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Annapolis Royal

Annapolis Royal is a small town located in the western part of Annapolis County, and was known as Port Royal until the Conquest of Acadia in 1710 by Britain.

Seaward view at Annapolis Royal

The town was the capital of Acadia and later Nova Scotia for almost 150 years, until the founding of Halifax in 1749. It was attacked by the British six times before permanently changing hands after the Conquest of Acadia in 1710. Over the next fifty years, the French and their allies made six unsuccessful military attempts to regain the capital. Including a raid during the American Revolution, Annapolis Royal faced a total of thirteen attacks, more than any other place in North America.

As the site of several pivotal events during the early years of the colonisation of Canada, the historic core of Annapolis Royal was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1994.

Annapolis Royal is situated at the western end of the fertile Annapolis Valley, nestled between the North and South mountains which define the valley. The town is on south bank of the Annapolis River facing the heavily tidal Annapolis Basin. The riverside forms the waterfront for this historic town. Directly opposite Annapolis Royal on the northern bank of the river is the community of Granville Ferry. Allains Creek joins the Annapolis River at the town, defining the western side of the community. The Bay of Fundy is just over the North Mountain, 10 kilometers north of the town.


Tourism is a significant part of the economy of Annapolis Royal. Fort Anne, contained within the boundaries of the town, was initially designated a National Historic Park in 1917 and then a National Historic Site in 1920. The French fort was renamed Fort Anne and established as a British garrison. The fort, built originally around 1703, was designed to defend the capital of Acadia/ Nova Scotia from seaward attack. Today, much of the original earthen embankments are may be visited, as well as some buildings original to the military facility and the Garrison Cemetery. This is the oldest formal cemetery in Canada, dating back to the French and later the British. The oldest English gravestone in Canada is among the graves, that of Bathiah Douglas who was buried in 1720. (Rose Fortune, a Black Loyalist and the first female police officer in what is now Canada is buried here.)

In addition to the town's historic district and Fort Anne, the Annapolis County Court House, the site of Charles Fort, and the Sinclair Inn/Farmer's Hotel are also each individually designated as National Historic Sites.

The trains of the Dominion Atlantic Railway, running from Halifax to Yarmouth, were suddenly shut down in 1990 and the track removed, bringing much industrial commerce within the confines of Nova Scotia's smallest town to a halt. Today, after many years of neglect, the old brick railway station has been privately renovated into professional office space.

The fleet of scallop boats using the Annapolis Basin as a base continue to generate millions of dollars of economic activity each year, and support many businesses in the Annapolis Royal area. The "haul-up" beside the Government Wharf (recently divested by the federal government to the local citizenry) continues to overhaul and refurbish many scallop boats every year.

The town also contains the largest registered Historic District in Canada, as well as a waterfront boardwalk, a variety of unique shops, and a picturesque landscape. Visitors can enjoy a fine selection of inns, bed-&-breakfast, and hotel accommodations, as well as the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens (established in 1986), many shops and galleries, including Westside Studio, the Lucky Rabbit Pottery, and Catfish Moon. There is a very lively Annapolis Region Community Arts Council gallery at ArtSpace, and King's Theatre offers both live and motion-picture entertainment regularly. Every Saturday morning there is a Farmers Market (summers at the Market Square), off-season at the Historic Gardens. Visit the Town website at www.annapolisroyal.com for a full listing.

The town also offers various historical walking-tours. During the summer, late night, guided candlelight Garrison Cemetery tours are available and very popular. An added benefit is the scenery of the surrounding countryside, much of which is agricultural. The mild climate and scenic location make this a favourable destination in all seasons. Nova Scotia's largest amusement park, Upper Clements Park and Adventure Park, is west of the town in nearby Upper Clements.

The town, along with most of Annapolis and Digby counties, experienced a severe economic decline during the mid-1990s after a nearby military training base, CFB Cornwallis, was closed as a result of federal government budget cuts. The former base located on the shores of the Annapolis Basin was formerly the site of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, but this too was closed by the federal government after a decade of successful operation with international participants from over 130 countries. It is now the home of the Annapolis Basin Conference Centre and an industrial park for small businesses. The HMCS Acadia sea-cadets camp is held there every summer.


