Canso to Queensport


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The Canso area was established as a fishing community by the French in 1604, along with Port Royal, making it one of the oldest European settlements in North America. The British fort established in the village in 1720 also played important roles in a number of European conflicts in North America. Today, this history is mixed with outstanding scenery, wonderful wildlife viewing, and is a bastion for traditional music in Canada. Add a spaceport which is coming soon, and you have Canso, a place having an appeal to many interests.

Our Nature

Black Duck Cove.

Black Duck Cove is a lovely day-use park with a boardwalk that leads to a beautiful sandy beach park with a shoreline walking trail.

Exploring the nature of the area begins with a visit to Black Duck Cove Provincial Park in Little Dover. On the way, you will enjoy the scenery of this vibrant fishing village and can see many gulls and seabirds in the waters along the way.  

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The park also has change houses, vault toilets, picnic tables, and more. The shoreline and forest trails harbour great birding and provide a wonderful wild example of a coastal forest, thick with mosses and old man’s beard. Take-in this must-see place and along the way, enjoy the many stones hand-painted by local volunteers. A delight.

The Boardwalk at Black Duck Cove

Our Nature

Canso Waterfront Trail.

Bring your binoculars and a camera. 

Leaving Little Dover, we bear right to take in the sites and sounds of Canso. The Waterfront Trail is a great place to orient on the community. The trail runs along the Canso waterfront overlooking Grassy Island. In the intervening harbour, there are always gulls and seabirds to observe, and the island often has Bald Eagles in tall trees and even on the lighthouse, overlooking the harbour and watching for an opportunistic meal. 

Canso Waterfront overlooking Grassy Island

Our Nature

Chapel Gully Trail.

On the southeast end of Canso, you will find the trail head for the Chapel Gully Trail.  

This trail has a short walking loop and a larger hike. The branch to the right leads you to the base of the gully along the salt marsh and includes a look-off tower which offers a view of Glasgow Harbour. You can choose the longer route and come to see French Cove. This loop also connects with the shorter trail route where you will be guided along natural pathways outfitted with squirrel and bird feeders. 

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There is also a long walking bridge that goes over an intertidal stream and salt marsh. Here you can spot marine periwinkles and shellfish. It is also a great birding area sometimes frequented by mink as well. This trail gives great access to coastal coniferous forest, wet areas with picture plants, salt marsh areas, and beautiful coastal vistas.

Detailed Information and Map on NS Trails.

Chapel Gully Trail in Canso

Our Nature

Spaceport Nova Scotia.

The Canso area has been selected as the proposed site for Canada’s first rocket launching facility. 

Spaceport Nova Scotia is planning to launch eight rockets with satellite payloads per year by the fifth year of its’ operation. Operating year-round, the facility will employ scientists, engineers, skilled trades, security, and fire services. Once opened, this will be a must-see facility that will have a visitor information centre and launch viewing area. Stay tuned.


Our Culture.

Canso is home to museums and lighthouses that celebrate the past and shoreline boardwalks and musical venues that reveal a truly vibrant community. While a quiet fishing village much of the year, the annual Stan Rogers Folk Festival expresses the other countenance of Canso. Popularly known as Stanfest, this event annually showcases grassroots musicians from Atlantic Canada and beyond, attracting thousands to this small community. Delight in Canso’s quaint, and at times, extraordinary cultural offers.

Commercial Cable Company Telegraph Office

For almost 100 years, Guysborough County played a significant role in the tele-communication industry, with multiple subsea cables coming ashore in various coastal communities. The Commercial Cable Company was built in 1884 in Hazel Hill and accepted news and events from Europe and the rest of the world until closing in 1962. Many significant world-news messages came through this station, most notably the devastating news of the sinking of the Titanic. Although the building was demolished in 2017, a granite foundation, interpretive panels and adjacent park still stand; with work underway to complete an interpretive tourism site.

Whitman House Museum

Canso has several cultural attractions that can be worked into a visit. One should start at Whitman House Museum, which is also the community Visitor Information Centre. There you can become oriented to the community, and as part of your museum visit, learn about the story of the community. Museum guides can also take you to the widow’s walk on the roof of the historic home to get a lovely panoramic view of the harbour and community.

Canso Islands National Historic Site

While on the waterfront, a must-see attraction is the Grassy Island Museum & Interpretive Centre. This Parks Canada facility has photographic and video displays, models, and 18th century artifacts. The historic site itself is on Grassy Island across the harbour from the museum. Check to see if the ferry is running and if it is, make the boat trip and enjoy the self-guided tour on the island interpretive trail. Here, you can feel the military and bustling commercial life of this area as it was over 200 years ago. 

Out of the Fog Lighthouse Museum

Leaving Canso and travelling on Highway 16 toward Guysborough, you will come upon Out of the Fog Lighthouse Museum. The museum is dedicated to interpreting life as it was maintaining and running lighthouses for the safety of mariners. Take in the many artifacts and enjoy the hospitality.

Queensport Lighthouse

Continuing with the lighthouse theme, you can see an island lighthouse for yourself from the lookoff and interpretive site at Queensport on Highway 16. Built in 1936, the lighthouse is the second most photographed lighthouse in the province and is located on Rook Island, a small island off the shore of Queensport harbour, in Chedebucto Bay.

Waterfront Kiosks

A new experience in the Canso region is the addition of 3 waterfront kiosks with seasonal vendors on the newly installed boardwalk leading to the Canso Waterfront Trail. A slipway for community boating has also been installed and more exciting additions such as a bandstand for local performances to be installed in 2024.

Community Events

The Stan Rogers Folk Festival, popularly known as Stanfest, takes place each year on the last weekend of July on the outskirts of Canso. This annual music festival was established in 1997 in honour of the late Canadian folk singer and songwriter, Stan Rogers. The festival bills itself as “Canada’s Songwriter Festival”, showcasing Canadian and worldwide grassroots musicians in all genres. The festival has won a number of awards and attracts over 10,000 music fans each year. Want to get the East Coast feeling, spend time at Stanfest!
The Route 16 Thunder Rally is an annual mid-August event. Canso welcomes riders to come share some good weather, good riding, good friends, good food and good music. This biker event includes camping, bonfires, live music, some meals, many festivities, and a poker run. All proceeds from this event help support ice time for local youth figure skating and hockey programs.

Harbour View Bakery

1315 Union Street, Canso
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Cove & Sea Cabin

367 Half Island Cove Road, Half Island Cove
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Seabreeze Campground

230 Fox Island Main, Fox Island
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Last Port Motel

10Paris Branch, Yellow Marsh
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Shore To Sea Cottage

83 Carter Road, Guysborough
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Quarry Cove

6640 Route 16, Halfway Cove
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A J’s Dining Room & Lounge

237 Main Street, Canso
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Last Port Motel Restaurant

10 Paris Branch Rd, Canso
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Out of The Fog Lighthouse Museum

Hwy 16, Half Way Cove
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Whitman House Museum

1297 Union Street, Canso
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Luna’s Lunch

44 Water Street, Canso

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MA’s Ice Cream

46 Water Street, Canso

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