A guide to Nova Scotia’s 5 UNESCO World Heritage Designated Sites

Nova Scotia is a Canadian province that is rich in culture, history, and breath-taking landscapes. So it comes as little surprise that the province – which is only 55,284 square kilometres – is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Here’s a quick overview of each of them.

The Landscape of Grand Pré

Located beside the world-famous Bay of Fundy (where you can witness the world’s highest tides) you’ll find The Landscape of Grand Pré. The landscape is so beautiful, the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s chose the scenic landscape as the setting for his narrative poem Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie.

Within this 13 square-kilometre site you’ll find acres of tended farmland that pay tribute to the dyke system first built by 17th-century Acadian settlers. Then at the Grand Pré National Historic Site, you can learn about the Acadian Deportation.

Old Town Lunenburg

Lunenburg was one of the British’s earliest attempts to build a Protestant town in Nova Scotia, and is still the best example of planned British colonial settlement in North America. It has maintained its original layout and appearance, which includes charming colourful wooden houses.

It was traditionally a fishing port, and you can learn about Nova Scotia’s maritime history at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. Here you’ll find wharf-side vessels and their extraordinary aquarium, and the famous Bluenose II, a replica of the original world-famous racing schooner.

Joggins Fossil Cliffs

At first glance, you might think that Joggins Fossil Cliffs made the list due to their picturesque appearance. But etched into the cliff sides you’ll find the world’s most complete record of life in the Carboniferous era. Plants, footprints, insects and the ancestors of the dinosaurs are all represented in the fossil record. You can also stop by the interpretive centre that showcases fossils of plant and animal life.

Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve

Surrounded by rolling hills and dotted with islands, the Bras d’Or Lake UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the heart of Cape Breton Island. The waterways here are a lovely blend of salt and fresh water, making it a great wildlife viewing point (including the bald eagle to grey seals). Culturally, the area has also been inhabited by Mi’kmaw First Nations and descendants from early French, Scottish, and English settlers.

Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve

On top of being one of the largest biosphere reserves in Canada, The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve is recognisable worldwide for its unique natural biodiversity and cultural treasures. The Biosphere Reserve’s “core protected area” includes Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site, the Dark Sky Preserve and Starlight Zone, and the Tobeatic Wilderness Area.  The animals found in the reserve include moose, trout and eagle, and several endangered species including many rare plants, Southern flying squirrel and Blanding’s turtle

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