ship, but also a general fishing craft, the Bluenose was worked hard throughout her lifetime. No challenger, American or Canadian, could wrest the International Fishermen's Trophy from her.

Bluenose II, launched at Lunenburg on July 24, 1963, is a replica of the original Bluenose. Built to original plans and by many of the same workers, the Bluenose II serves as a goodwill ambassador, tourist attraction in Lunenburg, and symbol of the province. During the summer, she visits ports all around Nova Scotia and frequently sails to other ports on the eastern seaboard. In honour of her predecessor, Bluenose II does not officially race.

Sable Island, just off the coast of Nova Scotia, is not only home to the wild Sable Island ponies, it earned the name the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" for all the ships that ran aground on her treacherous shifting sand bars and fog-bound shoals. Now an eco-reserve, about 300 wild horses still roam the island.

Oak Island, also off the coast of Nova Scotia, is home to one of Canada's home-grown mysteries - the Oak Island Money Pit. In 1975, teenager Daniel McGinnis discovered a strange circular depression in the ground on Oak Island, and a nearby tree with markings that showed kind of pulley system had been used.

The story has grown over the years. Fortunes have been spent trying to recover whatever lies below, but so far nature and the sandy soil have thwarted every attempt. The story includes such temptingly potential clues as stones with runic carvings, references to the Knights Templar and the Freemasons, and treasure maps - all the ingredients of a ripping good yarn. Right there in NS!

A map of the island from
A map of the island from
Confederation Bridge - image from
Confederation Bridge - image from
Fishing village - photo from
Fishing village - photo from

Prince Edward Island

Known the world over as the home of Lucy Maude Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, the red soil of this island wonderland produces some of the world's finest potatoes.

One of the most visited spots in Canada, Charlottetown, is known as the seat of Confederation.

Between September 1st and 7th, in 1864, Charlottetown hosted a series of meetings and negotiations, now known as the Charlottetown Conference. These meetings and negotiations, held in Province House, would eventually lead to Canadian Confederation.

Home to some wonderful resort vacation spots, Prince Edward Island plays host to travelers from around the world.

One of the favorite summer events of these visitors is the annual presentation of Anne of Green Gables - The Musical. The island's spunky red-head continues to delight visitors since it's first performance in 1964.

No trip to Canada's Maritimes would be complete without a drive across the causeway to take in some of the delights of this bustling and picturesque island province.

Peace River Community Choir

West meets East in the following rendition of a great Maritime song, performed here by a super western choir.

And this amazing song says it for all of us

© 2010 RedElf


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