Annapolis Royal Things to Do

  • Fort Anne National Historic Site- Courtesy Wiki
    Fort Anne National Historic Site-...
    by TooTallFinn24
  • Looking Out Across the Sound from Fort Anne
    Looking Out Across the Sound from Fort...
    by TooTallFinn24
  • Generating Station, Annapolis Royal, Canada.
    Generating Station, Annapolis Royal,...
    by planxty

Most Recent Things to Do in Annapolis Royal

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    Go for a walk.

    by planxty Written Jul 15, 2014

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    Courthouse, Annapolis Royal, Canada.
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    I know it sounds like a very obvious thing to say about a place but taking a walk round Annapolis Royal really is a delightful thing to do. To have so much history packed into it, the town is fairly compact and would only take about 20 minutes to walk end to end if you were not stopping off to see the myriad gems on offer. It appears that just about every building here is of some historical significance and the townsfolk certainly do their best to promote that history as nearly every building will have a small plaque on it explaining when it was built and perhaps some more pertinent information. Many of these places are still private residences or Bed and Breakfast establishments and so not open to look round inside but the exteriors look like they have been there for centuries, which indeed they have.

    Whilst it is perfectly possible to have a wonderful time just walking round unguided I would recommend that you pick up a copy of the self-guided walking tour brochure which is very widely available (free) locally. You can certainly pick up a copy in the excellent Visitors Centre at the Tidal Generating Statin (see separate tips) as well as local campsites etc. and it will add much to your ramble round this wonderful place. Should you wish to download it prior to visiting then the attached website is a .pdf download for you.

    I have included here a few random images from the many that I took as the whole town seems to be one never-ending photo opportunity. When time permits I shall construct a travelogue to showcase some more of them. You may well wish to visit places like Fort Anne or do the lamplit Garrison graveyard tour (see separate tips) and I suggest you do but if you are on a tight time schedule or very tight budget then a walk round this glorious little town is a free and hugely rewarding experience.

    Just a slight word of warning though to finish here. The locals are so incredibly friendly that you may well take longer than you anticipated as everyone seems to want to stop and chat, and everyone seems to be an expert on local history. It really is more lke a "living museum" than the thriving community it actually is. A great place for a wander.

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    A brilliant, historic, friendly pub.

    by planxty Written Jul 11, 2014

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    Olde Towne Pub, Annapolis Royal, Canada.
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    Annapolis Royal has many attractions and I commend them to you but what it appears to be slightly short of is pubs. There are plenty of restaurants, many of them licensed but the vagaries of the Nova Scotian licensing laws mean that you have to eat there if you want an alcoholic drink. Indeed, this seems to be the case in much of the Province, a lack of places just to go for a drink. I am not sure if living here would suit me, delightful as it is.

    It was with a glad heart, therefore, that I happened upon the Olde Towne Pub, just off the main riverside street. My friend and I wandered in to be greeted by a most friendly member of staff and if pushed to pick one word to describe this place it would be that, friendly. Nova Scotians really are hospitable people and in in time flat I had been engaged in conversation by the barmaid, the manager and at least three of the customers. A return visit by myself the next day (almost obligatory I felt) prompted the same scenario. I genuinely felt like I had been a local there forever, great atmosphere.

    There is a good selection of drinks and I plumped for a pint of the red ale which seems to be very popular in Nova Scotia and for which I am developing a great liking. My companion had a Virgin Caesar (Bloody Caesar withut the alcohol as she was driving) and pronounced it very good.

    Although I didn't eat there, I saw a lot of food served and it looked very good and well-presented with the advertised prices about average for the area. I suppose it would be easy for this place to let standards slip and rely on it's monopoly position but it most certainly does not. It is a very comfortable place with spotless washrooms and I can do no more than to recommend it highly.

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    A graveyeard after dark - are you mad?

    by planxty Written Jul 11, 2014

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    Garrison Cemetery, Anapolis Royal, Canada.
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    Readers of other pages I have constructed here on Virtual Tourist know that I am fascinated by old graveyards as I find them a wonderful source of social history as well as being just plain interesting and so it was a very happy planxty that stumbled upon the graveyard adjacent to Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal. It was an even happier planxty that subsequently took a torchlight tour in the evening and learnt some of the stories behind this very historic burying ground but more of that later.

    The proper name for the cemetery is the Garrison Cemetery denoting it's use for those garrisoned in the fort and their dependents and anciary workers and it seems that the life here was regrettably short judging by some of the inscriptions. Sadly, many of the stones are now suffering the ravages of time and the sometimes brutal climate here but it is apparent that serious efforts at conservation are being made (lead flashing on top of some of the stones etc.) and hopefully it will have the desired effect.

