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Nova Scotia’s Acadia: The Cradle of the First Francophones of North America!

It is in Nova Scotia that the first Francophones of the New World will establish themselves in the year 1605. After a disastrous attempt on St. Croix Island in 1604, Pierre Du Gua Sieur De Monts and Samuel de Champlain build in Port Royal the first permanent homesteads in North America. The Acadians, the most ingenious farmers, settle on the lowlands of the Baie Française (Bay of Fundy). To dry them, they build dykes and aboiteaux (wooden sluice), a device that allows the drainage of the land while preventing the flood of these by the salt water of the tides. This practice would earn them the nickname of “défricheurs d’eau”: those who reclaim land from the sea. By occupying these low lands, the Acadians do not bother the Mi'kmaq hunting and fishing territories; the indigenous people with whom they befriend each other.

Prosperity, independence, desolation and rebirth will have marked our history in turn. The refusal of our people to take sides in the territorial disputes between France and England will have had serious consequences. Leading to the deportation of our ancestors, one of the most painful episodes of our past, but also later, to a subsequent rebirth that will give birth to contemporary Acadia.

The way of life of our communities has since then changed, but not the warmth of our human relationships and the spirit of mutual aid that characterizes us; a tribute of the ties of kinship that unite us. Nowadays agriculture practiced by our ancestors has been replaced by fishing activities. Today's Acadian Nova Scotia: About 36,000 Francophones live in five major coastal regions of Nova Scotia.

The geographic isolation of our communities has favored the emergence of an Acadian language that differs somewhat from one region to another. Each of them has local expressions and their own pronunciation for several words of our French dialect. A large majority of them go back to our French origins of the 17th century.

It is this Cradle of Acadia that invites you to live unique and attractive experiences, discovering its culture through its cuisine, traditions, music, language, history and natural environment; a colorful adventure guaranteeing the creation of unforgettable memories.

Let us guide your discovery by suggesting a great tour that will take you to our Acadian settlements in the regions of: Clare, Par-en-Bas (Argyle), Chéticamp, Isle Madame, and Pomquet. Your trip could not be complete without a visit to Grand-Pré National Historic Sites and the Fortress of Louisbourg; two faithful witnesses of our past.

To make your stay in our province easier, obtain these two essential travel companions: the provincial "Doers and dreamers guide’’ and the Nova Scotia tourist map, or online.

The main point of entry by road travel into Nova Scotia via New Brunswick is the municipality of Amherst. Ferries also connect to the provincial road network from the following points of entry: Digby, Yarmouth, North Sydney and Sydney. Finally, Robert L. Stanfield International Airport in Halifax is the hub for regional and international flights to Atlantic Canada.