Charles Fort is located on – or, more accurately, below - the grounds of Fort Anne National Historic Site on Nova Scotia’s Annapolis River. Constructed nearly 400 years ago, the fort was the original headquarters for the colony of Nova Scotia, or New Scotland, settled in 1629 by 70 hardy souls under the command of Sir William Alexander. The province owes its name and flag to those early Scottish pioneers.

Today, the remains of the fort are concealed underground, marked by a commemorative plaque. But for visitors, the site and its commanding view of the Annapolis River and Goat Island evokes the spirit and struggles of some of Canada’s earliest settlers, as well as the fierce European rivalries that would play out here.

Charles Fort was ceded in 1632 to the French, who would later build multiple forts on the same spot. The last of these survives as today’s Fort Anne.