That’s the question we asked ourselves here at Canada’s History magazine. And what a daunting question it was. There are so many amazing sites — well over 150 — to choose from. And these are just the sites administered by Parks Canada, which is celebrating its one-hundredth anniversary this year. There are almost 800 other National Historic Sites, owned by custodians, including individual Canadians, historical societies, businesses, or other levels of government.
We chose our top ten based on their historical significance and the quality of visitors’ experiences. We also wanted to cover a broad time period and represent as much of the country as possible.
If you were to go on this road trip, the stories of Canada would come alive in ways you never thought of: Imagine sitting by the fire in a Viking sod house in Newfoundland; covering your ears against the booming cannons of Louisbourg; watching actors play out the story of the Acadian expulsion; looking down from the ramparts of Old Quebec; paddling past quaint villages along the Rideau Canal; packing fur at HBC’s Lower Fort Garry; walking past the rifle pits used by the Metis’ during their last stand at Batoche; swinging a lasso at the Bar U Ranch; following Haida Watchmen to their sacred sites; and panning for gold in the Klondike.
In the meantime, here’s a look at what your once-in-a-lifetime trip into Canada’s past could look like.
Remnants of Haida village reveal a rich and flamboyant society.
Land of gold still holds us in its spell.
North America’s only fortified city saved from ruin.
The heartbeat of old Acadia beats proudly in this village.
Heyday of the fur trade comes to life at stone fort.
Serene spot marks Métis’ last stand against encroachment of their land.
A post-War of 1812 waterway built at a huge human cost.
Rounding up cattle country history in Canada’s ‘Last Best West.’
The Gibraltar of North America a marvel of reconstruction.
Viking legends proven true at this long-buried settlement.