From coast to coast, these uniquely Canadian historic sites prove there’s more to our country’s past than fur trading and Original Six hockey.
RED BAY, NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
This mainland town dates back to the 16th century, when its coast was patrolled by Spanish galleons hunting then-abundant right and bowhead whales.
COMMONWEALTH AIR TRAINING PLAN MUSEUM, MANITOBA
This Brandon museum showcases planes and artifacts linked to the more than 130,000 pilots and aircrew who trained in Canada during WWII. Guests can even book a flight in a plane from the era.
MEDALTA POTTERIES, ALBERTA
Medicine Hat’s natural gas reserves and railway lines made it a turn-of-the-century boomtown. Today, the restored kilns and warehouses of Medalta Potteries tell how the city grew alongside one of its stalwart industries: brick, tile and ceramics manufacturing.
METEPENAGIAG HERITAGE PARK, NEW BRUNSWICK
A guided tour serves up 3,000 years of Mi’kmaq culture alongside a traditional meal with cedar tea. Or enjoy campfire stories before tucking into a tipi for the night.
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FATHOM FIVE NATIONAL MARINE PARK, ONTARIO
Twenty-two historic shipwrecks lie waiting to be explored by divers who plumb the depths of Lake Huron. Topside, the rugged topography is uniquely challenging for hikers.
GROSSE ÎLE, QUEBEC
A quarantine station for immigrants from 1832 to 1937, it has many harrowing stories—none more so than those of the Irish citizens who, in 1847, fled the Great Famine, only to die of typhus and malnutrition. More than 5,000 of them are buried on the island. Despite its tragic past, Grosse Île is also a reminder of immigration’s continued role in Canada’s development.
There are still bullet holes in the rectory at the site of the 1885 North-West Rebellion’s decisive battle. The former Métis settlement reveals Francophone and Indigenous history on the prairies, and the early challenges of forging a united Canada.
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GRAND-PRÉ, NOVA SCOTIA
This epicentre of 18th-century Acadian culture was a focal point of British efforts to oust French settlers from North America. Visitors learn of the settlers and their expulsion from Nova Scotia, and can see the statue of Evangeline from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem.
SGANG GWAAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Visiting this Haida Gwaii island isn’t easy, but it’s worth it to see 30-plus sacred totem poles. They’re the remnants of a community decimated by diseases brought by 19th-century European fur traders.
FARMERS’ BANK OF RUSTICO, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Between 1864 and 1894, farmers arranged for loans at this Georgian-style building. Canada’s first community-based bank, it was a notable precursor to modern-day credit unions.
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