National Geographic : 1975 Apr
Nova Scotia. Parts are more Scottish than Scotland. You'll feel the strength of the Scottish heritage over most of Cape Breton, where Gaelic is still a living language, and in Pictou and Antigonish coun ties, where the clans gather every summer for traditional Highland Games and Festival. And you'll understand why the Scots fell in love with Nova Scotia, when you drive around Cape Breton and the magnifi cent Cabot Trail. The specta cular seascapes and the timbered mountains of Cape Breton Highlands National Park are uncannily like the home they left. Stop at Ingonish to play the superb Cape Breton Highlands Golf Links and to sample the fishing; at lona to visit the High land Village Museum; and in the beautiful Bras d'Or Lake area for sailing, beaches, and a visit to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, packed with : models and drawings of his many inventions. Stop, too, to see the great Fortress of Louisbourg. The French began building it in 1720 (long before the Scots arrived) and by the time they were finished it was a 100-acre walled city. Louisbourg was twice captured and finally demolished. Now, with the original plans as a guide, it's being carefully rebuilt. You can tour the sumptuously-fur nished Chateau, visit the mu seum and watch archeologists digging in the ruins of buildings not yet restored. The British built the Citadel at Halifax to offset the French power at Louisbourg. It sits 270 feet above one of the world's great harbours (which you can cruise on the schooner Bluenose II) overlooking a city that's as famous for its gourmet seafood as it is for its delightful parks, its fine museums and art galleries. Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia, and together with its sister city of Dartmouth is the largest metropolitan area in Atlantic Canada. But in spite of its commercial importance, its bright lights and busy night life, it's managed to retain a good deal of small-town charm. You can hear band concerts in the tree-shaded Public Gardens Feel the past at Fortress Louis bourg, where the British andFrench battled for control of the Atlantic coast. Pipes skirl and highlanders dance at the Antigonish Highland Games, Nova Scotia. and a booming cannon that's marked the noon-hour every day since 1749. And you can picnic, swim and hike miles of nature trails in a downtown paradise called Point Pleasant Park. Close to Halifax is Peggy's Cove which may qualify as the most photographed and painted village on the continent. A little further along the coast is Oak Island (near Mahone Bay) where people have been search ing for Captain Kidd's legendary treasure since 1796. (You can tour the Island and see the old and new diggings.) Further still is Lunenburg, which was set tled by Swiss and German im migrants and became the most famous shipbuilding centre in the New World, and Shelburne, founded in 1783 by a group of United Empire Loyalists. The whole coastline of Nova Scotia is a fabulous holiday playground, with fine sand beaches, with delightful towns and villages where you can charter boats for sailing and salt water fishing-, with golf courses and handcraft centres, and with plenty of opportunities for excit ing scuba diving in the clean, clear waters. Inland, the rich orchards of the Annapolis Valley stretch for miles across the centre of the province. There you'll find quiet villages and historic sites, including the cannon-ringed Habitation at Port Royal Nation al Park, a re-creation of the settlement built by the French explorer Champlain in 1605, fifteen years before the May flower landed at Plymouth Rock.