UNESCO World Heritage Site: Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

Posted by on Apr 12, 2018 in Canada, Destinations, Featured, Nova Scotia, Travel Photo Thursday | 64 comments

Grand Pre, Nova Scotia 


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.

Sourced from UNESCO.ORG

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.


UNESCO Site : Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

Landscape of Grand Pre

UNESCO Site : Grand Pre, Nova Scotia



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. 


UNESCO site: Grand Pre, Nova Scotia


 Acadian farmer at work. The Acadian farms were built on dikes, and you’ll learn all about how these dikes were constructed.


UNESCO site: Grand Pre, Nova Scotia


The  Great Expulsion or  Le Grande Derangement began on August 11th, 1755. 


UNESCO Site: Grand Pre, Nova Scotia


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”.


UNESCO site: Grand Pre, Nova Scotia


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…


UNESCO Site: Grand Pre, Nova Scotia


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. 


UNESCO Site: Grand Pre, Nova Scotia


Beautiful stained glass in the church…


Stained Glass Window, Chapel, Grand-Pré, Nova ScotiaPhoto Credit: Charles Hoffman via Flickr.com


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!


Harvesting the Hay in Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

Dyked Farm Land at Grand Pre, Nova Scotia
In 2018 Acadian Day celebrations will be held on Wednesday, August 15th. Check out the complete schedule here

Acadian Day celebrations 2013…


Acadian Day Celebrations, 2013 -- Grand Pre, Nova Scotia


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. 


Rappie Pie (Grand Pre, Nova Scotia)



If you want to try your hand at making rappie pie, check this out


Travelers Tip


Hours of operation for the 2018 season…

May 18th – October 8th, 2018

-7 days a week

-9 am to 5 pm

Entrance Fees

-Adult: $7.80; Senior: $6.55 (60+); Youth: FREE (17 and Under) 

Full list of fees

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.


Grand Pre National Historic Site of Canada


Have you ever visited Grand Pre, Nova Scotia?

Were you lucky enough to score some delicious rappie pie?

You may also like Nova Scotia Heritage Day 2018.


Please welcome our co-hosts this week:  Ruth from Tanama Tales  Rachel from Rachel’s Ruminations


You can browse the Travel Photo Thursday archives here.


Please share using the share buttons at the top or bottom. Much appreciated!

Budget Travelers Sandbox

This is the 174th edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.

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  1. A fascinating and sometimes brutal history it seems – were the expelled people ever able to come back? It would be so interesting to visit on Acadia Day! Thanks for taking us along. Happy travels and thanks for keeping Travel Photo Thursday alive.

  2. Hi Jill, The British let some return, beginning in 1764. However, they didn’t necessarily come back to Grand Pre.

  3. How fortunate that you went on the day of the celebrations, Nancie. Very fascinating history. I’d love to visit Grand Pre. Thanks for the virtual tour.

    • Hi Marcia! Yes, it was a lot of fun, and of course lots of great food!

  4. This was such a sad but also interesting part of history. Grand Pre looks like a charming town and a lovely place to visit. How lucky for you to have been there during the celebration. That Memorial Church is stunning. I have never heard of Rappie Pie and it looks delicious.

    • Hi Mary, Rappie pie is delicious. My brother married into a French family from Nova Scotia (probably Acadian), so Rappie pie is also a family tradition at Christmas time.

  5. It is a shame that the Acadian’s were expulsed for refusing to bear arms. History is full of such stories. It is wonderful the story is not forgotten and is marked with a UNESCO listing. How freakish that you turned up on the exact day of the celebrations. I am pretty sure I would love the pie too. Anything with potatoes is delicious 🙂

    • Hi Jan! I’m a big fan of potatoes, too. The Acadians went through a lot because of the British.

  6. Amazing what history shows us and yet it seems we never learn from its lessons. . . Beautiful photos Nancie, that church looks like something out of a fairy tale. And of course, I would have enjoyed some of that pie!!

