4 ways to explore and enjoy the cultural diversity of Atlantic Canada
Posted: March 06, 2023 | Word Count: 754
Whether you’re fascinated by culture and history or just enjoy adventures, there's plenty to explore in the four provinces of Atlantic Canada: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The area also boasts stunning natural beauty, from wooded mountains and fish-filled rivers to scenic hamlets and rugged coastlines.
Here are some enticing reasons to plan your next vacation in Atlantic Canada.
“C’est le fun” in New Brunswick
Rekindle your joie de vivre in New Brunswick, where Acadian culture is alive and well. Descendants of French settlers from the 17th-18th centuries, Acadians today speak French as their first language and celebrate their distinctive food, music and culture throughout the province. Discover historic sites, wineries, Acadian restaurants and quaint villages along 466 miles of the Acadian Coastal Drive — plus beautiful beaches and hiking trails. Love lobster? Visit Shediac, known as the Lobster Capital of The World.
Among living history museums like the Historic Acadian Village, a must-see summer attraction is Le Pays de la Sagouine, with entertainers based on characters from the acclaimed play “La Sagouine” by Acadian author Antoine Maillet. Consider timing your trip around Acadian Day, Aug. 15 — when people decked out in red, white and blue, painted faces and fancy hats celebrate Tintamarre, a big party with live music and fun for all ages.
Experience mindful moments in Newfoundland and Labrador
The rich natural resources nurtured distinct Indigenous groups: the Mi’kmaq, Innu and Inuit. Learn about their culture and history through immersive forest walks, boat tours, traditional food experiences and more.
Explore the stories and traditions of the Conne River and Mi'kmaw community on Newfoundland's south coast at a brand new exhibit at The Discovery Centre in Gros Morne National Park, “Miawpukek: The Middle River.” Then take a trip into the past at the Demasduit Regional Museum. Formerly known as the Mary March Museum, this important building has been renamed to replace Demasduit’s colonial name with her rightful Beothuk name. Demasduit is believed to be one of the last known Beothuk in Newfoundland and Labrador. You can learn her story and countless others here, spanning over 5,000 years of human history.
Discover Mekapisk with Gros Morne Adventures on a game trail, exploring plants and animals that sustained early human life. Try fire cooking bannock and roasting capelin as you gather around the fire to hear tales of triumphs and tragedies of Indigenous ancestors, or take a relaxed walking tour via Under the Stump to learn the Rita Rideout Story, describing the hardship, relocation program and family values of the Mi'kmaq people in this once-thriving community.
Move to the beat of a different drum on Nova Scotia
Drumming, dance and storytelling reveal the history of the Mi’kmaq People on Nova Scotia. Travel the picturesque 3.8-mile trail on Goat Island with Eskasoni Cultural Journeys, guided through villages by a Mi’kmaq cultural interpreter to learn their traditional way of life. Or time your visit when the Mi'kmaq People host the 2023 North American Indigenous Games, July 15-23 in Halifax, featuring canoeing/kayaking, lacrosse, rifle shooting, softball and more.
Nova Scotia was also home to early settlers from Scotland, bringing Gaelic language and culture with them. Enjoy fiddle and pipe music, dance and storytelling at a "kitchen party" (or "ceilidh"), then visit Highland Village in Iona, a living history museum honoring the language, history and living culture of Nova Scotia Gaels. Throughout 2023, the Town of Pictou commemorates the 250th anniversary of the arrival of Ship Hector from Scotland, when its passengers endured a harrowing 11-week voyage to start a new life in a new land.
Life is a song on Prince Edward Island
Music is a way of life for people who make Prince Edward Island (PEI) home, and they tell their stories in memorable — and toe-tapping — ways.
Love country and folk music? Experience the songs of Stompin’ Tom Connors (1936-2013) at the Stompin' Tom Centre in Skinner's Pond. Known for his signature black Stetson and cowboy boots, Connors memorialized Canadian culture through songs about everyday people, places and pastimes. Or come to the Cavendish Beach Music Festival July 6-8, which showcases the roots of Island culture and hospitality. This year marks the 11th anniversary of the venue, with headliner Chris Stapleton.
If Celtic music gets your toes tapping, enjoy the sounds, dancing and musical storytelling of PEI's Celtic tradition at the College of Piping and Performing Arts Centre, plus listening halls such as Trailside Music Hall and Festival of Small Halls.
Plan your adventure at VisitAtlanticCanadaNow.com.