Today was Laundry day at the Williams road show (I know, we lead such exciting lives), and so we didn’t get away until almost noon. The item on todays list was the Annapolis Valley on the northwest side of Nova Scotia. We didn’t know much about the area, but when I looked up the list of Must-See items for Nova Scotia, three of the items were located in Annapolis Royal.
This area was at one time the capital of Acadia for the French when it was known as Port Royal, (until the British took over by force) and was subsequently the capital of Nova Scotia until Halifax was founded in 1749. The original French town was occupied in 1605, and was overtaken by New Englanders in 1613 when it was burnt to the ground. In 1928 a Virginian by the name of Harriette Taber Richardson began a project to reconstruct the site, figuring that if New Englanders destroyed the place maybe they should rebuild it. The Canadian Government got involved in 1938 and the site was rebuilt from drawings made by Samuel De Champlain. It opened to the public in 1939 and is a good look at life in the early 1600s.
The town of Port Royal was rebuilt a couple of times and moved up the river a few km. By 1711 the British established their dominance in the area and renamed the city Annapolis Royal and it began to prosper. It is still an elegant looking town, but only has about 500 residents.
On the right side of the picture the original Fort Anne which is on the list of things to see, but after all the forts we’ve already visited, we are pretty well ‘fort’ed out.
The last site we wanted to see was the Historic Gardens in the town. This is a 17 acre garden showcasing roses and plants from the last 400 years. It’s pretty late in the season for a lot of the flowers, but it was a nice walk and we did see lots of pretty flowers.
One interesting thing that we drove over is a Tidal Power generation station. The Nova Scotia power utility is harnessing the tidal action of the Bay of Fundy (which the Annapolis River empties into) and generating electricity through turbines placed in the mouth of the river. I don’t know how much they are generating, but when we drove over the site the water was flowing BACK into the river at quite a clip.
We took the scenic route back from Annapolis Royal, and quickly found out that the valley is the agricultural centre of the province. We passed more orchards, corn fields, pastures and farmers markets, as well as absolutely gorgeous heritage homes, than we’ve seen since we left PEI. It was a very nice scenic drive, and very pretty country. It was a perfect sight-seeing day.