10 places that will help you understand Canada’s story

As the second-largest country in the world, Canada can seem like a daunting place to understand. Fortunately, historic sites across the country offer a window into myriad aspects of Canada’s diversity. When you visit them, you might find yourself learning about the past by baling hay, putting on a vintage dress or sleeping in a tipi!

Indigenous peoples have inhabited North America for millennia. Over that time, many cultures emerged, each with unique languages, foods and traditions adapted to the landscapes in which they lived. Did you know, for example, that the first residents of Canada’s prairies used just about every part of the bison they hunted? As well as eating bison meat, they made bowstrings and snowshoes from sinew, arrows and bowls from horn, soap and candles from tallow, and clothing, blankets and drums from hides.

Some 1,000 years ago, Norse adventurers set foot in what is now Newfoundland. Centuries later, waves of European explorers, missionaries and settlers—largely from France and the British Isles—arrived. You can follow in their footsteps as you stroll the cobblestone streets of Quebec City or explore a woodland fort.

As the country grew, it came to be seen as a place of new beginnings for people from around the world. Some fled slavery or persecution, while others arrived seeking farmland or gold. Sometimes, conflicting ambitions led to friction; those stories, too, are captured in Canada’s historic sites, where you’ll see medals awarded for bravery and gravestones of long-gone heroes.

Here are 10 of the countless places where you can immerse yourself in Canada’s story.

Places

Road Map

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Northwest Territories

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Atlantic Canada’s Hidden Histories

Shelburne, Nova Scotia to Fredericton, New Brunswick 40 places
geocaches that demonstrate the rich, diverse histories of Atlantic Canada.
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Black Islanders

Cardigan, Prince Edward Island to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 4 places
The surprising Black history of Prince Edward Island.
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50 Great Saves: The Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act

Duncan, British Columbia to McAdam, New Brunswick 10 places
In 1990, the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act came into effect after years of lobbying with the help of the National Trust for Canada. The act has granted over 150 railway stations federal legal protection across the country including the Duncan train station in Duncan, BC and the McAdam Railway Station in McAdam, New Brunswick.
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Afro-Nova Scotia

Halifax, Nova Scotia to Middle Sackville, Nova Scotia 9 places
The geography of Black urban Halifax and Windsor encompassing the waves of Black migration
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