Grand Pre, Nova Scotia
UPDATED APRIL 12, 2018
This week we’re enjoying Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, a World UNESCO site. Welcome to week 364 (12/04/2018) of Travel Photo Thursday. Originally posted in week 174 of Travel Photo Thursday, the post is now up-to-date for 2018.
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Grand Pre, Nova Scotia was awarded a World UNESCO designation (Landscape of Grand Pre) in 2012. Less than a two-hour drive from Halifax, it’s a perfect day trip. I visited in 2012 and again in 2013. Now updated to 2018. Enjoy the photo essay I created from those two visits, and the information you’ll need for a 2018 visit.
Situated in the southern Minas Basin of Nova Scotia, the Grand Pré marshland and archaeological sites constitute a cultural landscape bearing testimony to the development of agricultural farmland using dykes and the aboiteau wooden sluice system, started by the Acadians in the 17th century and further developed and maintained by the Planters and present-day inhabitants. Over 1,300 ha, the cultural landscape encompasses a large expanse of polder farmland and archaeological elements of the towns of Grand Pré and Hortonville, which were built by the Acadians and their successors. The landscape is an exceptional example of the adaptation of the first European settlers to the conditions of the North American Atlantic coast. The site – marked by one of the most extreme tidal ranges in the world, averaging 11.6 m – is also inscribed as a memorial to the Acadian way of life and deportation, which started in 1755, known as the Grand Dérangement.
We began our visit at the modern interpretive centre, which provides visitors with a detailed history of the Acadians and their 1755 expulsion.
Landscape of Grand Pre
Inside you will learn the history of the Acadians and why they were ultimately expelled from Acadie; later to become Nova Scotia.
The Acadians ended up in many of the New England States, and as far away as Louisiana.
Acadian farmer at work. The Acadian farms were built on dikes, and you’ll learn all about how these dikes were constructed.
The Great Expulsion or Le Grande Derangement began on August 11th, 1755.
Be sure to watch the 20-minute film before leaving the visitor’s centre. The movie is a historically accurate 3D portrayal of why the Acadians were expelled, and the dramatic events leading up to their expulsion, not only from Nova Scotia but Canada.
The Coles Note version of why the Acadians were expelled is that although they signed an oath of allegiance to the British Crown in 1730, they refused to fight or pick up arms against the French, or the native Indians. By 1755 this refusal to bear arms was no longer acceptable to the British, and the expulsion began. Between 1755 and 1763, more than 10,000 Acadians were deported. Here’s a detailed history and timeline.
A short walk from the visitors’ centre brings you to the statue of Evangeline and the memorial church. Along the way, you’ll pass these bronze sculptures titled “Deportation”.
Most of this history was “forgotten” until Henry Longsworth Longfellow published his epic poem “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie”, in 1847. The poem is a story of the expulsion of the Acadians from Acadie and is one of loss and devotion. The poem sealed Longfellow’s fate as the most famous writer in America. Set primarily in Nova Scotia and Louisiana, the poem has had a significant cultural impact on these regions. You can read all 50 pages of Evangeline here.
The world-famous statue of Longfellow’s Evangeline…
The Memorial Church of Grand Pre is a tribute to the men who were held as prisoners, while they waited for the deportation ships to arrive.
Beautiful stained glass in the church…
Dikes were built to hold back the waters of the Minas Basin, and these farms are still in operation today. You can watch the men working using traditional methods from long ago. Somehow I don’t think they farm with equipment from the 1700s every day!
In 2018 Acadian Day celebrations will be held on Wednesday, August 15th. Check out the complete schedule here.
Acadian Day celebrations 2013…
I had no idea that the Acadian Day celebrations were happening on the day that I visited in 2013. I was able to score a delicious lunch of traditional
Rappie Pie (or Rapure). In French, “rapure” means grated, and the main ingredient is grated potatoes. If you ever have the opportunity to try this pie, don’t miss out. It really is fabulous. I was able to buy a half portion for about three bucks! I’m sure Rappie Pie will be available at the 2018 festivities.
If you want to try your hand at making rappie pie, check this out.
UPDATED 2018 HOURS OF OPERATION AND ENTRANCE FEES
Hours of operation for the 2018 season…
May 18th – October 8th, 2018
-7 days a week
-9 am to 5 pm
-Adult: $7.80; Senior: $6.55 (60+); Youth: FREE (17 and Under)
How to get to Grand Pre
From Halifax take Highway 101 to Exit 10 towards Wolfville. Follow Route 1 in a westerly direction for one kilometre, then turn right (head north) for another kilometre on the Grand-Pré Road. The drive is under 2 hours, and there is great signage.
Give yourself a few hours to see everything (a full morning or afternoon is perfect). There’s lots of free parking right at the Visitor’s Center. It does get busy on the weekend, so you may find yourself in the overflow parking, a short walk down the road.
Have you ever visited Grand Pre, Nova Scotia?
Were you lucky enough to score some delicious rappie pie?
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This is the 174th edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.