10 Interesting Facts About the East Coast of Canada
From historic firsts to world capitals, the Maritimes have it all!
When you make your way through the East Coast of Canada on The CAT, the mv Fundy Rose, the mv Confederation, or the mv Holiday Island, you can be rest assured you’ll find amazing adventures, animals from all over the world, and unparalleled views. Along the way, you’ll also learn a thing or two about this unique part of the world. To get you started, here are 10 interesting facts about the East Coast of Canada.
Nova Scotia is home to Canada’s first National Historic Site
30 minutes from the mv Fundy Rose in Digby, you will find Fort Anne, Canada’s first administered National Historic Site. This fort is home to thousands of years of Canadian history. During your visit, you can explore an authentic 1797 Officers’ Quarters, learn about the battles that took place in this hotly contested region, and walk through the historical grounds.
After your journey back in time, spend an evening at Digby Pines to bring yourself back to the world of modern amenities and comfort.
Nova Scotia is also home to Canada’s most-visited National Historic Site
In the heart of downtown Halifax, you’ll find Citadel Hill—Canada’s most-visited National Historic Site. Watching over the city of Halifax for over 250 years, the Citadel’s iconic shape and location are unforgettable. The grounds of the Citadel are open year-round, with a variety of activities for the entire family, including chilling ghost tours and the opportunity to become a soldier for a day! If you can, be sure to arrive at the Citadel before noon for a chance to watch the firing of the noon gun—a Halifax tradition that is as old as the Citadel itself!
Halifax rents Point Pleasant Park from the British for less than 10 cents a year
Halifax’s most beloved park, Point Pleasant, is 75 hectares of wooded paths and pristine oceanfront views on the Halifax peninsula. The land, which the British government owns and leases to the city of Halifax at a rate of one shilling a year (which works out to be less than 10 cents), is a favourite spot for Haligonians and travelers. Visitors to Point Pleasant love walking their dogs through the park, taking in summer performances by the Shakespeare by the Sea theatre troupe, and exploring the remains of early military fortifications. And if you’re wondering if you’ll be able to get an amazing deal on land in Point Pleasant Park, you’ll have to wait a few years—Halifax currently has a 999-year lease on the land.
Travel + Leisure rates Cape Breton Island as the #1 island to visit in continental North America
It’s no secret that Cape Breton Island is beautiful, but did you know it is the #1 island to visit in continental North America according to Travel + Leisure? It’s easy to see why! With friendly faces, international festivals, and stunning scenic drives, you may never want to leave. During your visit, don’t forget to drive the Cabot Trail, an unforgettable journey that takes you through the Cape Breton Highlands where you’ll find the food, music, and activities that give Cape Breton its distinct cultural flavour.
Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick, is the French Fry Capital of the World
French fries are a Maritime favourite, so it makes sense that the French Fry Capital of the World would be in the region. Florenceville-Bristol is home to McCain Foods, who are the world’s largest producer of French fries. To celebrate their distinction, Florenceville-Bristol has a museum dedicated to French fries and all things potato, aptly named Potato World! At this museum, you can learn about the connection the province of New Brunswick has to the potato, its history and impact on the economy, and discover what life is like as a potato farmer. At the end of your visit, you can enjoy a hot serving of, you guessed it, French fries!
New Brunswick is home to the world’s longest covered bridge
The Hartland Covered Bridge is not only the longest covered bridge in the world, it’s also a designated National Historic Site. Measuring 1,282 feet in length, this “kissing bridge”—a bridge where a young couple could privately share a few kisses while traveling by horse and buggy’—has carried cars, trucks, animals, and even Olympic torches across the Saint John River. After you cross the bridge, be sure to continue on to visit the Covered Bridge Potato Chips company for a factory tour to grab a great treat inspired by the region.
The tides at Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick, are the highest in the world
You’ve never seen a high tide until you’ve been to Hopewell Rocks. Home of the highest tides in the world, the tides at Hopewell Rocks measure at an incredible 16 meters high. When you visit this park on the Bay of Fundy, you can take a walk on the ocean floor, marvel at the renowned Hopewell Flowerpots, and have a front-row seat for watching the tides roll in. If you’re interested in learning more about the Bay of Fundy and its world-famous tides, be sure to check out our recent post, Everything You Need to Know to Experience the Bay of Fundy Tides.
The entire Anne of Green Gables series drew inspiration from a home in PEI, and you can visit it
Anne of Green Gables is an institution in PEI. The little girl from Green Gables has inspired movies, television programs, staged musicals, and more, not to mention beloved novels by L.M. Montgomery. But did you know that the idea for Anne came during a visit to a farmstead on the Island? It’s true, and you can visit the same idyllic home at Green Gables Heritage Place. During your visit, you can explore Green Gables, the Haunted Wood, Lovers Lane, and more. Plus, in the summer you can even meet Anne Shirley herself!
You can travel PEI from tip to tip on the Confederation Trail
The Confederation Trail is the first completed portion of Canada’s Trans Canada Trail and allows travelers to experience PEI from tip to tip. This shared-use trail is perfect for walking and cycling in the warmer months and snowmobiling in the winter. The trail reclaims the routes abandoned by the railroad when trains stopped running on PEI, providing Islanders and visitors with an easy, fun, and picturesque way to see as much of the Island as they please. Many visitors make an entire trip out of biking the Confederation Trail, stopping to explore local villages, partaking in geocaching, and taking in the beautiful scenery along the way.
Prince Edward Island is the Birthplace of Canada
In 1864, elected officials met in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to discuss the possibility of merging three Maritime jurisdictions. These meetings, known as the Charlottetown Conference, planted the seeds for the British North America Act and the birth of the country of Canada. When you visit Charlottetown today, you can see for yourself exactly how this wonderful country came together. While you’re here, be sure to visit the Confederation Centre of the Arts, where you can explore the Story of Confederation exhibit and view a replica of the Confederation Chamber. If you’re interested in even more facts about Prince Edward Island, check out our PEI 101 blog!
The fact of the matter is the East Coast of Canada is a great spot to visit! To learn more about the region, be sure to visit Explore the Maritimes and begin planning your next trip today!