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Although Canada is considered a relatively young country in an official sense, Canada celebrates its 153rd birthday in 2021, but it has been around a lot longer with indigenous peoples and other settlers living there long before that.
The rich history, culture and the past has been preserved and is showcased through artefacts, architecture and other natural relics across the country. The historical sites and attractions highlight the lives of indigenous people, Vikings, dinosaurs and other early settlers to visitors.
Whilst we may not be able to visit these historic attractions at the moment because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions in place, we can still plan our next holiday to Canada and the places we want to see.
With this in mind, we take you through some of the historic attractions you should visit after lockdown. It doesn’t matter whether you are visiting with your children on family holidays to Canada or you are heading here as a couple, these attractions should be on your to-visit list.
Best historic attractions to visit in Canada after the lockdown
•Dinosaur Provincial Park
•L’Anse aux Meadows
•Fortress of Louisbourg
Dinosaur Provincial Park
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is located in the south of Alberta, is world-renowned for being home to hundreds of dinosaur skeletons and is certainly a place you should add to your bucket list of places to visit once the lockdown restrictions have been eased.
There have been over 150 dinosaur skeletons and more than 50 species that have been unearthed in Dinosaur Provincial Park and what is even more amazing is the fact that you can see them. There are specialist guided hikes that you can join and as they are led by experts, it is your best chance of seeing fossils in the wild.
Talking about her experience of visiting the park, Taylor, who runs the Taylor On A Trip blog, said: “At the park, you’ll find striking beauty, dinosaur fossils, tons of badlands history, and incredible photo opportunities.
“In my humble opinion, Dinosaur Provincial Park is one of the most beautiful parks in all of the Alberta Badlands.
“My brother and I were completely wowed by what we found at Dinosaur Provincial Park, both from a historical and scenic perspective. That said, while we took just a day trip to the park, knowing what I do now I’d definitely plan to camp overnight and have two full days to spend in the area — there’s a lot to see.”
READ MORE: Must-visit provincial parks near Calgary
Province: British Columbia
Ninstints or SGang Gwaay as it is also known locally is situated on the Haida Gwaii Islands along the west coast of British Columbia.
This iconic historical site is home to memorial poles, the remains of houses and a carved mortuary which all date back to the First Nations Haida people.
If you decide to head here after the lockdown you will learn about the lives of the Haida people and get an insight into how they lived and some of their traditions such as why the memorial poles face the ocean.
Leigh McAdam is the award-winning travel blogger behind Hike Bike Travel and she has visited the Ninstints in British Columbia.
She tells us a bit about her experience at this historic attraction: “Over several hours we learned about Haida life, their strong oral traditions, and the smallpox that decimated the population. We also heard about how the Longhouses were built and why certain poles – both memorial and mortuary – were erected. I wish I’d had a recorder with me so I could remember everything.
“I think all of us came away with a new appreciation for Haida culture and especially all that the Haida people have endured. Kudos to the Haida Watchmen for bringing their history alive.”
L’Anse aux Meadows
Province: Newfoundland & Labrador
L’Anse aux Meadows is located at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland and it is one of the most historic places you can visit in Canada.
Long before Christopher Columbus boarded a ship, the Vikings sailed across the Atlantic and arrived in North America and evidence can be found at L’Anse aux Meadows. The site is the remains of an 11th-century Viking settlement and it is believed to be one of the first examples of a European presence in North America. The wood-framed peat-turf buildings that remain are similar to those found in Norse Greenland and Iceland.
The significance of the site was confirmed when it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Alongside the structures you will also be able to see artefacts such as a sharpening stone and objects related to iron smithing on display.
Fortress of Louisbourg
Province: Nova Scotia
Located on the island of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, the Fortress of Louisbourg was founded in 1713 by the French and was developed by them over several decades to become a thriving centre for trade. It was fortified to guard against the British and was besieged twice before eventually being destroyed in the 1760s.
The site lay untouched for many years until archaeologists began to reconstruct the fortress back into its former glory in the 18th century and it is now North America’s largest historical reconstruction.
A visit to the fortress will give you phenomenal insight into what life was like in the 1700s as there are a number of displays, a restaurant serving traditional food from that period and interpreters in costume that can tell you a tale or two.
Vanessa, the creator, head writer, and social media curator at Turnipseed Travel, and her partner Ryan, who is Turnipseed Travel’s editor and occasional photographer, speak about their experience of visiting the Fortress of Louisbourg in their blog.
“It’s never a great idea to provoke an armed guard, but when you visit Fortress Louisbourg National Historic Site in Nova Scotia, Canada, dramatic flair is all part of the experience. Louisbourg has been described as the jewel of all Canadian historic sites – an apt term, considering how precious the fortress was to the French.”
Parliament Hill in Ottawa is certainly one place you should visit after lockdown if you want to learn more about Canada’s history. It is the jewel in the crown of downtown Ottawa and the political heart of the country.
Not only can you learn more about Canadian politics during a visit here, but you can marvel at the Gothic revival architecture of the three buildings that house Canada’s government that have stunning views over the Ottawa River.
Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, the site was a military base and it wasn’t until 1859 following Queen Victoria choosing Ottawa as the national capital that it was developed into a governmental precinct.
While the politicians’ debate within the building you can go on a free guided tour and learn more about the history of Canada and these spectacular gothic buildings.
READ MORE: 48 hours in Ottawa
If you are a history buff or you are just looking for inspiration of attractions you would like to visit on future Canada holidays, these historical places are ones you should look to visit on a trip to the country once the lockdown has ended and the travel restrictions are eased.