Small, but mighty
Annapolis Royal makes list of top 22 small towns to visit in Canada
When freelance writer Lisa van de Geyn put together her list of ‘20+ Small Towns to Visit in Canada Now’ for Canadian Living, she included Annapolis Royal for a variety of reasons, including its history, culture, and that it’s a hot spot for the arts.
“The slower pace in these 22 Canadian towns is perfect for those trips that demand exploration and relaxation,” she said in the Dec. 12 article that also includes Pictou, N.S. in its list of great little communities.
“It’s always exciting when someone else sees the town you live in in the way that you see it,” said Mayor Bill MacDonald, “rich in history, culture, and a quality of life that’s remarkable.”
While van de Geyn is also a champion of the bigger, bustling cities, she’s obviously discovered the pluses of the intimacy of small places.
“But there’s something to be said for those smaller places - the towns, villages, hamlets … where there are fewer folks and not as many takeout options but still plenty to offer,” she said in the story. “We picked some of our favourites that are full of personality, history, small- town hospitality, and stunning landscapes with gems to discover.”
MacDonald knows some of those places and certainly doesn’t dispute her choices.
“I’ve been to a number of those other small towns,” said MacDonald. “My heart belongs to Annapolis Royal but all of the communities that have been identified are special in their own way.”
He said every community should be proud of its history and the citizens of every one of those communities identified in that group can feel very, very proud.
“I’ve been to most of those communities and they truly are special in their own right,” he said, “and worth a visit.”
In a brief thumbnail sketch of Annapolis Royal, van de Geyn said to go there for the history.
“Canadian history buffs, this one is for you,” she said in the article. “This designated National Historic District is often called ‘ Canada’s birthplace’ - it was the home of the Mi’kmaq before the 1600s, when early settlers from Europe arrived. There are more than 130 historic buildings, homes and other sites, including Canada’s oldest house on Canada’s oldest street. The town also has a pretty happening culture scene and is a favourite place to visit among artists, performers, and craftspeople.”
“The Town of Annapolis Royal and King’s Theatre, Parks Canada, all public events recognize that we are on … ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq people and that they occupied those lands for millennia before Europeans arrived,” MacDonald said, pleased that van de Geyn included mention of those who first lived here, “and we share the land with them and we recognize their significance.”
Fort Anne National Historic Site is the iconic photo of Annapolis Royal, a town steeped in history, culture, and the arts. The author of Canadian Living’s ‘20+ Small Towns to Visit in Canada Now’ cited those qualities when she included Nova Scotia’s smallest town on that list.