- Cape Breton
- Halifax: the capital
- Kejimkujic National park
- Brief history of the Acadins
Winding for 8.000 km, the coasts of the Nova Scotia they played a leading role in the rich, adventurous and even merciless history of this beautiful Canadian province. Their bays and coves have offered shelter to the shady pirates, from their ports relief has sailed for the poor shipwrecked of the Titanic and their beaches have been silent hearers of the laments of the Acadians.
Traveling in Nova Scotia, the icy Atlantic waters will be your most faithful companions: observing them from a boat, you cannot fail to understand the intimate relationship that has always united populations with the ocean and that pushed the native Joshua Slocum, in the second half of the nineteenth century, the first and historic crossing of the globe by boat and solo.
If you feel the need for a more intimate contact with the ocean, I definitely recommend that you plan an excursion to whalewatching da Pleasant Bay, extraordinarily authentic port of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park that testifies in an unsurpassable way a corner of unspoiled nature.
Crossing woods, tundras, swamps and naturalistic glimpses of priceless beauty, it will be worth reaching the Cape Breton Miners' Museum in Glace Bay, where - with a suggestive visit to the underground labyrinths of a mine - you can learn a lot about the activity which, together with the fishing, has been the economic strength of the region. Cape Breton, however, is not only renowned for its natural beauty, but also for its musical ones: the rolling Mabou is considered the capital of Celtic music.
If you prefer folk music to Celtic music, plan your trip so that you can appreciate the superb notes of the best folk, blues and traditional music artists who gather here at the end of July for the Stan Rogers FolkFestival. No less interesting, however, will prove the Celtic musical entertainment nights (called ceilidhs) that animate much of the east coast of Nova Scotia: a way to test the passion of the inhabitants of this region for music.
Halifax: the capital
Halifax, the capital of the province, is a must-see destination. Walking through its streets you can admire the successful harmony that marries its characteristic buildings well with the most modern fashion boutiques. Halifax has inextricably linked its recent history with the Atlantic: from here three ships left to respond to the distress call of the unfortunate maiden voyage of the Titanic (April 14, 1912) and a few years later, in 1917, a terrible collision involved a freighter carrying TNT and benzol, destined to supply the French troops engaged in the First World War. The explosion was tremendous and razed much of the city to the ground, dramatically going down in history as the most powerful ever to date. More powerful than this explosion was only the one - atomic - that destroyed Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.
A visit to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic it will be a good idea to understand what truly unites Halifax to the Atlantic and to view some touching relics of these dramatic events.
Continuing towards the south of the region, resist the lure of a short visit to the beautiful Mahone Bay it will be hard. A hundred islets dot the bay and the Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Festival is held in the village of the same name, dedicated to the construction of wooden boats, which will prove to be an educational and very interesting experience. The neighbour Lunenburg, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, is a charming fishing village with a branch of characteristic alleys that descend towards isolated caves that seem to have been the refuge of many pirates ... who knows that some treasure is still hidden!
Kejimkujic National park
The southern coast of Nova Scotia is home to another wildlife park, the Kejimkujic National park, where you can spend serene and relaxing hours observing the typical Canadian fauna or indulge in an exciting canoe trip.
Brief history of the Acadins
The French coast (French Shore), which goes north, is the most fertile and sunniest one: along it you will not struggle to get lost for hours gazing at the boundless apple orchards that largely support the local economy.
In this area, more than in the whole province, the drama suffered by the Acadians, the first French who settled here, is particularly felt. Since their landing, they fell in love with the fertile and welcoming climate of the region, not very dissimilar from the pastoral idyll sung by Greek mythology, handed down under the name of Arcadia. Therefore, they changed its name and lived happily until 1713 when, as a result of the Treaty of Utrecht, the territories passed under English rule. The Acadins (as the descendants of the first French colonizers called themselves) remained loyal to Catholicism and denied their allegiance to the English monarch and, for this, were dispersed and persecuted.
There are numerous sites that here recall these dramatic events: in July, the Acadien De Clare Festival is held at Church Point with the inevitable representation of Longefellow's play Evangéline which narrates the sad fate of the Acadian people; Annapolis Royal is home to the National Historic Site with poignant relics and artifacts; as well as the remains of the first Acadian settlement of 1635.
Nova Scotia will be a fascinating and compelling destination, which will not fail to leave an indelible memory of your trip to Canada both for the truly enchanting landscape environment and for the testimonies of a still throbbing past.
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