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Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

History of Annapolis Royal

Annapolis Royal is a quaint seaside town steeped in heritage and tradition that holds a unique spot in Nova Scotian and Canadian history. Long before the arrival of the Europeans, this area held special meaning for the Mi’kmaq, the indigenous people who were the sole occupants of Canada’s Maritime Provinces for thousands of years. In 1605, the Mi’kmaq were joined here by France's Pierre de Gua, Sieur de Monts, geographer Samuel de Champlain, and their party. The area became home to some of North America’s earliest European settlers and was first called Port-Royal by Champlain. The administrative and military centre of Acadie remained here until its final capture by the British in 1710. Renamed in honour of Queen Anne – one of the most fought over pieces of land in North America changing hands 7 times, Annapolis Royal served as Nova Scotia’s capital until the founding of Halifax in 1749.

Today, this welcoming waterfront community embraces thousands of years of Mi’kmaq heritage and its over 400 years of French, Scottish, and British history. It's home to Canada's oldest National Historic Site, Fort Anne, where you can see the Royal Charter from which Nova Scotia gets its name and flag. Some of the oldest wooden buildings in Canada are found here, and there are over 135 registered heritage properties in Annapolis Royal, plus a charming streetscape that has been designated a National Historic District.

Modern day Annapolis Royal remains idyllically situated between mountain and sea, offering a stunning waterfront shopping area, with a selection of restaurants, world class accommodations, a vibrant arts and culture scene, and plenty of outdoor activities.

Accommodations in Annapolis Royal

Be pampered at one of the luxurious historic inns and bed & breakfasts in the area, or relax in a comfortable motel or cozy cottages.

Annapolis Royal Accommodations

Where to Eat in Annapolis Royal

Discover restaurants that serve fresh local seafood and specialty dishes made from produce grown in the Annapolis Valley. Enjoy laid back meals at a family-friendly pub, hearty breakfasts and lunches at cozy cafes, or casual dining options with spectacular views of the waterfront and North Mountain.

Where to Eat in Annapolis Royal

Annapolis Royal Attractions

  • The award-winning Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens has been recognized as a “Top 5 North American Garden Worth Traveling For.”
  • The Annapolis Royal Farmers' and Traders' Market has run for over 35 years and is been one of the largest outdoor markets in Nova Scotia, operating rain or shine. It features everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to hand-made soaps locally-roasted coffees, delicious sausages, quilts and linens, wood and leather crafts, jewellery, antiques, vintage clothing, and so much more!  The Winter Farmers' Market, located at the Historic Gardens, makes Annapolis Royal one of the few rural Nova Scotian communities with a year-round farmers' market.
  • North American's only Tidal Generating Power Plant lets you witness the incredible power of the Bay of Fundy's world-renowned tides.
  • Lucky Rabbit & Co. is an artists' house – each room a separate studio or gallery where you will find artists working on site.
  • The nearby Upper Clements Theme Park and Upper Clements Adventure Park offers everything from roller coaster riding to zip-lining in their amusement and adventure parks.

Things to Do in Annapolis Royal

  • Join a walking tour of the National Historic District or bring your sense of adventure to the world-renowned Candlelight Graveyard Tour. Discover Champlain's settlement at Port-Royal National Historic Site, or visit the nearby Melanson Settlement National Historic Site, or admire Georgian antiques at North Hills Museum. See 300 years of construction evolution at the Sinclair Inn Museum, a National Historic Site, or trace your genealogy at the O'Dell House Museum.
  • Join in the annual Annapolis Royal Natal Day weekend of celebrations. The 84th Regiment of Foot 2nd Battalion (Royal Highland Emigrants) Encampment takes over the Fort Anne National Historic Site grounds for its annual historic reenactment, along with special ceremonies by the HMCS Acadia Sea Cadet Summer Training Centre, and followed by a spectacular fireworks show.
  • Enjoy exhibits at ARTsPLACE and performances at King's Theatre. Annapolis Royal also plays host to the annual ARTs Unleashed Festival – 9 spectacular days of art, music, spoken word, dance, cuisine, history and much more, kicking off with the hugely popular Paint The Town and closing with the Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal.

This scenic little town has plenty to do in the autumn and winter too, with the annual Ghost Town festivities celebrating Halloween, and Artfelt Christmas running the month of December when the town comes alive with the spirit of Christmas.

Plan to stay another day in Annapolis Royal – make sure you've got time to enjoy all that this town has to offer.