Southwest Nova Scotia National Historic Sites Management Plan

What is a management plan?

A management plan is a key instrument for ensuring that Parks Canada delivers on its commitments to the people of Canada. The process of management planning allows Aboriginal communities, stakeholders, partners, local residents and the public to have an effective voice in shaping the future of the site.

Management planning update 

A management plan has been prepared for Fort Anne, Port-Royal, Fort Edward, Charles Fort, and Melanson Settlement National Historic Sites of Canada -- known collectively as the national historic sites of Southwest Nova Scotia. This plan was developed based upon extensive public consultation and provides strategic direction for these national historic sites for the next 10 to 15 years. 

The plan has been tabled in Parliament and paper copies are available upon request.

Learn more: Management Plan for The National Historic Sites of Southwest Nova Scotia

Management Plan Executive Summary

Fort Anne, Port-Royal, Charles Fort, Fort Edward, and Melanson Settlement National Historic Sites are places of national historic significance interrelated by events and geography that invite all Canadians to explore the fascinating history and spectacular beauty of Southwest Nova Scotia. These national historic sites are collectively managed under the Mainland Nova Scotia Field Unit of Parks Canada and are together referred to as the national historic sites of Southwest Nova Scotia. 

This management plan provides strategic direction for achieving Parks Canada’s mandate at the national historic sites of Southwest Nova Scotia, namely: protection of heritage resources; the facilitation of meaningful visitor experiences; and fostering public appreciation and understanding of protected heritage places managed by Parks Canada. The plan was developed with the involvement of the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, partners, stakeholders, and the public. It is the primary public accountability document for these sites and will provide Parks Canada staff with a framework for decision making. The management plan includes: 

- a vision for the future; 
- two overarching key strategies, which will guide the direction of the five sites over the next fifteen years; 
- individual chapters that highlight how the overarching strategies will be implemented at each of the sites; 
- a summary of administration and operations; 
- a summary of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) conducted for this management plan; and, 
- an implementation strategy that summarizes the key planned actions. 

The two overarching key strategies provide concrete direction for addressing the major issues and opportunities facing the national historic sites of Southwest Nova Scotia and for focusing resources towards achieving the vision. They are as follows: 

Inspiring the Discovery of the national historic sites of Southwest Nova Scotia 

This strategy focuses on improving and diversifying visitor experience opportunities and strengthening promotions to inspire an increasing number of people to discover this outstanding network of national historic sites. This strategy also seeks to inspire the discovery of the sites amongst Canadians unable to visit them in person. Actions that will contribute to this strategy include: conducting research to better understand the motivations, needs, and expectations of current and potential visitors; confirming new target markets in the face of changing tourism trends; increasing interactive and experiential programming at Port-Royal National Historic Site (NHS), developing new self-guided media at Fort Anne National Historic Site (NHS); developing the concept of a network of national historic sites in Southwest Nova Scotia including promotional and positioning tools to implement the concept; and reviewing and updating the sites’ web-pages. 

Shared Stewardship and Community Gathering Places 

This strategy underscores Parks Canada’s focus on reaching out to area residents1, the Mi’kmaq, Acadians, and other partners and stakeholders to build on a culture of conservation and on working together to ensure the sites are relevant to local and regional audiences. By tapping into the knowledge and passion of the Mi’kmaq, partners, stakeholders, and area residents, the protection of cultural resources as well as visitor experience opportunities at these sites will be enhanced. In particular, Parks Canada will work with the Mi’kmaq, partners, stakeholders, and area residents to encourage the use of the sites as community gathering places and to facilitate unique opportunities, such as special events, that will engage area residents and attract new audiences. Actions that will contribute to this strategy include: exploring the possibility of establishing a permanent mechanism for local engagement with the sites; working with the Mi’kmaq to identify areas of research that will serve to enhance Mi’kmawrelated visitor experience and public outreach opportunities; enhancing opportunities for community stewardship. 

Individual Site Chapters 

Individual chapters have been developed to highlight areas of importance and specific actions to be undertaken at each site. Efforts at Port-Royal NHS will focus on enhancing the visitor experience offer through the creation of a menu of visitor experience opportunities, including hosting special events. Emphasis at Fort Anne will be placed on developing self-guided media, building stronger local partnerships, supporting community use of the site, and ensuring the security of the curatorial collection. In addition, attention will be paid to address minor impairments to commemorative integrity at Fort Anne. At Charles Fort NHS, a small site located within the grounds of Fort Anne, Parks Canada will work to raise awareness and understanding of the site and to build connections with the Scottish heritage community. 

At Fort Edward NHS, Parks Canada will ensure that visitors have access to informative pre-trip information. Parks Canada will also work with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia and with local and regional organizations to encourage community use of the site. At Melanson Settlement NHS, emphasis will be placed on working with others to ensure the protection of the site within its larger historic-geographic context, and on strengthening opportunities to engage Mi’kmaw and Acadian communities in ways that will enhance our understanding of the site’s historical significance.