    My travelling companion on this trip, VT member RavensWing (Lynne) and I had been told locally about a lamplit tour of the cemetery after dark and had it been highly recommended. As is so often the case local information is invaluable and so we arrived at the front of the Fort at 2130 that evening to be greeted by a chap I now know as Alan Melanson, an Acadian gent who can trace his lineage back to the 17th century and the very earliest French settlers in this area. Melanson, incidentally, is a very common Acadian surname.

    Alan was dressed, as he explained, in Victorian mourning dress, and then he proceeded to give us an absolutely fascinating tour of the cemetery pointing out all the major graves of particular note. Principal amongst these was the oldest English gravestone in Canada dating to 1720. I have included an image here taken in daylight the next day. I did not take any images on the tour itself as my small compact camera would not have yeilded good results and I did not want to ruin the torchlit atmosphere by using flash. Regrettably, several others did not see fit to extend the same courtesy to the rest of us. If I have one minor quibble with this excellent tour, and it is minor, it would be that. I really think that flash photography should be banned as it detracts greatly from the excellent ambience Alan builds up. Just a note to those with children. You may think this would be frightening for kids but there were several on the tour I did and they seemed to enjoy it greatly, it is not a "ghost tour". Alan is an excellent raonteur and, if anything and without being in the least disrespectful, the tour tends slightly towards humour rather then terror.

    Should you wish to go on the tour and I do suggest that you do, here are the details from the website. Otherwise you can visit the place for free yourself at any time.

    Every SUNDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY, 9:30 pm, Fort Anne National Historic Site in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, June 1 - October 15.

    ALSO the FIRST FRIDAYS in June, September and October, PLUS every FRIDAY and SATURDAY during July and August.

    ADULT $9, YOUTH (13-18) $5, CHILD (12 & Under) $3
    Rain or Shine. NO RESERVATIONS. Duration: 1:00

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    Such a shame it was closed.

    by planxty Written Jul 11, 2014
    Fort Anne,Annapolis Royal, Canada.
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    I have mentioned in another tip on my Nova Scotia page about the ludicrous practice in the Province of closing all provincially administered attractions on Sunday and Monday, except in very high season which regrettably started two days after my trip there. For this reason I missed out on perhaps the jewel in the crown in annapolis Royal namely Fort Anne, the historic military structure which dominates the town. I really do wish they would rethink this absurd policy.

    I say I missed out and this is largely speaking true as I did not get inside the fort nor see any of the many demonstrations staged by re-enactors but even a walk around the outside was sufficient to give me a sense of the place and gain a small insight into the history of it, and what a history there is. Allow me to share a little of it with you here briefly, although the attached website does a much more thorough job.

    The area surrounding what is present day Annapolis Royal was originally settled by the French in the early 17th century where they lived peacefully with the indigenous Miqmaq people. In 1621 King James VI of Scotland and I of England granted a charter for Scottish settlers to come here and it is from this that the term Nova Scotia derives, that being the Latin for New Scotland. The settlers arrived on this site in 1629 although the settlement did not last long as it was handed to the French in 1632 followng a treaty. The French returned under Charles d'Aulnay and it is these settlers that later evolved into the Acadian people that are still in the region to this day n numbers of about 300,000.

    On their return, the French set about developing the rather basic Scottish fort and, under the supervision of an officer called de Labat they constructed the star shaped fort much as it is seen today. It served as the administrative capital of the region until 1710 when the British forced a French surrender following a seige. Whilst there was some friction between the British, French and Miqmaq inhabitants of the area, things didn't really come to a head until the 1740's when there were several attacks on the fort, the friction leading eventually to the expulsion of the Acadians from the region in 1755. The First Treaty of Paris in 1763 brought the violence to an end when the French surrendered all their lands in North America (except a couple of small islands) to Britain. During the course of all this the fort changed hands no less than seven times and Annapolis Royal is the most contested piece of land in North America.

    The Fort became Canada's first national monument in 1921 ad has been beautifully preserved. A walk round the star-shaped bastions affords delightful views over the river and town and it is easy to see how defensible it would have been in the age of musket and sword.

    The Fort is open June 3 to June 24 - 9 am to 5:30 pm Tuesday to Saturday closed Sunday and Monday

    June 25 to August 30 - 9 am to 5:30 pm daily

    August 31 to September 30 - 9 am to 5:30 pm Tuesday to Saturday closed Sunday and Monday

    Grounds open year-round.

