Dog-friendly Fort Anne National Historic Site, Nova Scotia – where the local pups walk

Here’s a surprise: You’d never guess it after visiting on a breezy summer day, but Fort Anne National Historic Site in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia is one of the most fought over pieces of land in North America. This fort changed hands seven times and survived 13 attacks, mostly between the French and English, with a little Scottish thrown in for variety.

Also, Fort Anne National Historic Site is dog-friendly and an ideal place to spend hours strolling with the pup. You’ll encounter an underground powder magazine, an 18th cemetery, several monuments, and the classic Parks Canada red Muskoka chairs overlooking the Bay of Fundy – get a pic. Only the Officer’s Quarters, now museum, is off-limits to pets.

Dog-friendly Fort Anne National Historic Site

Locals walk dogs along the almost one-kilometre-long star-shaped perimeter path daily. What was once a military outpost in the 1700s, is now a Fido-friendly retreat in scenic Annapolis Royal, a 10-minute drive from the also dog-friendly Port Royal Historic Site in Nova Scotia, Canada.

“I don’t think there’s a dog breed I haven’t seen here,” says heritage presenter Eileen Doucet Walsh as she takes us on a tour of Fort Anne. “This is a very popular place for people in the area to bring their pets.” Of course, dogs must be leashed – and of course, dog-walking isn’t the site’s purpose, just a happy added benefit. Historic forts are usually located on swaths of green space along a waterfront, and Fort Anne is no exception. Perfect for exercising pups.

Fort Anne Historical Significance

Why is Fort Anne a national historic site? Fort Anne is one of the many historic sites across Canada falling under the umbrella of Parks Canada, a federal entity tasked with preserving not only the country’s national parks but protecting cultural heritage sites. Fort Anne is closely connected to nearby Port-Royal where French colonists settled in 1636, eventually spreading further along the Bay of Fundy shores.

Thanks to close relations with the first inhabitants of the region called the Mi’kmaq, 18th-century settlers were able to grow the area into a centre of Acadian (French) culture. However, as the colony grew so did tensions with English settlers, also making claim to the area and the country. From the early 1700s, five forts were built on this site during a 170-year period. Fort Anne has been attacked 13 times, finally falling to the British.

The British stationed soldiers at this site during the American Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the War of 1812. It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that it was named Fort Anne (after the Queen, of course), and closed as a functioning fort in 1854.

And the French? Many remained in Annapolis Royal to become the Acadians, a culture still prevalent in the region today. However, living under the British didn’t go well for long. Exile was eminent. You can learn about the 1775 Acadian explosion at Grand Pré Historic Site in Grand Pré, Nova Scotia on your way to Halifax (like we did – Grand Pré is dog-friendly, with limitations).

Dog-friendly Maritime Road Trip

Fort Anne is another stop along our maritime road trip with the dog that’s taken us from Saint John, New Brunswick, to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and now to the dog-friendly Parks Canada Historic Sites – first, Port Royal, second, Fort Anne, and next Kejimkujik National Park to stay in a dog-friendly oTENTIk .

Honestly, I wish I’d planned more time in Annapolis Royal, an area enticing me with the charm of small-town shops (one selling only ice cream and bird houses), a German bakery and craft breweries. A picnic in the park is almost mandatory.

 Picnic with Your Pup

Here’s an ideal way to have lunch with your dog: take advantage of the picnic lunch program through the Parks Canada website. You can pre-arrange a boxed lunch near select Parks Canada sites, including Fort Anne, and a red box is waiting for you at the participating restaurant of choice ready to be transported to a Fort Anne picnic table surrounded by 300 years of history.

Both the Bistro East and the German Bakery Sachsen Café and Restaurant are options in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. You’ll have to provide the dog snacks, however.

If you go to … dog-friendly Fort Anne Historic Site

Fort Anne Historic Site is located at 323 St. George St., Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

Nearby Fort-Royal is located at 53 Historic Lane, Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia.

Bistro East is at 274 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

German Bakery Sachsen Café & Restaurant is at 358 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and a travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.


  1. I love finding new dog friendly places, especially if they’re historic! What a beautiful place, with so much great history. I love the boxed lunch idea! Sharing.

    1. Thank you so much!

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