Fort Anne National Historic Site of Canada
Canada’s Oldest National Historic Site
Unveiling of commemorative plaque at Fort Anne, 1921 © Parks Canada
With Halifax as the new capital and military stronghold, the role of the fort at Annapolis Royal diminished in importance. In subsequent hostilities, such as the American Revolution and the War of 1812, it served as an outpost, defending the town against invaders. The last time the fort was involved in an actual combat was in 1781 when it was attacked by American privateers. The British constructed a new Field Officers’ Quarters in the late 1790s. In the early 1800s, the old fort became known as Fort Anne. In 1854, the British withdrew the garrison from Annapolis Royal and the grounds and buildings gradually deteriorated.
During the 1800s the town of Annapolis Royal prospered from the growth of the shipping and ship-building industry. To the Victorian romantics of the late 19th century, the fort ruins evoked a long and heroic past. When the fort’s blockhouse was demolished without informing the people of Annapolis Royal, a group of outraged citizens successfully petitioned the Government of Canada to have the site preserved and maintained for future generations. Their efforts brought about a series of works aimed at improving the site. In 1917, Fort Anne became Canada’s first administered national historic site.