AULAC, N.B. – A Parks Canada promotion to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday led to a dramatic increase in visits to historic Fort Beausejour/Fort Cumberland.
Mathieu d’Astous, Parks Canada national historic site and visitor experience manager, said there were 64 per cent more visitors to the fort that’s located near the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border.
“It was a very successful year for the fort and we saw a lot more people visit,” d’Astous said. “People really answered the call and took advantage of the free admission program.”
The past year saw more than 16,000 visits to Fort Beausejour compared to just over 10,000 the year before. d’Astous said visitation has been increasing at Beausejour in recent years by an average of 15 to 25 per cent.
He’s not sure why visitation has been increasing but added it could be because more people are showing an interest in learning more about their history.
“I think with Canada 150 people had much more of an interest in learning more about their history and where they came from. The discovery program gave them the incentive to explore places they’ve never been too or, in some cases, people were rediscovering sites they were too before.”
Throughout the year there were a number of other events at Beausejour designed to compliment the Discovery Pass program. One of those were the Guitar Wars in September that featured professional players playing at the fort along with workshops on the history of the fort and the new Beaubassin view park on the Nova Scotia side of the border.
He’s hoping more people will come out to the fort next summer.
The 2017 Discovery Pass program allowed Canadians to apply for a free pass that would get them into any Parks Canada site across the country. There is no regional breakdown available, but it’s believed there were more than two million orders for the passes.
d’Astous said the pass program led to increased visitation around the Maritimes and at other locations across the country.