The Annapolis Basin in Nova Scotia served as the cradle for both French and English language theatre in Canada. Théâtre de Neptune was the first European theatre production in North America. The tradition of English theatre in Canada, also started at Annapolis Royal. The tradition at Fort Anne, Nova Scotia, was to produce a play in honour of the Prince of Wales's birthday. Prior to Paul Mascarene's productions, the Boston Gazette (411 June 1733) reported that George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer was produced on Saturday, 20 January 1733 by the officers of the garrison to mark the Prince's birthday. Paul Mascarene translated Molière's La Misanthrope and then staged at least two productions of the work during the winter of 1743-1744. The second performance on 20 January 1744 had also coincided with celebrations in the colony to mark the birthday of Frederick, Prince of Wales. The text of the first three acts is contained in the Mascarene papers, British Library. And four years after the Mascarene production, on 20 January 1748, Major Phillips and Captain Floyer also produced a play in honour of the Prince's birthday. Unfortunately, the Boston News Letter (3 March 1748) fails to indicate the title of the play. It does reveal, however, that the same play was staged a second time on 2 February 1748, at the request of Captain Winslow, after the colony received the news of Admiral Edward Hawke's success Second Battle of Cape Finisterre (1747), in October 1747.

Notable residents

  • Sir William Williams, 1st Baronet, of Kars was born at Annapolis Royal. - The most distinguished native of Annapolis Royal living in the nineteenth century was the Hon Sir William Williams, Bart, known from his distinguished services in the Crimean war as the "hero of Kars. '
  • Noel Doiron was born at Port Royal.
  • Rose Fortune - considered first black woman police officer in Canada
  • Daurene Lewis - first black woman mayor in Canada; recipient of Order of Canada
  • Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna
  • John Bradstreet - British officer fought in King Georges War and Seven Years' War
  • William Johnstone Ritchie

Annapolis Royal info reproduced from Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annapolis_Royal under the Creative Commons License

Annapolis Royal History

The original French settlement at present-day Port Royal, known as the Habitation at Port-Royal, was settled in 1605 by François Gravé Du Pont, Samuel de Champlain, with and for Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons. (Annapolis Royal is twinned with the town of Royan in France, birthplace of Sieur de Mons.) The Port-Royal site is approximately 10 km (6.2 mi) west of present-day Annapolis Royal at the mouth of the Annapolis River on the Annapolis Basin. The first settlement was abandoned after being destroyed by British-American attackers in 1613.

Annapolis Royal by John Hamilton (c.1753)

Scottish settlers, under the auspices of Sir William Alexander, established their settlement, known as Charlesfort in 1629 at the mouth of the Annapolis River (present site of Annapolis Royal). The settlement was abandoned to the French under the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1632). A second French settlement replaced the Scottish Charlesfort at present-day Annapolis Royal. It was also called Port Royal and it developed into the capital of the French colony of Acadia. Port-Royal under the French soon became self-sufficient and grew modestly for nearly a century, though it was subject to frequent attacks and capture by British military forces or those of its New England colonists, only to be restored each time to French control by subsequent recapture or treaty stipulations. Acadia remained in French hands throughout most of the 17th century.

Creation of Annapolis Royal

In 1710 Port Royal was captured a final time from the French at the 1710 Siege of Port Royal during Queen Anne's War, marking the British conquest of mainland Nova Scotia. The British renamed the town Annapolis Royal and Fort Anne after Queen Anne (16651714), the reigning monarch. The name was formed by combining the queen's name 'Anne' with that of 'polis', the Greek word for city and taking part of the former French name Port-'Royal'. The Annapolis Basin, Annapolis River, Annapolis County, and the Annapolis Valley all take their name from the town. (Previously, under the French, the Annapolis River had been known as Rivière Dauphin.)

Siege of Annapolis Royal (1711)

After success in the local Battle of Bloody Creek (1711), 600 Acadians and native warriors attempted to retake the Acadian capital. Under the leadership of Bernard-Anselme d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin they descended on Annapolis Royal and laid siege to Fort Anne. The garrison had fewer than 200 men, but the attackers had no artillery and were thus unable to make an impression on the fort. They eventually dispersed, and Annapolis Royal remained in British hands for the remainder of the war.