    Admission costs

    Daily
    Adult $ 3.90
    Senior $ 3.40
    Youth $ 1.90
    Family/Group $ 9.80
    "Commercial Group, per person $ 3.40
    Seasonal
    Adult $ 9.80
    Senior $ 8.55
    Youth $ 4.90
    Family/Group $ 24.50

    Remarkably for such an old structure they have made it fully wheelchair accessible including washrooms and parking so well done Parks Canada.

    Thi is a wonderful place and I am only sorry I didn't get to go inside. Next trip perhaps!

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    Get the information first.

    by planxty Updated Jul 11, 2014

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    Visitor Information Centre, Annapolis Royal.

    Nova Scotia generally is very well served witth Visitor Information Centres which seem to be of uniformly high standard and Annapolis Royal is no exception. As it was in tourist season (May 15th – October 15th) it was located on the ground floor of the Tidal Power Generating Station (details below) and the rest of the year it re-locates to the Town Hall at 285 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, NS (same telphone number).

    When we walked in we were greeted by a delightful chap called Jack who was a veritable mine of information about the town and surrounding region. He was backed up in this by a very extensive collection of free literature to assist the visitor. We had a great chat and his typical Nova Scotian hospitality extended to him inviting me to join his group in Granville Ferry that night for a msuic session once he had found out I was a musician of sorts. I did indeed join them and had a great time and even got offered a gig which I had to regretfully decline. Now that is what I call visitor information.

    This is an excellent place and a credit to the town, I do suggest you visit.

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    A phenomenal piece of technology.

    by planxty Written Jul 10, 2014

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    Generating Station, Annapolis Royal, Canada.
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    I am going to start this tip with a few facts that frankly astounded me when I learnt of them on my visit to the Annapolis Tidal Generating Station which is what it is about. The Bay of Fundy has the largest tidal variation in the world, averaging an incredible 47 feet. This huge tide means that tens of billions of gallons of water pass through here every day and that amounts to more than the output of every single freshwater river in the world. Even now, some time later, I find it difficult to comprehend as the figures are so gargantuan.

    What all this means is that Annapolis is perfectly situated for the generation of tidal power which is obviously renewable and eco-friendly, factors which seem to be becoming more and more important. Fossil fuel will inevitably run out but if anything the tides will get larger due to global warming, melting icecaps and so on.

    Recognising the immense potential for green energy a tidal generating site

    was proposed several decades ago. Work began in the eraly 80's and the station started generating in 1984. When you get the talk from the chap in the display room upstairs in the building shown on the main image it is hard to imagine that this is effectively still a test project albeit one that does function practically and supplies enough energy to the grid to supply many thousands of homes in the area with it's 20Mw. output..

    The downstairs area is a Visitor Information Centre and forms the basis of another tip.

    The energy generating company are extremely anxious to stress their environmental credentials and community involvement which is probably partially a reaction to what was, I believe, a fairly negative local reaction to the plan initially. Amongst the environmental measure they have
    put in place are fish runs so that the salmon can get upstream to spawn and then return to the sea. Another fascinating project is relocating osprey nests from the top of power poles which seem to be a favourite nesting spot for these birds. When you consider that the nests can measure as much as 13 feet across it is some feat. The company erects large poles specifically for the purpose and whilst some birds nest there of their own volition other nests are physcally moved by trained specialist teams under conditions which cause minimum stress to the birds. There is a good example of the scheme in operation visible from the carpark of the generating station itself as there was a nesting pair with a young one in a nest on one of the "artificial" poles. You can see one of the birds in one of the images. I apologise for it's quality but I only had my compact camera with me and the lens would not reach the nest itself so this is of a nearer "real" pole. Hopefully it will give an idea though. They were quite magnificent and are the provincial bird of Nova Scotia.

    The display room has only a few information boards and exhibits but there is always a member of staff there and this is where the interest is. There is no guided tour or whatever or set times for talks, the chap just greets you and starts chatting informally which I liked. Certainly, he is an emplyee of the power company and there to put a good spin on things but he did seem genuinely proud of the facility and the responsible attitude of his employers.

    The Generating Staion is open 1000 - 1800 seasonally from May until October, admission is free aand there are toilet facilities there. It is certainly worth a look if you are passing as it is the only facility of it's kind in North America and one of very few in the world.

