Surprising national historic site experiences

Take part in truly unique and even unusual experiences that you would never have guessed you could do in a historic site! Come and travel back in time with Parks Canada!

Be the first to see the sunrise

Aerial view of Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site at sunrise.
 Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site — Newfoundland and Labrador

Be one of the first in Canada (and all of North America) to see the sunrise! Head to the most easterly point in Canada and watch the warm, golden colours of the sun rise over the Atlantic. Bring your binoculars and keep your eyes to the sea, you may be lucky enough to see whales and seabirds like gannets and puffins. You might even see an iceberg floating by!

Dare to sleep in a prison

The lower town area of the Fortress of Louisbourg is lit by lantern light on a clear evening.
 Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site — Nova Scotia

Experience the Fortress of Louisbourg in a completely unique way as a ‘voluntary inmate’ in the fortress prison or as an officer on-duty in the Place d’Armes guardhouse. Prefer to be a town resident? Stay the night in a period style house or sleep under the stars in a fully equipped 18th century style campsite. Take advantage of having the fortress to yourself for the night and wander the grounds completely unattended, then cosy up by the fire just like they did 300 years ago.

Discover the haunted history of the Citadel

Four visitors and a guide with lanterns walk through the inner courtyard of the Halifax Citadel at dusk.
 Halifax Citadel National Historic Site — Nova Scotia

Slip into the shadows of the Halifax Citadel and hear its haunted history on a ghost tour. Explore the passageways and inner chambers of this historic fort and find out if the many legends of ghost hauntings are true.

Escape from a sod hut

Sunset over the sea and the L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site.
 L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site — Newfoundland and Labrador

No gimmicks, gadgets or hidden rooms – just you and up to three friends with 45-minutes to escape an authentic timber-and-sod hut in the most unique of locations - the first known evidence of European presence in the Americas. Can you pass The Test of Tykir and take your place at the side of the legendary Leif Eriksson?

See what other unique escape rooms you can puzzle your way out of in Canada's national historic sites.

Immerse yourself in an explosive atmosphere

Two adults stand behind a cannon firing on the hillside at Signal Hill National Historic Site.

Add an explosive element to your visit and enlist to be a cannoneer in training in an exclusive workshop at the Fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia. Light the fuse and wait for the blast of a cannon identical to the ones that defended 18th-century Louisbourg.

Experience the thrill of firing the Hotchkiss quick-fire gun at Signal Hill in Newfoundland and Labrador! At the stroke of noon, let the people of St. John’s know it’s time for lunch with a resounding crack. Be a part of an iconic tradition and feel the pride of operating this impressive piece of artillery.

Discover petroglyphs

A guide and visitors marvel at the petroglyphs on the shore of a lake in  Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site.
 Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site — Nova Scotia

Join a guided tour to go see the amazing petroglyphs on the shores of Kejimkujik Lake, learning about Mi’kmaw culture along the way.

With nearly 500 petroglyphs found on-site, these fascinating stone-carved depictions make up one of North America’s largest collections and have been vital clues to reveal regional history.

Experience the thrill of kayaking through locks

Numerous kayaks at the Peterborough Lift Lock on the Trent–Severn Waterway.
 Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site — Ontario

Calling all paddlers! Imagine yourself afloat inside an historic lock— the giant doors close, you find your spot along the wall, you loop your rope and water rushes around you as you ascend or descend towards your next destination. Elevate your experience and join a couple hundred other paddlers and atop The World’s Tallest Hydraulic Lift Lock during the annual Lock & Paddle - YouTube (2:02 minutes) event in Peterborough. Need even more excitement? Take your vessel on the Big Chute Marine Railway - YouTube (2:11 minutes) on the renowned Trent–Severn Waterway to ride high and dry on a track up a hill and over a highway.

Get a seasonal lockage permit and plan a trip to paddle them all!

Overnight options are available on the banks of most historic canals. Spend the night in a tear-drop shaped Ôasis, a cozy oTENTik tent, a rustic cottage, a historic house or a campsite.

Sleep in a Blackfoot People’s tipi

Two visitors gazing at the Big Dipper stars outside a tipi on a starry night at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
 Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site — Alberta

Protect yourself from bad dreams by making your own dream catcher on site and learn about the traditions behind this custom. Then, sleep under the stars in an authentic tipi and dream of the bison roaming beyond the campsite.

Interested in the culture and traditions of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples? Participate in Indigenous tourism experiences offered by Indigenous partners at national historic sites.

Taste the history

Three adults being served drinks by a costumed interpreter at the tavern in the Fortress of Louisbourg.

Enjoy the delicious food and drink experiences offered at national historic sites. Learn how to make bannock, sip cowboy coffee in front of a roaring campfire, sample 18th century French-inspired dishes, taste different spirits that were popular with soldiers in their time, enjoy a picnic in a historic destination and so much more! History never tasted so good!

Treat yourself to a historic stay

Lighthouse station and lighthouse keeper’s house of Île aux Perroquets at sunrise in Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve.

Stay in the heart of a lighthouse station, a Lockmaster's House, a period style home, and more! Enjoy the site all for yourself for this overnight stay with a historical twist! Choose from all sorts of unique accommodations across the country.

Let out the cowboy in you

A guide stands next to a young woman lassoing at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site.
 Bar U Ranch National Historic Site — Alberta

Here's your chance to learn how to lasso! Practice catching the horn of a replica steer and challenge your friends to do the same. Get back to the land on this once thriving ranch. Take a ride in a Percheron horse-drawn wagon, learn how to saddle a horse and mend a bridle, then sip cowboy coffee around the campfire. What a day!

Meet the farm animals

Two young women holding chickens in the barn at Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site.
 Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site — Saskatchewan

Come and meet the animals, large and small, that live and work on the farm. Hear fascinating stories about raising animals and learn how the Indigenous peoples and homesteaders of this area used the land and its animals. Join the farm workers and milk the cows in the morning, or watch the chickens run to the delicious sound of grain filling the bucket. There are plenty of fun activities to try that will give you a taste of the life of early farmers in the prairies.

Spend the night in a fort

Inside Fort Langley’s walls at night.
 Fort Langley National Historic Site — British Columbia

Head to British Columbia and sleep soundly in a cozy oTENTIK tent inside Vancouver's only fort at Fort Langley.

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