This 268 mile ride follows the shore of the Minas Basin. This part of the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. Nova Scotia calls this the Glooscap Trail. From Wikipedia: “According to a Mikmaq legend, Glooscap was a giant god-like man who was created by Gisoolg (the Great Spirit Creator) and lived on the high cliffs of Cape Blomidon, overlooking the Bay of Fundy. He was created by a lightning bolt striking sand. The legend credits Glooscap with creating the Five Islands in the Minas Basin. These islands were formed from giant clods of mud thrown by Glooscap at a disrespectful beaver (the beaver’s dam had flooded Glooscap’s garden). Glooscap smashed the beaver’s dam and allowed the water to flow freely, creating the Bay of Fundy tides.”
Highlights include Landscape of Grand Pré, the Acadian Deportation Cross Memorial, Walton Lighthouse, Burncoat Head Park, the Fundy Trail Interpretive Center, Masstown, Parrsboro, and the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.
The ride begins by riding Route 1 and Old Post Rd east to the Landscape of Grand Pré View Park. Grand-Pré (Great Meadow) was founded in about 1680 by French settlers. The fertility of the soils became evident and the new Acadians built dykes to create several thousand acres of productive farmland.
During the French and Indian War, the Acadians were expelled from Grand-Pré. This expulsion was later immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his epic poem Evangeline.
Nearby is the Acadian Deportation Cross Memorial that marks the site of embarkation of over 2,000 Acadian farmers and tradesmen and their families in 1755. Many died of disease or starvation on board ship.
Follow Gaspereau River Road and Route 1 east over the Avon River. Ride some nice curves on Route 14 and then ride Route 215 north along the Avon River to the Minas Basin. Ride Route 215 east. The tides get larger and larger as the basin narrows as it approaches Truro. Stop at the Walton Lighthouse (free, restrooms, look-off, telescope, museum) for a great view. Continue east on Route 215 to Burncoat Head Park. Burntcoat Head Park (free, restrooms, gift shop) is home to the world’s highest recorded tides. At low tide you can walk the ocean bottom and admire the shoreline and caves carved by the massive tides. (Tide Schedule.)
Ride east to Maitland and then south along the Shubenacadie River. Stop in South Maitland at the Fundy Tidal Interpretive Center (restrooms – see website for tide schedule). Learn about the tidal bore and watch the tidal bore pass by. They offer a free guided walk to watch the river change direction and rise 10 feet in 30 minutes.
Cross the Salmon River on Route 102 and the turn left on Route 2 and follow the Minas Basin west. Stop for lunch and gas in Masstown. Good lunch choices include the Catch of the Bay Fish and Chip Boat and the restaurant in the Masstown Market.
Ride west on Route 2 along the Basin. Another good lunch choice is Diane’s Restaurant in Five Islands. Continue west to Parrsboro. Stop at Parrsboro Tidal Park for a nice view of a 180 degree bend of the Parrsboro River. This is another great place to see the Minas Basin tides (Tide Schedule.)
***Route note. I really wanted to include the ride on Route 209 west from Parrsboro to Advocate Harbour, but it made this ride too long for many. If you got an early start and wish a longer ride, consider this fun ride.***
Turn north on Route 2 and ride it and Route 302 to Amherst. Take Route 16, Route 960, and Route 955 north to the Confederation Bridge (free in this direction) to Prince Edward Island. From Wikipedia: “The Confederation Bridge (French: Pont de la Confédération) is a box girder bridge carrying the Trans-Canada Highway across the Abegweit Passage of the Northumberland Strait, linking the province of Prince Edward Island with the mainland province of New Brunswick. Opened May 31, 1997, the 12.9-kilometre (8.0 mi) bridge is Canada’s longest bridge and the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water.”
Turn left on Route 10 and ride northwest to St. Peter’s Church. Pull into the parking lot and look back for a great view of the bridge.
Leave the church and follow Route 10, Route 1A, and Water street to Summerside.