What to See
Nature, in all her glory. History and culture. The rugged coast, tranquil bays and beaches, unspoiled forest fauna and crystal clear lakes and streams.
Most people come see us for the scenic beauty and unspoiled nature. We love it too. But we’re just as proud to share a heritage, history and culture that is truly unique.
Think the arrival of Columbus marked the start of European efforts to explore and settle North America? Not so fast. Prince Henry Sinclair of Orkney landed on the shores of Nova Scotia, near what is now Guysborough Harbour, in 1398 almost 100 years before Columbus. Overlooking breathtaking vistas, a monument at the Boylston Provincial Park commemorates his historic voyage.
You can discover the fascinating story of the earliest European fishing ports in the “New World” at Canso Islands and Grassy Island Fort National Historic Sites. By the early 1600s, attempts were underway to establish permanent settlements driven by the abundance of fish in our waters. Guysborough was founded in 1636 by Nicholas Denys to take advantage of the harbour's close proximity to the Atlantic fishing grounds and Mikmaq trade routes. The Guysborough Waterfront retains much of the early charm and character and its rich and colourful history has been preserved at the Old Court House Museum.
Visit the sites and heritage of some of the earliest North American settlements by free people of African descent, who settled in and around present-day Lincolnville as early as 1784. Around Tor Bay the District’s Acadian heritage lives on in communities established in the 1770s. Traditionally farmers, the Acadians found this new land so rocky that they began harvesting the seas for lobster, cod and mackerel.
You may not know it, but in the years before wireless technology, our District played a pivotal role in communications between North America and Europe. Tor Bay was the site of the first successful transmission of messages by commercial cable in 1875, a feat commemorated at the Tor Bay Beach Provincial Park. And Hazel Hill, near Guysborough was the gateway for an extensive underwater cable system.
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