Under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Acadia was granted to the British; however the vague boundary definitions saw only the peninsular part of Nova Scotia granted to Britain, and the next half century would be turbulent years as Britain and France acted out the final struggle for Acadia and North America.
Father Rale's War

Blockade of Annapolis Royal (1722)

During Father Rale's War, in July 1722 the Abenaki and Mi'kmaq attempted to create a blockade of Annapolis Royal, with the intent of starving the capital. The natives captured 18 fishing vessels and prisoners from present-day Yarmouth to Canso. They also seized prisoners and vessels from the Bay of Fundy.

In response to the New England attack on Father Rale at Norridgewock in March 1722, 165 Mi'kmaq and Maliseet troops gathered at Minas to lay siege to the Lt. Governor of Nova Scotia at Annapolis Royal. Under potential siege, in May 1722, Lieutenant Governor John Doucett took 22 Mi'kmaq hostage at Annapolis Royal to prevent the capital from being attacked. Massachusetts Governor Samuel Shute declared war on the Abenaki.

New Englanders retrieved some of the vessels and prisoners after the Battle at Winnepang (Jeddore Harbour) in which thirty-five natives and five New-Englanders were killed. Other vessels and prisoners were retrieved at Malagash Harbour after a ransom was paid.

Raid on Annapolis Royal (1724)

During Father Rale's War, the worst moment of the war for the capital came in early July 1724 when a group of sixty Mikmaq and Maliseets raided Annapolis Royal. They killed and scalped a sergeant and a private, wounded four more soldiers, and terrorized the village. They also burned houses and took prisoners. The British responded on July 8 by executing one of the Mi'kmaq hostages on the same spot the sergeant was killed. They also burned three Acadian houses in retaliation.

As a result of the raid, three blockhouses were built to protect the town. The Acadian church was moved closer to the fort so that it could be more easily monitored.
King Georges' War. During King Georges War there were four attempts by the French, Acadians and Mi'kmaq to retake the capital of Acadia.

Siege of Annapolis Royal (July 1744)

Le Loutre gathered three hundred Mi'kmaq warriors together, and they began their assault on Annapolis Royal on 12 July 1744. This was the largest gathering of Mi'kmaw warriors till then to take arms against the British. The Mi'kmaq outnumbered the New Englanders regulars by three to one. Two New England regulars were captured and scalped. The assault lasted for four days, when the fort was rescued on 16 July by seventy New England soldiers arriving on board the ship Prince of Orange.
Siege of Annapolis Royal (September 1744)

After spending the summer trying to recruit the assistance of Acadians, François Dupont Duvivier attacked Annapolis Royal on 8 September 1744. His force of 200 was up against 250 soldiers at the fort. The siege raged on for a week, and then Duvivier demanded the surrender of the fort. Both sides awaited reinforcements by sea. The fighting continued for a week and then two ships did arrive - from Boston, not Louisbourg. On board the ship was New England Ranger John Gorham (military officer) and 70 natives. Duvivier retreated.

1745 Siege of Annapolis Royal

In May 1745, Paul Marin de la Malgue led and 200 troops, hundreds of Mi'kmaq joined yet another siege against Annapolis Royal. This force was twice the size of Duvivier's expedition. During this siege the English destroyed their own officers' fences, houses, and buildings that the attackers might be able to use. The siege ended quickly when Marin was recalled to assist with defending the French during the Siege of Louisbourg (1745).

During the 1745 siege, the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet took prisoner William Pote and some of Gorham's (Mohawk) Rangers. During his captivity, Pote wrote one of the most important captivity narratives from Acadia and Nova Scotia. While at Cobequid, Pote reported that an Acadian had remarked that the French soldiers should have "left their (the English) carcasses behind and brought their skins." The following year, among other places, Pote was taken to the Maliseet village Aukpaque on the Saint John River. While at the village, Mi'kmaq from Nova Scotia arrived and, on July 6, 1745, tortured him together with a Mohawk ranger from Gorham's company named Jacob, as retribution for the killing of their family members by Gorham. On July 10, Pote witnessed another act of revenge when the Mi'kmaq tortured a Mohawk ranger from Gorham's company at Meductic.

1746 Siege of Annapolis Royal

Led by Ramesay, the French land forces laid siege to Annapolis Royal for twenty-three days, awaiting naval reinforcements. They never received the assistance they required from the Duc d'Anville Expedition and were forced to retreat.

