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Annapolis Royal, NS
ANNAPOLIS Royal’s history spans four centuries, time enough to have racked up a number of New World and Canadian firsts, notes the 14th edition of Fodor’s Nova Scotia & Atlantic Canada.
The Nova Scotia town, 200 kilometres northwest of Halifax, was founded by the French in 1605, two years before the English established Jamestown in Virginia, making it the continent’s first permanent European settlement north of Florida. It has more than 150 historic sites and heritage buildings, many on St. George, Canada’s oldest street. Among them is the DeGannes-Cosby House, still privately owned, built in 1708 and the oldest wooden house in Canada.
Port Royal, where a reconstruction of the French trading post from 1605 is now a national historic site, claims several North American firsts: first tended crops, first staged play, first social club, first water mill.
There’s also Fort Anne, another national historic site, which qualifies as “the most attacked spot in Canada” thanks to the to-ing and fro-ing the French and English did over this region for more than a century. A small museum at the fort helps visitors understand the history; for a better guide to who took what from whom when, members of the Historical Association of Annapolis Royal, dressed in 18th-century costumes, will be happy to walk you through the town and its past. They also offer a “wildly popular” Candlelight Graveyard Tour of Canada’s oldest English cemetery (at Fort Anne) from early June through mid-October. www.tourannapolisroyal.com.
For those who prefer self-guided tours, the association has also put together a pamphlet.
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