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Annapolis Royal (2006 Population 444) is a Canadianmarker town located in the western part of Annapolis County, Nova Scotiamarker. Known as Port-Royal to Francemarker until being renamed in 1710 by Britainmarker, the town is located in an area that claims to have the second oldest continuous European settlement in North America after St. Augustine, Floridamarker.


The original French settlement at Port Royalmarker, known as the Habitation at Port-Royalmarker, was settled in 1605 by François Gravé Du Pont, Samuel de Champlain, with and for Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons. This site is approximately west of present-day Annapolis Royal at the mouth of the Annapolis Rivermarker on the Annapolis Basinmarker.

The first settlement was abandoned after being destroyed by British attackers in 1613. After a brief aborted settlement by Scottish settlers, a second French settlement was established at present-day Annapolis Royal. It was also called Port-Royal and it developed into the capital of the French colony of Acadia, although it was briefly ceded to the Scottish settlement of Sir William Alexander before returning to France in 1632. Port-Royal under the French soon became self sufficient and grew modestly for nearly a century, though it was subject to frequent attacks and capture by Britishmarker military forces or those of its New Englandmarker colonists, only to be restored each time to French control by subsequent recapture or treaty stipulations. Acadia remained in French hands throughout most of the 17th century.

In 1710, Port-Royal surrendered for the last time to British forces who renamed it Annapolis Royal after Queen Anne (1665-1714), the reigning monarch. The name is formed through a mix of the former French name Port-Royal and combining the queen's name with that of 'polis', the Greek word for city. The Annapolis Basinmarker, Annapolis Rivermarker and the Annapolis Valleymarker all take their name from the town. Under the French reign, Annapolis River had been known as Rivière Dauphin.

The French fort was renamed Fort Annemarker and established as a British garrison. The Fort, built originally around 1703, was designed to defend the capital from seaward attack. Today, much of the original earthen embankments are preserved for tours by the public, as well as some buildings original to the military facility and the Garrison Cemetery. It is the oldest cemetery in Canada, dating back to the French and later the British. The oldest gravestone in Canada is among the graves, that of Bethiah Douglas who was buried in 1710. Rose Fortune, a Black Loyalist and the first female police officer in what is now Canada is buried here.

Under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Acadia was granted to the Britishmarker; however the vague boundary definitions saw only the peninsular part of Nova Scotia granted to Britain, and the next half century would be turbulent years as Britain and France acted out the final struggle for Acadia and North America.

Annapolis Royal served as the first capital of the Colony of Nova Scotia from 1710 until the founding of Halifaxmarker in 1749. After the capital and garrison moved to Halifax, Annapolis Royal became more of an outpost, until the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists stimulated trade and settlement.
The town grew with the rise of wooden shipbuilding and boomed in 1869 when the Windsor and Annapolis Railway arrived and made Annapolis Royal an important steamship port. Incorporation as a town under the provincial municipalities act took place in 1893. However the completion of the railway to Digbymarker in 1893, followed by the creation of the Dominion Atlantic Railway to Yarmouthmarker shifted much of the steamship commerce to Digby and Yarmouth at the same time as the wooden shipbuilding industry declined. Annapolis Royal became a small country town, although the rising tourism industry of the 20th century stimulated some commercial growth.

Since the early 20th century, the outskirts of the town has been the site of a bridge connecting the south side of the Annapolis River to the north side at Granville Ferry; before the bridge, there was a ferry connection. In 1961, the bridge was replaced with a causeway or dam and in 1984, the causeway became a component of part of the Annapolis Royal Tidal Power Generating Stationmarker.

The construction of the tidal generating station by the then-provincially owned electrical utility Nova Scotia Power Inc. was part of a pilot project to investigate this alternative method of generating electricity. It is the only tidal power facility in operation in North America. The generating station has created tangible environmental changes in water and air temperatures in the area, siltation patterns in the river, and increased erosion of the river banks on both sides of the dam.


The community is situated at the western end of the fertile Annapolis Valleymarker, nestled between the North and South mountains which define the valley. The Bay of Fundymarker is just over the North Mountain, 10 kilometers out of town, and Annapolis Basinmarker forms the waterfront for this historic town on the southern bank of the Annapolis Rivermarker at the mouth of Allains Creek. Directly opposite Annapolis Royal on the northern bank of the river is the community of Granville Ferrymarker.



Tourism is important to the local economy of Annapolis Royal.
This Victorian home is now a private inn.
trains of the Dominion Atlantic Railway ceased operations in 1990, bringing much industrial commerce within the confines of Nova Scotia's smallest town to a halt. Today, after many years of neglect, the old brick railway station is being privately renovated into professional office space.

The fleet of scallop boats moored in the Annapolis Basin continue to generate millions of dollars of economic activity each year, and support many businesses in the Annapolis Royal area. Fort Anne, contained within the boundaries of the town, was designated as a National Historic Site in 1917 and is a natural tourist attraction. The town also contains the largest Registered Historic District in Canada, as well as a waterfront boardwalk, a variety of unique shops, and many mature trees. Visitors can enjoy a fine selection of Bed & Breakfast accommodations, the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens (established in 1986), and a number of historical walking tours. During the summer, late night, guided candle light Garrison Cemetery tours are available and very popular. An added benefit is the scenery of the surrounding countryside, much of which is agricultural. The mild climate and scenic location make this a favourite destination in all seasons. Nova Scotia's largest amusement park, Upper Clements Parkmarker, was built several kilometres west of the town in nearby Upper Clementsmarker.

The town, along with most of Annapolis and Digby counties, experienced a severe economic decline during the mid-1990s after a nearby military training base, CFB Cornwallis, was closed as a result of defence budget cuts. The former base located on the shores of the Annapolis Basin in Cornwallis is now the site of an international peacekeeping training centre, and an innovative industrial park for small businesses.

See also


  1. Canadian Encyclopedia entry: Fort Anne

External links

References and further reading

  • Brenda Dunn, A History of Port-Royal/Annapolis Royal 1605-1800, Halifax: Nimbus, 2004.

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