Main Dining Room - the Habitation, Port Royal, NS
In keeping with the theme of tourism in your own neighbourhood, my sister Lisa, her husband Bart and Norma and I were going to go whale watching. The winds were so high, we couldn’t go, but we’d driven to Digby already, so we pressed on and went to Port Royal. The drive was well worth it, as the Port-Royal National Historic Site is a very interesting place to visit.
The first foothold for the French as a permanent settlement in North America happened here in 1605. The Habitation, as the fort was called, didn’t last too long, as the English folks from Jamestown came and destroyed the fort in 1613, but the French had already settled along the coast of the Annapolis Basin, so they just made a bigger fort in what is now Fort Anne, in Annapolis Royal.
The Habitation was Parks Canada’s first attempt at a historic recreation, and it is amazing. Located on the actual site of the fort from 1605, they have reproduced the fort today by using plans from the early 1600’s. The small fortress has a variety of rooms and interpreters to assist you in understanding what you are seeing, and it’s all accessible and folks can touch things and see what they were used for. The grounds also have numerous plaques and you get a good map and interpretive flyer – and all for a very reasonable entrance fee.
While I love nature trips and being interactive with the outdoors, I also love history – and the Port-Royal National Historic Site is well worth a trip to learn a little bit about the very earliest European settlers of Canada. Nova Scotia has a few such sites – it’s worth finding out about them!