    • Hi Jackie. You are so right, hundreds of years later and we are still going to war! The church does have a magical quality.

  7. Fascinating – but sad – history. It would be a really interesting place to visit, if a little sobering. And the pie looks amazing! Definitely one to try 🙂

    • Hi Molly! I find that I get caught up in the beauty of the area, and that helps temper the sad events!

  8. looks like an interesting place to visit and an interesting and deep history too. I love the memorial church.

    • Hi Rachel, Yes, the history is fascinating and the entire area is beautiful.

  9. I love that church!! I think though that I would want to be there on a quieter day.

    • Hi Cindy…It is very peaceful when there isn’t an event, like Acadian Days, going on. Then again, I would have missied out on the rappie pie!!

  10. Last year I spent a few nights in Wolfville so I headed out to Grand Pre for part of a day. I was disappointed in the government – as it was late June and the park wasn’t open on Mondays or Tuesdays – or whatever day I was there. It is an awesome site and I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to go inside.
    On a different note I love the fact that so many wineries have popped up around Grand Pre.

    • Hi Leigh! Sorry to hear that you didn’t get to explore. The Nova Scotia government is living in a time warp when it comes to this. The season is short. I can’t understand why Grand Pre isn’t open every day during the season. I am sure there a lot of people in the area that would love the work!

      I agree, the wineries in the area are great!

  11. Growing up just a couple hours drive away from Louisiana, I knew that the Cajuns are descended from the Acadians who moved to Louisiana from Canada. However, I never knew the Canadian part of their history, why they moved, and that it wasn’t voluntary. I commend the Acadians for standing firm in their beliefs and not taking up arms. As French speakers, I assume they felt more allegiance to the French than to the British who ruled over them. Grand Pre looks like a fantastic place to delve deeper into Acadian history… and enjoy some of that excellent looking Rappie Pie.

    • Hi Michele, I also think the Acadians just wanted peace. They also refused to take up arms against the local Mi’kmaq. I’d love to have a piece of that pie right now!

  12. That stain glass window is exquisite. Thanks for hosting again this week!

    • Hi Keryn…It is pretty, isn’t it? Thanks for linking up this week 🙂

  13. Interesting piece of history and a very nice museum. Thank you for this history lesson.

    • Hi! Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  14. so sad they were deported because they didn’t want to fight 🙁 human beings can be… Mean…

    I love Nova Scotia’s architecture. Do you happen to know if they are inspired by the French or…?

    -Maria Alexandra

    • Hi Maria…I think our architecture is more inspired by the English than the French. The two countries fought for Nova Scotia and England was the victor. If you ever get to Halifax, you’ll see a lot of Victorian architecture.

  15. What beautiful photos and it looks like you chose a perfect time of year for your visit!

    • Hi Irene! July is a great time of the year to visit Nova Scotia. Usually, our cold, wet spring is history, and the skies are blue and the sun is shining!

  16. Nancie, thanks for sharing your impressions of this unusual UNESCO site. Admittedly I didn’t know much about the French colonists who settled in the area, or their tragic history. But Grand Pre definitely seems to be not only a great place learn more about the Acadians, but also about the history of Nova Scotia…

    • Hi Dennis! Nova Scotia has quite a history with the English and the French fighting for control. Although the English won, there is still a significant French influence in some parts of Nova Scotia even today.

  17. Very sad times for the Acadians – I had no idea this had happened. I love your then and now photo.

    • Hi Suzanne! Thank you. Strange how history keeps repeating itself. There always seems to be a group somewhere that is being persecuted.

  18. What great news that Grand Pre NS was designated a UNESCO world heritage site! I visited it several years ago while on a walking tour of Nova Scotia and was touched by the poignant history of the site. You’d done a beautiful job capturing its spirit in photos and text.

    • Hi Michele! You did a walking tour of Nova Scotia, wow! Was it a group tour, or did you do it independently?

      • Nancie, It was a walking tour with Scott Walking Adventures – unfortunately I think they’ve since closed but was a wonderful way to explore Nova Scotia in 5 days.

