Grand-Pré was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1955 for the following reasons: the Deportation of the Acadians; it was a centre of Acadian activity from 1682-1755; a strong attachment remains to this day among Acadians throughout the world to this area, the heart of their ancestral homeland and symbol of the ties which unite them.
The heritage value of Grand-Pré National Historic Site of Canada lies in its historical associations with the Acadian people and the central role it continues to play within the Acadian diaspora. This value is illustrated by the landscaping, the architecture and art that characterises the commemorative monuments, and by the physical evidence of early Acadian occupancy.
From 1682 until 1775, the village of Grand-Pré was the centre of Acadian settlement in the area of Les Mines, on the Mines Basin. In 1755, the site served as the headquarters for the deportation of over six thousand Acadians from their lands in Nova Scotia, by the British government. John Frederic Herbin purchased the site in 1907 to create a memorial park for the Acadians. In 1917, he sold the land to the Dominion Atlantic Railway, with the exception of a parcel of land intended for a memorial chapel. In 1922 the railway hired architect Percy Nobbs to design a memorial park and the Acadian Société Nationale l’Assomption hired architect René Frechet to construct a chapel to commemorate the original Église Saint-Charles. In addition, sculptor Philippe Hébert created a statue of Évangeline, the heroine of Acadian poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Although the Deportation took place in several areas of Nova Scotia, a strong attachment to the area remains among Acadians throughout the world. In fact, for decades Acadians have come to the site either individually or in organized groups from as far away as Louisiana to connect with their history and their ancestral homeland.