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Blomidon Provincial Park

Theatre of the world's highest tides

Address

3138 Pereau Road, Canning, NS B0P 1H0, Canada

GPS: 45.263951, -64.342808

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Established in the 1970s, Blomidon Provincial Park is located near the community of Kentville in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, its high red sandstone cliffs are home to the world’s highest tides in the Bay of Fundy. The tidal range, the height difference between high tide and low tide, can reach 16 metres. These extreme tides occur twice a day and are five times higher than those on the European Atlantic coast. They play an important biological role as a refuge for a large number of fauna and support the development of a diversity of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The coastal geology of Blomidon Provincial Park consists mainly of sedimentary and basaltic sandstones linked to the narrow North Mountain Range (200 million years old).

Blomidon Provincial Park covers a small area of 15 km², the majority of which is forest and wetland. It is home to many migratory birds that come to feed in the mudflats formed by the tidal phenomenon. This natural site is part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN), which aims to protect the nesting and breeding sites of shorebirds. Birdwatching and the impressive spectacle of the high tides in the Bay of Fundy (270 kilometres long, 80 kilometres wide) are the main attractions of Blomidon Provincial Park. Offshore, the fish-filled waters of Grand Manan Basin are one of the most prolific fishing reserve in the region. It is a breeding and feeding area for a dozen species of whales. These include the humpback whale (up to 18 metres long and 30 tonnes in weight) and the North Atlantic right whale. Endangered, this variety of cetacean was hunted extensively from the 16th to the 19th centuries for its oil before benefiting from protection measures and recovery programmes.

A network of four interconnected hiking trails, suitable for all levels of fitness, allow visitors to explore the beautiful scenery of Blomidon Provincial Park. They overlook the Minas Basin, famous for its red sand beaches nestled on a peninsula between Cape Split and Cape Blomidon.

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  • The spectacle of high tides (a sudden and impressive natural phenomenon that occurs twice a day); the transformation of the landscape between high and low tides (the biggest tidal range in the world); the natural environment of the Bay of Fundy (a huge arm of the sea separating the Canadian provinces from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick)
  • The abundance of fauna (whales, sperm whales, grey seals, beavers, moose, peregrine falcons…); the quantity of migratory birds, crustaceans, molluscs, plankton, fish, lobsters and krill (small cold-water shrimp); the diversity of flora (bogland, carnivorous plants, mist forests, algae, marine plants…)
  • Barefoot walking on the beach at low tide; outdoor leisure activities (hiking, climbing, mountain biking…); coastal wetlands of Blomidon Provincial Park
  • Waterfalls or cliffs along the park’s hiking trails (Jodrey Trail, Borden Brook Trail, The Woodland Trail and Look-Off Trail)
  • Picnic areas and viewing points; North Atlantic right whale in the Bay of Fundy; tern, gull and puffin colonies on Machias Seal Island
  • The natural sites of Scots Bay, Cape Blomidon, Cape Split and Minas Basin (whale watching); the Annapolis Valley inland (fruit and wine country); the Petitcodiac River on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy, where a tidal bore occurs every lunar cycle (every 27 days on average)
  • The museums Prescott House, Haliburton House and Shand House; Fort Edward (this National Historic Site of Canada is of the oldest buildings in the area dating from 1750)
  • 300 million year old fossils; roads along the Bay of Fundy (to Digby to the west or Burncoat Head Park in Minas Basin to the east)
  • The possibility of camping in the heart of the park (open from mid-May to mid-September)
  • The Blomidon Provincial Park and Bay of Fundy region remains the ancestral land of the Miꞌkmaq, Indians who settled on the northeastern coast of the United States over 10,000 years ago. It was then inhabited until 1755 by the Acadians, a French-speaking people descended from the first settlers in America (mostly French and Scottish). Victims of a conflict between France and Great Britain for the control of this land, they were savagely expropriated, expelled and deported by the British to other colonial regions in North America or sent back to France.
  • The Bay of Fundy’s strong currents and eddies help to create a unique biotope. In total, the Bay of Fundy stirs up a phenomenal 160 billion m3 of water every day. This environment, subject to the rhythm of the tides and the water cycle, contains an immense reservoir of food as well as a large area of biodiversity. It attracts marine mammals as well as marine and migratory birds.
  • Protected since 1935, the North Atlantic right whale population now numbers only 400 individuals in North Atlantic waters.
  • The Bay of Fundy has the largest concentration of lobsters in the world. A large American (or Canadian) lobster can grow to nearly a metre in length, weigh 20 kilograms and live up to 50 years.
  • The Canadian government recently invested $20 million to restore the original salt marsh and reinforce the dykes along the Bay of Fundy. Once completed, this will reduce tidal erosion, limit coastal flooding and protect agricultural land. These salt marshes play an important role in buffering against sea level rise.
  • A tidal energy project (linked to the movement of water created by the tides) is being deployed to harness the strong tides in the Bay of Fundy. This technology, installed on a floating platform, aims to generate renewable energy from the force of the waves.
  • Watching the dramatic changes in the Bay of Fundy landscape for a day is a beautiful show. Be sure to arrive just before the start of the low tide cycle and take a picnic lunch with you.
  • Blomidon Provincial Park has shaded pitches for on-site camping. Group pitches with kitchen shelter and fire grills are also available on reservation.
  • If you are an experienced hiker, you will be enchanted by the trail to Cape Split and the magnificent views over Scots Bay. A map of the park with the location of facilities, services and hiking trails is available online.
  • Beware of the sudden rise in water if you walk on the beach at low tide (check the tide times beforehand).
  • If you wish to visit a wine estate and experience a wine tasting, it is advisable to make an appointment at least one day in advance.

Where to eat

  • Pizza Twice
    (the best pizza around)
  • Dickie Baxter Taproom & Bistro
    (the brunch is excellent)
  • Halls Harbour Lobster Pound
    (amazing lobster bisque)

Where to go

  • Blomidon Estate Winery
    (tasting of local wines)
  • Route des vins d'Annapolis
    (15-stage road circuit)
  • Paysage de Grand Pré
    (memorial site for Acadians)

Where to stay

  • Greensboro Inn
    (cheap motel)
  • Delft Haus Bed & Breakfast
    (excellent welcome)
  • Farmhouse Inn
    (spacious and comfortable)

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