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National historic sites in Canada you need to visit before 35


There are more than 970 National Historic Sites in Canada. There are cultural, historical, and natural sites all of which have their special importance to Canada. Although we can’t cover them all, here are a few of our favourites from across the country!

Cave and Basin

Located in Canada’s first national park – Banff National Park – the Cave and Basin is a natural thermal spring cave at Sulphur Mountain. There’s been evidence that the springs were used by people thousands of years ago. However they weren’t officially open to the public until the 17th century! I think you’ll agree that the Cave and Basin is a feast for the eyes. So on your next journey through Banff don’t forget to stop by.


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Fortress of Louisbourg

Located along Cape Breton’s shoreline, the Fortress of Louisbourg was super important in the 18th century. After the French discovered Louisbourg, they thought it would be the perfect spot to set-up shop for their fishing and trade needs. During the war between France and Britain, the Fortress served as a defense base for the French. There is so much more history to the area that you’ll have to visit it for yourself to learn more! These days you don’t have to worry about invaders, so you can walk freely through this historical site.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park is a 1,001 acre public park situated in downtown Vancouver. It’s original purpose was to serve as a military fortification to protect Vancouver’s harbour from invaders. Today the park serves as a forest oasis perfect to escape the hustle of the city. The trees here are hundreds of years old with some standing 75 metres tall! Locals and visitors alike enjoy the park year-round for it’s beaches, trails, and green space. The area is home to the Vancouver Seawall too – the perfect route for a summer cycle.

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Halifax Citadel

Originally built in 1749 to serve as a military fortification, the Halifax Citadel is an important piece of Canadian history. Nowadays it provides a historical experience where visitors can walk inside and outside the fortifications. The site comes to life with actors depicting soldiers and the daily noon gun-firing ceremony. So don’t be alarmed!

Cape Spear Lighthouse

The Cape Spear area has a fascinating history. It was originally home to the Beothuk peoples and also served as a defense point during Word War II. Although the original lighthouse was rebuilt into concrete form in 1955 it can still be found on-site. Cape Spear is a not only a cool spot for history buffs. It’s also a beautiful area for scenery and is the easternmost point in all of Canada.

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Fortifications of Quebec

The Fortifications of Quebec are the only remaining fortified city walls in North America. The British eventually took Quebec City from the French during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in the 1700’s and began restoring the wall. The site is not only a National Historic Site in Canada, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site too. On top of it’s historical significance, it is a gorgeous piece of architecture. The wall surrounds most of Old Quebec which is a charming spot to explore the cobblestone streets.


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Rideau Canal

Located in Canada’s capital of Ottawa, the Rideau Canal was originally built in the 19th century to serve as a defense against a military threat. Today it serves as a scenic spot to see Victorian architecture and walk or bike along the Rideau River. In the wintertime, it’s a favourite with the locals and visitors. The canal becomes an epic sheet of ice perfect for skating enthusiasts.

L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish

Whether you’re a L.M. Montgomery fan or not, you’ll want to discover this Canadian national historic site at least once in your lifetime. Located on Prince Edward Island, it’s a scenic and cultural area where L.M. Montgomery was first inspired to write her beloved Anne of Green Gables books. Today you can explore several areas familiar to those who have read the stories. One being the farmhouse where the novelist herself grew up. The other being the house which was the setting that inspired Anne’s story.

Pingo Canadian Landmark

What’s a pingo you ask? A crazy cool natural land formation found in Canada’s artic. These fascinating frozen mounds of earth can rise up to about 70 metres! They were originally used by the Inuvialuit peoples to spot whales and caribou from above. Although they’re much too fragile to walk on these days, visitors can now see these unique formations from the boardwalk. Canada has about 1400 pingos in the Northwest Territories and the Pingo Canadian Landmark makes up 8 of them.

Signal Hill

Due to it’s perfect location perched upon a hill, Signal Hill has been used as a resource for communication, observation, and defense throughout history. Today it’s purpose serves something else – a beautiful historical site to learn about Canadian history and a spot for scenic views of the Atlantic. The area is of significance to Canadians, especially those who live in the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

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There you have it! Just a few National Historic Sites in Canada for you to explore. Where will you go first?

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