  19. I fell in love with Nova Scotia when we spent time there years ago. My mother was a big fan of Longfellow and Evangeline. She would have loved this.

    • Hi Billie! Nova Scotia is a beautiful part of the world. We’re so isolated, but always worth the trip. I’m glad you enjoyed your time there.

  20. Good tip on watching the video beforehand at the visitor’s center! I forget to do this a lot, but when I do always walk away from the site/memorial/museum with so much more knowledge!

    • Hi Jess! I know what you mean. This video is exceptionally good, so you wouldn’t want to miss it!

  21. Growing up and living in the prairies, I have heard and learned little about Acadian history. It’s a shame. I also have never heard of Rappie pie. It sounds worth a try, although the recipe looks more involved than I want to tackle. I’ll will keep Grand Pre in mind the next time I visit Nova Scotia.

    • Hi Donna, Grand Pre is definitely a great day trip, and it’s a beautiful area to explore.

  22. That pie is enough to make me want to visit! The history is fascinating, and I loved seeing all your photos.

    • Hi Lois! Thanks for your kind words. Definitely, don’t miss the pie!

  23. I don’t know anything about Canadian history. What a sad, but fascinating tale, and how wonderful that the story is kept alive in such a respectful and interesting way – and that pie does look great!

    • Hi Jo. Glad you enjoyed a little piece of Nova Scotia history. The pie lives on!

  24. I have always been curious about Nova Scotia and I feel like I just went on a mini tour with your photos. They are stunning!

    • Hi Michelle,

      So glad you enjoyed the post. Nova Scotia is a stunning part of the world. Well worth the effort it can take to actually get there!

  25. I’ve never been to Nova Scotia and an so impressed with the beauty of the area that you captured so well. What an interesting and sad history of a time so long ago

    • Hi Neva! Nova Scotia is a beautiful part of the world. We’re off the beaten path, but so worth the time to get there.

  26. What a great place to visit.

    • Hi, Jim.

      It really is, plus there is so much to see around Grand Pre as well. A person could happily spend a few days.

  27. I’ve never been to Nova Scotia, but it does look very quaint and picturesque.

    • Hi, Ericka.

      I was born and raised here, so I’m biased, but I have to agree with you. I hope you get the opportunity to visit sometime.

  28. So interesting to read my comment here from almost 4 years ago 🙂 This would be such an interesting place to visit and I’ll be sure to have that rappie pie.

    • HaHa Mary! Maybe you’ll have made it to Grand Pre before the next update of this post. 🙂

  29. I find Acadian culture so fascinating. I’d love to visit and experience it in person.

  30. Looks like a fascinating place to visit. And a great place to visit in one day from where you live. bonus. Happy travels and thank you again for the linkup.

    • Hi Jill. Thanks for linking up and leaving a comment. I pass the exit to GrandPre every week when I drive to Halifax to visit my Dad. They aren’t open for the season yet. I’m looking forward to going there this year. I think they change the exhibits from time to time.

  31. I was unaware of this area until your post. The history of the Acadians and their expulsion is interesting. An 11.6m tidal range is hard to imagine (my local bay is less than 3m).

    • Hi Rhonda,

      The tides here can be amazing. Around the last full moon, we had a lot of rain and the tides were high enough to look like they’d spill over. The Acadian expulsion is an interesting part of our history.

  32. This was fascinating, Nancie. Your post inspired me to look up the Acadians on Wikipedia where I disappeared down the rabbit hole and learned more about this group. It was also interesting to learn about Longfellow’s “Evangeline’ and the tie-in to the Acadians. Thanks!

    • Hi Anita. I’m happy you enjoyed the post. Our Acadian roots are so interesting, and the history is not well-known. Thanks for dropping by.

  33. I never knew this piece of history! I bet the British crown regretted the expulsion a few decades later when the American Revolution happened and these displaced people supported the rebels!

    • Hi Rachel. I never thought of that. Good point!


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