Annapolis Royal

An Amazing Collection of Botanical Art

A few days ago, I wrote about Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. I have always enjoyed visiting botanical gardens. Two of the best are on opposite sides of Canada. Martine and I also loved visiting the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. What I found interesting is that the Canadian gardens looked equally good rain or shine, while the ones in California looked best in sunny weather.

Also, the Canadians did a much better job in labeling the different plants than the American gardens we’ve visited.

One of the neat features of Annapolis Royal is that is only a few footsteps away from Fort Anne, originally built in 1629 to protect shipping. It saw action in five wars, terminating in the French and Indian War (1754-1763). On the northern part of the island is the extensive Fortress of Louisbourg, built by the French in 1713, which played a major role in the French and Indian War.

In general, Nova Scotia was our favorite part of Eastern Canada, followed by the City of Québec. We loved the lobster dinners and the French Acadian culture of towns like Chéticamp, where moose could be viewed from the window of our B&B.

Time and Tide

Hopewell Rocks at High Tide, September 19, 2:45 pm

I had always wanted to see the famous high and low tides in Canada’s Bay of Fundy, though I doubted I could do this without some guidance. So Martine and I took the Hopewell Rocks and Bay of Fundy Coastal Tour offered by Roads to Sea of Moncton, New Brunswick. About ten of us crowded into a minibus with Anna-Marie Weir, our capable guide.

We started by going to Hopewell Rocks at low tide, around 8:45 am. We learned that we had by accident picked a day when the difference between high and low tide would be 45.3 feet (13.8 meters). Afterwards, we saw several other sites affected by the tides, including the Harvey Shipyard, the Alma Lookout, the boats in the harbor at Alma, and Cape Enrage. The first three of the above, we saw twice, at intervals that graphically illustrated the striking difference made by the tides.

Below is the same location as the above photo in the early morning at low tide:

Hopewell Rocks at Low Tide Earlier the Same Day

We were able to walk among the rocks and take pictures . One can see by the markings along the bottom of the rocks how high the tide normally comes.

That Wednesday we took the tour started with the threat of rain, which, by early afternoon, became a reality—as you can see in the first photo above. Irrespective of the weather, we enjoyed the tour to such an extent that it was one of the highlights of our recent vacation.

Below is a photo of the personable Anna-Maria Weir and the minibus we rode on the tour:

Anna-Marie Weir of Roads to Sea

Martine and I had been in other areas with substantial tidal variation, especially when we visited Normandie in France about fourteen years ago. The high tide at Mont St-Michel reputedly would come in so fast that author Victor Hugo compared it to the speed of a galloping horse. Alas, we never were able to time our visit to see the variation with our own eyes.

Later in the trip, we even crossed the Bay of Fundy in a roll-on roll-off ferry that runs between Digby, Nova Scotia, and St. John, New Brunswick. It was interesting that the ferry docked at both coasts by a steel bridge that moved up and down with the tide. Ours was a surprisingly smooth crossing over its three-hour length. We were even able to eat a delicious supper with the famous Digby scallops, which are particularly huge and succulent.