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!

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.

Join the gun crew at Signal Hill in Newfoundland and Labrador to learn how to fire the mighty quick-firing Hotchkiss Gun. This famous three-pound cannon is set off daily throughout summer to signal the noon hour to the people of St John’s.

Head to Fort Wellington in Ontario to enlist in the Royal Artillery. Put on the uniform and feel the surge of adrenaline as you fire a muzzle-loading cannon.

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.

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 easternmost point of the country 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!

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.

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.

Calling all paddlers! Imagine yourself going through locks in a kayak — the giant lock doors close, you hang onto the rope and water rushes around you as you ascend or descend towards your next destination. Better yet, elevate your experience and travel to the top of the Peterborough Lift Lock, a kind of elevator for boats, or let your vessel be transported over a hill along the Big Chute Marine Railway on the renowned Trent–Severn Waterway. Admire these engineering marvels as you watch the locks open and close throughout the day.

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. Learn to make a fire with just a blow tube and flint, then feast on warm-from-the-fire bannock and trapper’s tea, all included in your Fur Trade Camp Kit.

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 of this area used the land and its animals. Hop on a hay wagon, 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

A 18th century period style tent on the grounds of Fort Beauséjour–Fort Cumberland National Historic Site.

Camp under the stars and within the fort walls at Fort Beauséjour–Fort Cumberland in New-Brunswick. Wake up to the 18th century in a period-style tent, all while enjoying the conveniences of the present!

Prefer the comfort of an oTENTik tent? Head to British Columbia and sleep soundly inside Vancouver's only fort at Fort Langley or within Canada’s best-preserved coastal artillery fort at Fort Rodd Hill. Keep warm around the campfire and travel back in time.

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