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    Fort Anne National Historic Site

    by TooTallFinn24 Updated Mar 6, 2013

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    Fort Anne National Historic Site- Courtesy Wiki
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    It was surprising to find how the land around Annapolis Royal was so coveted by both the French and English. According to one source the land near Annapolis Royal has been more contested than any other site in Canada between the French and English.

    The fort was first built by the Scots in 1629. During the 1630's the fort was captured by the French who added significantly to it in the 17th century. The fort was recaptured by the British in 1710 and the town was later renamed to Annapolis Royal from Port Royal. It was also surprising to learn that Annapolis Royal served as the capital of Nova Scotia for nearly forty years until the capital was moved to Halifax in 1749.

    There are very few structures left on the grounds of the Fort Anne Historic Site today. However there is an interesting museum with an interesting tapestry, a good earlier model of the fort and some interesting things to see. What is just as fascinating is the gorgeous location of the fort on the Annapolis inlet and the Bay of Fundy. A great place to walk around before heading downtown to the cute little town of Annapolis Royal.

    The museum and grounds are open daily 9-5:30, June-Sept.; Mon.-Fri. by appointment, rest of year. Grounds daily dawn-dusk, year-round.

    Admission to the site including the museum as of 2013 is;
    Adults $ 3.90
    Senior $ 3.40
    Youth $ 1.90

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    North Side of Annapolis Royal

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Nov 19, 2011

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    As you come into town and sitting to the west is the northern part of Annapolis Royal. We were able to access the area by walking across the bridge that has the Tidal Generating Plant on it. There are some nice older homes with great views of old Annapolis Royal and views of the harbor. A great walk for the hardy that are looking to get away from some of the tourists in town and see the less visited side of town

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    Take a walk through town

    by easterntrekker Written Aug 13, 2007

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    Itys entertaining to take a walk through this unique liitle town . There is a mixtute of the new to the very historic. We enjoye both . There is a board walk where you can watch the very large tide , and there are lots of little shops and restaurants as well!

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    Fort Anne National Historic Site

    by easterntrekker Written Aug 13, 2007

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    Canada's oldest National Historic Site, this is ususally the first stop for many when they visit the area. The earthwork fortification is quite intact, there is also 1797 British officers' quarters.

    It is easy to see why this was such an important location for the French and English . There is a clear view of the surrounding waters from the banks.

    When we were there , the cadets were taking a tour which somehow set the scene for us.

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    Ponds and gardens

    by easterntrekker Written Aug 13, 2007

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    There are several gorgeous ponds in the Historic Gardens . They are quite natural and are surrounded by many varieties of plants . I love how everything is labelled ., I have lots of notes so I can track down and hopefully buy some!!

    An impressive collection of daylilies was blooming when we visited!

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    The Marsh area

    by easterntrekker Written Aug 13, 2007

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    The Marsh area is very interesing . There's an impressive boardwalk that allows you to get up close to this important marshland area without destroying it .Some wonderful views from here . The tall reeds in the picture have been growing since the early French settlers time and were used in there houses.

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    Historic Gardens

    by easterntrekker Written Aug 13, 2007

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    I have to admit my main reason to go to Annapolis is always to stroll among this gorgeous garden. Even my husband ( who's not a big enthusiast of garden strolling , loved it) It takes a miniumum of an hour. Although they are well known for their roses there are many different themed areas to visit!!
    Admission is $9.00

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    North Hills museum

    by Redlats Updated Dec 11, 2004

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    picture from website

    An antique dealer from Ontario moved to this small house overlooking the Annapolis River in the 1960's. He furnished his house with antique furniture, paintings and dishes, etc. The staff at the museum guide visitors through the various rooms.

    The tour would mean more if we were knowledgable about antiques. To me a Chippendales is a male dancer. In this house it was an example of mahogany (was it?) furniture.

    2004 adult price was $3 Cdn.

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    Annapolis Tidal Generating station

    by Redlats Updated Dec 11, 2004

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    Tidal Generating Station @ Annapolis Royal

    The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world. That means that twice a day sea water rises - sometimes as much as 7 metres in height. To produce power, the water flows through spillways upstream for approximately 6 hours. Then the spillways are shut, and when the water drops, and flows back downstream, power is generated (for approximately 5 1/2 hours). This repeats twice a day.

    This tidal generating station is a pilot project and proves that tidal power is viable. More power could be generated - but at a possible large environmental cost.

    The part of the generating station that is open for public viewing is limited. Really all you see is a bunch of information boards and a model.

    Entry is no cost, and the main floor serves as the local information booth.

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