East Coast Provinces

Canada’s East Coast is made up of four provinces – New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador,  Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The original people who inhabited this region were Native American people and the first Europeans were predominantly from England, Scotland, Ireland and France. This West European makeup has had a strong influence on the music and culture of the region, and Gaelic is still spoken in some small communities on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island.

The Eastern provinces see themselves as being separate from the rest of Canada which they refer to as ‘the mainland’. Fishing and other seafaring activities are still the mainstays of the local economies, although this is slowly changing. Unsurprisingly, the cuisine is dominated by seafood with clam chowder and seal flipper pie (and yes it really is made from seal flippers!) just two of the most famous dishes.

Despite its distinctly maritime flavour, the Eastern provinces are also home to forests and freshwater rivers which are just waiting to be explored by travellers to the region.

Map of Canada with the East Coast Provinces highlighted

New Brunswick

A one-of-a-kind holiday experience discovering Canada’s hidden gem awaits you in New Brunswick. Start your trip at the Bay of Fundy, a marine wonder and home to the highest tides in the world. Each tide cycle sees more than 100 billion tonnes of seawater enter the Bay twice daily, encouraging a marine ecosystem that has been compared in diversity to that of the Amazon rainforest. Here, you can walk on the ocean floor at low tide at the Hopewell Rocks, then return six hours later to kayak the 15 metres of water that is covering your footprints.  

Not only is the ocean a key feature of New Brunswick, but 80 percent of the province is covered by forest, making it an ideal place for hikers. Spend a day enjoying one of the many National and Provincial Parks, including hiking Mount Carleton, the highest peak in the Maritimes and one of the highlights of the Canadian portion of the International Appalachian Trail. For those interested in learning about other cultures, come experience New Brunswick’s unique Acadian roots at the Mardi Gras-style festival, the Festival acadien de Caraquet, where the streets come alive with music, costumes and traditional food. And, no matter where you find yourself in New Brunswick, don’t forget about the fresh local seafood (yes, lobster IS breakfast food) as well as the many local delicacies such as fiddleheads, dulse and, of course, maple syrup.

Whether your interest is nature, being active, or discovering local food and culture, New Brunswick should be your next vacation destination!

Hiking Mt Carleton, New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island is one of Canada's top tourist destinations, and is renowned for its vivid colors, gently rolling landscape, miles of sandy beaches and red sandstone cliffs. The land is rich and the clean waters surrounding the Island teem with some of the most sought-after seafood in the world. As a result, farmers and fishers provide high quality ingredients and award-winning chefs turn them into culinary masterpieces. Prince Edward Island is also brimming with unique culture from tip to tip. To get a true taste of this, guests are encouraged to take part in the many Authentic PEI Experiences that allow them to work side-by-side with locals who love what they do and want to share it with visitors.

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Tourism PEI / John Sylvester.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Canada’s easternmost province is, as the name implies, two distinct geographic areas: the Island of Newfoundland at the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the mainland portion of Labrador on the Ungava Peninsula east of Quebec. Two of the planet’s great ocean currents – the warm Gulf Stream and the cold Labrador Current – meet and mix on a huge and shallow underwater continental shelf just offshore, stirring up basic nutrients that provide a huge natural larder. The cold water brings 10,000-year-old icebergs south, where they cross paths with 5,000 northward migrating humpback whales, and 35 million seabirds soar overhead.

Seabirds nest on cliffs and offshore islands, chowing down on seafood for their hungry chicks, while whales tarry to feed on the abundant fish. The fish also brought the Europeans, who began a seasonal fishing industry as early as the 16th century. The now mainly English-Irish human population is gradually changing through immigration. The food is changing, too, as hot young chefs take traditional ingredients and reimagine them in wholly new ways, drawing rave reviews from Copenhagen to New York. The aboriginal people have been here 9,000 years, and built the oldest known funeral mound on the continent in southern Labrador 7,500 years ago.

There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Viking settlement founded 1,000 years ago. Music is huge, and the east end of the capital, St. John’s, has more artists than any other post code in the country. St. John’s is a lively old seaport with a modern beat where people speak a variety of English so distinct it has its own 350-page dictionary.

Punts in Joe Batt's Arm, Fogo Island
Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism/Barrett & MacKay Photo

Nova Scotia

Located in eastern Canada and almost completely surrounded by ocean, the province of Nova Scotia is a place where you can feel your pace fall in sync with the rhythm of the sea, as the clean salt air breathes life into an afternoon. Immerse yourself in culture that ranges from traditional to avant-garde, from bagpipes to world-class golf.

You can embrace the spirit of the perfect road trip here. A car is optional, because you can also bike, hike, sail or paddle your way to spontaneous discovery. Throw away your map, and find as much freedom in the stops in-between as in the places you planned to go. Drink in the natural beauty of the Bay of Fundy & Annapolis Valley on a mouthwatering Food & Wine Tour. Camp out and enjoy the sights on a RV Road Trip along the Eastern Shore.Develop a taste for Halifax by following the Live to Eat trip around the city. Discover the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores along l’Acadie Spirit Trail.  Feel the wind in your hair as you take a Sweet Ride through the South Shore.  Find your Celtic Heart while exploring the music and culture of Cape Breton.

With 7,600km of coastline there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy life on, in, and beside the ocean in Nova Scotia.
Sailing: As you might expect from the birthplace of Bluenose, sailing is part of Nova Scotia’s DNA. A favourite voyage takes you the length of Nova Scotia’s Atlantic Coast, from Shelburne all the way to Cape Breton’s Bras d’Or Lake. Along the way you’ll discover secluded beaches, hundreds of islands, friendly seaside towns, marinas, yacht clubs, and no shortage of wind for your sails.
Beaches: Build sandcastles, fly kites, take a surfing lesson, or just unwind in the waves and breathe in the salt air. Explore, play, and enjoy the sandy beaches and refreshing waters that make Nova Scotia Canada’s Ocean Playground.
Whale Watching: Whale watching on the Bay of Fundy or off the coast of Cape Breton is an aweinspiring experience. With more than 10 species of whales to discover, head out on a whale watching tour that will leave you speechless.

 

Lunenburg Harbour, Nova Scotia

The Infinity Experience

Home of Anne of Green Gables
Many tourist attractions on Prince Edward Island have been developed based on the fictional Anne of Green Gables. The Green Gables farmhouse is located in Cavendish, PEI, and provincial licence plates once bore her image. The Avonlea theme park near Cavendish and the Cavendish Figurines shop have trappings so that tourists may dress like the book's characters for photos.