Why you should visit Canada’s Maritime provinces

The simplest explanation to why you should come visit our part of the world, tucked away in the northeast corner of North America, is because it is simply the best. But then again, I’m biased!

Every place has a story to tell, and the stories of the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island – revolve around their own mix of history, beautiful landscapes, and the sea – and, of course, seafood. I should add that our region is also known for its “down home” welcome. There aren’t so many of us as in bigger places, so we have a bit more time to get to know you!

Lobster, a go-to treat in all three provinces.

History

This is not only a place where our indigenous peoples have lived for at least 500 generations, and where the Loyalists – those colonists who remained loyal to the King – arrived in droves during and in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War in the States, it is also the place where peaceful, neutral French settlers had lived for 150 years prior to the arrival of the pre-Loyalist British in the 1750s. The Maritimes is the homeland of the Acadians, these days especially in New Brunswick. The horrific expulsion of the Acadians by the British, sometimes referred to as the Deportations, was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem Evangeline. These forced expulsions sent this French-speaking population far and wide, with many Acadians being sent to Louisiana – hence the word Cajun, a derivative of Acadian. But many Acadians hid out in remote parts of the Maritimes, and many others eventually returned from far-flung places. New Brunswick is now the only officially bilingual province in Canada, a recognition that fully 30+% of our province’s population is French-speaking Acadian. Acadian history, culture, and traditions are celebrated throughout the Maritimes, along with the proud traditions of the Scots, Irish, First Nations, and more recent arrivals.

7 things you might not know about New Brunswick

  1. New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. These tides, when low, provide the access to the spectacular Hopewell Rocks.

    Hopewell Rocks at low tide and at high tide

  2. There are more whales to see more often than anywhere else; they also love the high tides of the Bay of Fundy. Go whale watching from St. Andrew’s or Deer Island!

    Whale watching from St. Andrew’s, NB

  3. Shediac, NB is the self-proclaimed lobster capital of the world.
  4. You can walk through history at historical settlements Kings Landing and Village Historique Acadien (Acadian Historic Village).

    Reliving life in the 1800s at Kings Landing

  5. Ganong Chocolates in St. Stephen, NB produced the world’s first chocolate bar (introduced in 1910) and continues to produce the very popular “chicken bones” candy as part of its tasty inventory. They have a great public tour of their candy factory.
  6. The University of New Brunswick is the oldest English-speaking university in Canada, established in 1785 in my beautiful home town of Fredericton. (For the record, French-speaking Laval University in Quebec was established in 1663.)

    University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, established in 1785

  7. Hartland, NB is home to the longest covered bridge in the world.

    Longest covered bridge in the world at Hartland, NB

7 things you might not know about Prince Edward Island (PEI)

  1. At 225 km in length (140 mi) and 65 kms in width (40 mi) at its widest part, PEI is the smallest province by far in both size and population. What it lacks in size it makes up for in personality!
  2. PEI is known as the Birthplace of Confederation because it hosted the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 that led to the creation of Canada in 1867.
  3. PEI is Anne of Green Gables land. One can visit the green-gabled house that inspired the author, Lucy Maude Montgomery, and take in Anne of Green Gables, the musical, at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

    Anne of Green Gables

  4. Jacques Cartier “discovered” PEI in 1534. To be clear, the Mi’kmaq had discovered it millennia before then.
  5. PEI is beloved for its oysters, mussels, and pretty well all forms of seafood.
  6. PEI is the home of the world famous Cow’s Ice Cream.

    PEI’s renowned Cow’s Ice Cream, lots of fun!

  7. Along with world-renowned golf courses and its famous potato-growing “bright red mud”, PEI has miles and miles of beautiful beaches, with some of the warmest waters “north of Virginia”.

    PEI’s wonderful beaches

    PEI’s red soil produces 0ne-third of Canada’s potatoes

7 things you might not know about Nova Scotia

  1. Picturesque Lunenburg, on the uniformly picturesque south shore of Nova Scotia, boasts a UNESCO heritage designation for its preservation of 18th century architecture and history. Lunenburg’s ship-building industry produced the record-setting sailing ship The Bluenose. It was also known for its rum-running during Prohibition in the US!

    Historic Lunenburg, on Nova Scotia’s south shore

  2. The Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck on the Bras d’Or Lakes is worth a blog post of its own. This was Alexander Graham Bell’s second home, far away from Washington, DC, and he explored some fascinating ideas here. Very much worth a visit.

    The Alexander Graham Bell Museum is located on the very scenic Capot Trail in Cape Breton, NS

  3. The recreation of Fortress Louisbourg, a National Historic Site, is another stop in Cape Breton well worth your time. Fortress Louisbourg and its larger settlement was established in 1713.  The British took it in 1758 after the Siege of Louisbourg.

    Fortress Louisbourg, two views

  4. The Joggins Fossil Cliffs at Joggins, NS, near Parrsboro, is another UNESCO Heritage Site. Fossils hundreds of millions of years old are uncovered by the force of the water caused by the world’s highest tides of the Bay of Fundy. Their Fossil Centre tells the full story.
  5. Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia, has many, many cultural, historical, and culinary treats in store for visitors. It is a major east coast seaport and was historically a main entry point to Canada for new immigrants and refugees.

    The magic of summer on the Boardwalk in Halifax

  6. The Halifax Explosion of 1917 (when two ships collided in the harbor, one filled with munitions for the WWI battlefields) was the world’s largest explosion before the atom bomb, and devastated a large part of the city.
  7. Perhaps that is why Halifax came to have more bars per capita than any other city in Canada! Or perhaps that is because there are so many university students per capita!!

There’s so much more I could share about this special region of Canada. I hope this brief glimpse into what awaits spurs you to put Canada’s Maritimes on your bucket list. Feel free to bombard me with questions!

Vive les maritimes!

Photo credits: Provincial Tourist Bureaus, CTV.com, Lunenburg Board of Trade

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10 Responses to Why you should visit Canada’s Maritime provinces

  1. alesiablogs says:

    What a beautiful report on the most wonderful of places to live! I almost want to move there! I love all the history you shared and all these photos are outstanding . The rain you got early in the year was I take it a fluke? Happy Summer to you! Alesia

    • Jane Fritz says:

      You mean the rain that comes down as beautiful white flakes?! No, that’s no fluke. It’s actually my favourite time of year, but harder to do touristy things then, except for museums, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling!

      • alesiablogs says:

        I am not a winter person as yourself. I would be if I could ski! Lol In regards to rain- it must have been a flood I am referring to? You had photos I am thinking about! 😌

        • Jane Fritz says:

          Lol. You’re right about the flood pictures. The flood comes when an enormous snowpack in the woods upriver from masses of heavy snow building up all winter melts within a relatively short period of time. A little rain just makes it that much worse, but it’s basically snowmelt. 😊🌨❄️☃️☀️

  2. barryh says:

    Great advert for the area. Vital information would be when not to go, due to cold weather!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Lol. That is pretty vital info, especially if you don’t like cold and LOTS of snow! June – mid-October are terrific, with mid-Sept – mid-Oct having spectacular displays of fall colours. May’s usually promising, but this year it rained most of the month and spring was late. For people who love the beauty of snow, cross-country skiing, and the drama of never knowing whether the weather will prevent travel, Dec-Mar or even early April are great months!

  3. We were lucky enough to do a Maritime trip a few years ago….you describe it all so beautifully.
    I have such fond memories. Even took the ferry over to Newfoundland.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      So glad to hear you made the entire Atlantic Canada tour. We don’t have the splendor of the scenery on the west coast, except maybe places like Gros Morne in Newfoundland; ours is more of a gentle beauty.

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