Annapolis Royal's Heritage Days 2011 continued with events at the Historic Gardens and Fort Anne National Historic Site on Saturday. The national theme for Heritage Day this year is parks and landscapes so it would be difficult to find more appropriate locations to hold events than the Gardens and Fort Anne. In addition to being breathtakingly beautiful, the Gardens interpret the history of the Annapolis Royal region through their plantings. Here you can experience plants and landscapes as they would have looked over the past four centuries and beyond.
As for Fort Anne, I can only speak of the exceptional nature of this site. From use as a pre-contact Mi'Kmaw encampment site to use for Champlain's wheat fields to the establishment of Scottish, French (Acadian) and British populations in Nova Scotia this has been a busy piece of land. This is the most fought over site in Canada, our oldest National Historic Site and the location for many civic events to this day.
Ok, enough with setting the stage. Things got rolling on Saturday morning with the Winter Farmers Market at the Historic Gardens. Snowshoes were available to anyone who wanted to explore the property. At the Maison acadienne, there were costumed interpreters discussing Acadian history. It was quite fun to be inside a house built based on the archaeological evidence discussed at the presentation on Friday evening. It was also a great treat to see the clay oven of this reproduction of a 1670s style dwelling in use. Bread was baking and a small cook fire allowed those with a more modern taste to roast a marshmallow.
In the afternoon the focus of activity shifted to Fort Anne. Sadly, by this point in the day the weather was starting to conspire against us with a mix of rain and hail starting to fall. Despite the elements a few hardy souls arrived to enjoy the fort grounds. I was quite happy about this because I have always felt that the recreation element of Heritage Days was a key to it's success. The ramparts at Fort Anne have been used as a sledding destination for generations of local children. Once the children started to tire of running up and down the hills there were snowshoes and kicksleds to try. Finally a snow fort was made before everyone retired into the Officer's Quarters for hot chocolate and cookies. All in all a fun way to experience some historic landscapes.
All for now,