Seven Years' War - 1755 Deportation of the Acadians

During the Expulsion of the Acadians, on 8 December 1755, 32 Acadian families, a total of 225, were deported from Annapolis Royal on the British ship Pembroke. The ship was headed for North Carolina. During the voyage, the Acadians took over the vessel. On 8 February 1756 the Acadians sailed up the Saint-John River as far as they could. They there disembarked and burned their ship. A group of Maliseet met them and directed them up stream, where they joined an expanding Acadian community.The Maliseet took them to one of Charles Deschamps de Boishébert et de Raffetot's refugee camps for the fleeing Acadians, which was at Beaubears Island.

In December 1757, while cutting firewood near Fort Anne, John Weatherspoon was captured by Indians (presumably Mi'kmaq) and carried away to the mouth of the Miramichi River. From there he was eventually sold or traded to the French and taken to Quebec, where he was held until late in 1759 and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, when General Wolfe's forces prevailed.
American Revolution

During the American Revolution, the 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants) were stationed at Annapolis Royal to guard Nova Scotia against American Privateers. On 2 October 1778 the 84th Regiment was involved in the defeat of an American privateer at Annapolis Royal. Captain MacDonald sailed into the town only to find a large privateer ship raiding the port. He destroyed the privateer vessel, which had mounted ten carriage-guns.

Two months later, in December 1778, Captain Campbell of the 84th Regiment took seven men with him to retrieve an American privateer ship that had been abandoned on Partridge Island, New Brunswick. They brought the ship safely back to Annapolis Royal.

However, in June 1780 the 84th Regiment was transferred to the Carolinas, leaving the town vulnerable to attack. The next year, on 29 August 1781, two large American privateer schooners attacked the undefended town. They imprisoned the men of the community in the fort and systematically looted houses in the town, even stealing window-glass from the church. The privateers fled when reports arrived that the militia was assembling outside the town. The only death took place when the privateers accidentally shot their own pilot. Two town residents were taken as hostages and later released on parole on promise of exchange for an American prisoner at Halifax.


After the American Revolution, a flood of United Empire Loyalists arrived at Annapolis Royal. The Loyalist migration severely taxed the resources of the town for a time before many moved to found Loyalist settlements such as nearby Digby and Clementsport, while others stayed. Some, such as Anglican minister Jacob Bailey, remained in Annapolis Royal and became members of the town's elite. Many escaped slaves who fought for the British known as Black Loyalists were also part of the Loyalist migration, including Thomas Peters, an important Black Loyalist leader who first arrived in Annapolis Royal before taking land near Digby. Another notable Black Loyalist was Rose Fortune who founded a freight business and policed the Annapolis Royal waterfront. While many Loyalists moved from Annapolis Royal to take up lands elsewhere, others stayed and the migration brought an injection of professions and capital that strengthened the town as a regional centre beyond its status as a garrison outpost.

Nineteenth century: ships and railroads

In spite of the extreme tidal range and relatively shallow waters of the Basin, the sheltered port of Annapolis Royal thrived as a port for wooden ships in early 19th century and became, along with Granville Ferry across the river, a major shipbuilding centre for two generations in the 19th century. Among the many notable local mariners was Bessie Hall, a rare example of a woman who pursued seafaring in the 19th century. While wooden shipbuilding slowed in the 1880s, the arrival of steamships saw Annapolis Royal emerge as an early steamship connection point between Nova Scotia, Saint John, New Brunswick and Boston. The town boomed in 1869 when the Windsor and Annapolis Railway arrived and made Annapolis Royal an important regional steamship and railway terminal. Two large railway piers were built along the waterfront and several local manufacturers were built. Incorporation as a town under the Nova Scotia Municipalities Act took place in 1893. However, the completion of the railway to Digby in 1893, followed by the creation of the Dominion Atlantic Railway to Yarmouth shifted most of the steamship commerce to Digby and Yarmouth at the same time as the wooden shipbuilding industry collapsed with the advent of steel-hulled vessels, requiring much deeper waters. Annapolis Royal became a small country town, although the rising tourism industry of the 20th century stimulated some commercial growth.
Twentieth century

A ferry service ran from Lower St George Street across the river to Granville Ferry from the early 19th century but in 1921 a bridge was built to link the two sides of the estuary. The bridge collapsed in 1961 (luckily, with no loss of life) and was replaced by a causeway, already under construction. In 1984 this causeway became a component of part of the Annapolis Royal Tidal Power Generating Station.

The construction of the tidal generating station by the then-provincially owned electrical utility Nova Scotia Power Inc. was part of a pilot project to investigate this alternative method of generating electricity. To date, it is so far the only working tidal power plant in North America. The generating station has created tangible environmental changes in water and air temperatures in the area, siltation patterns in the river, and increased erosion of the river banks on both sides of the dam, but as it approaches its thirtieth year of operation it seems to have proved viable on the whole.

In 1984 Annapolis Royal elected the first female Black mayor in Canada, Daurene Lewis.


Middleton (2011 pop.: 1,749) is a town in Annapolis County, situated on the north bank of the Annapolis River. Incorporated in 1909, it is located near the centre of the Annapolis Valley, from which it gets its nickname, "The Heart of the Valley".

MacDonald Museum.

Founded by New England Planters, it functions as a local service centre for the surrounding agricultural district. The town's economy is also heavily influenced by proximity to the air force base CFB Greenwood in nearby Kings County.


Middleton is at the half-way point between Halifax and Yarmouth on Highway 101 and Trunk 1. It's also the northern terminus of Trunk 10 which connects the town with Bridgewater and Lunenburg on the South Shore.

The town was located on the Dominion Atlantic Railway's (DAR) mainline from Halifax to Yarmouth and was also served by CN Rail's line from Bridgewater to Bridgetown (and on to Victoria Beach). CN Rail abandoned its line through Middleton in 1982; it had formerly been the Nova Scotia Central Railway (NSCR). The DAR abandoned its mainline through the town in March 1990, following the January 15, 1990, abandonment of the Evangeline passenger train service by Via Rail. The abandoned DAR and CN railway lines are currently owned by the Government of Nova Scotia and used as recreational trails. The old railway station is now a railway museum operated by the Futureview TREA.


Middleton is home to 2 public schools: Annapolis East Elementary School serves grades Primary-5, and Middleton Regional High School serves grades 6-12. The town is also home to a Nova Scotia

Soldiers Memorial Hospital is located in the town and provides tertiary care services for the eastern part of Annapolis County. The provincial government is funding construction of a new 50-bed nursing home in the town which is scheduled to open in late 2009.

Middleton is home to the Annapolis Valley MacDonald Museum, which is housed in the original Macdonald Consolidated School. This school, founded in 1903, was the first consolidated school in Canada, established with a grant from the Macdonald Tobacco Company of Montreal. The museum has many travelling exhibits, and is the home of the Nova Scotia Museum Clock collection.

Festivals and events

Middleton hosts an annual three day festival called "Heart of the Valley Days" every summer, during the month of July.

Middleton Farmers' Market was founded in 2008. It is held every Friday during the Summer and Fall in the park across from the Town Office from 3 pm to 7 pm. The Market is a non-profit member-run organization of market vendors and individuals from our community.

Middleton has an official town crier who has performed his functions for the town since 1984. He has attended all Heart of The Valley parades and attended town crier competitions in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, England and Belgium on behalf of the town. In 1988 he organized and hosted the first Heart of the Valley International Town Criers Challenge. In 2009, as part of Middleton's centenary celebrations, the second Heart of the Valley International Town Criers Challenge was held.

Notable people

  • Hanson Taylor Dowell, MLA, Judge, President of CAHA
  • Frank R. Elliott, political figure
  • Obediah Parker Goucher, former mayor
  • Carlyle Lewis, Missouri Mavericks (Professional Hockey)
  • Cail MacLean, hockey coach
  • John D. McKenzie, businessman and politician
  • Mona Louise Parsons - member of the Dutch resistance, WW2

Middleton info reproduced from Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middleton,_Nova_Scotia under the Creative Commons License

Annapolis Area Map

Map by Microsoft Map Point. Copyright and (P) 19882012 Microsoft Corporation and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved. http://www.microsoft.com/mappoint/ Certain mapping and direction data 2012 NAVTEQ. All rights reserved. The Data for areas of Canada includes information taken with permission from Canadian authorities, including: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, Queen's Printer for Ontario. NAVTEQ and NAVTEQ ON BOARD are trademarks of NAVTEQ. 2012 Tele Atlas North America, Inc. All rights reserved. Tele Atlas and Tele Atlas North America are trademarks of Tele Atlas, Inc. 2012 by Applied Geographic Solutions. All rights reserved. Portions Copyright 2012 by Woodall Publications Corp. All rights reserved.