TORONTO - Prestigious acclaim for Atlantic Canada, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), approves the Cliffs of Fundy in Nova Scotia as a Global Geopark.
The designation emphasizes the international geological significance of the area. It draws people to explore the connection between nature, cultural heritage and local communities.
One of fifteen new Global Geoparks this year, the Cliffs of Fundy was given the designation by UNESCO at last week’s meeting in Paris. Discovery Global Geopark, located in Newfoundland Labrador also received recognition by UNESCO. Worldwide, there are 161 Global UNESCO Geoparks in 44 countries.
Currently, there are a total of five geoparks In Canada. Four are located in eastern Canada and one in the west. A point of interest for our Italian readers, there are nine UNESCO Global Geoparks in Italy.
Through the collaboration of municipalities, indigenous communities, geologists, businesses, tourism operators and local inhabitants, the idea of the geopark came to life.
The Cliffs of Fundy Geopark edges the north shore of the Minas Basin, an inlet in the Bay of Fundy, the only shores in the world with the highest tides. The geopark spans 125km and contains more than forty geosites.
It is the only place on Earth where you can find evidence of Pangaea, the supercontinent which existed about 300 million years ago (during the Permian period) and its fragmentation 100 million years later to resemble the modern world.
Visitors to the geopark can see Canada’s oldest dinosaur fossils, magnificent landscapes steeped in Mi’kmaq legends and experience Acadian traditions and culture. The Acadians were descendants of the French who settled in the region during the 17th and 18th centuries. The varied landscape of hills, mountains, valleys, forests and coastal marshlands showcase the biodiversity which include rare birds, fungi and vegetation.
The Mi’kmaq are a First Nations people indigenous to the areas now known as Canada’s Atlantic Provinces. Inhabitants of the coastal region for more than 11,000 years, they were the area’s first geologists.
One legend is that of a famous figure in Mi’kmaw culture (Glooscap), who brought peace and restored balance to the world.
At a time where communities in Nova Scotia are still recovering from the recent tragedy of the mass shootings, the designation provides an opportunity to boost the pride for Nova Scotia and the morale of its people.
The prestigious acclaim brings lucrative promise for the tourism sector and the local economy as it recovers from the consequences brought on by Covid-19 and the imposed restrictions.
During a time where Canadians are looking to experience and explore their “own backyard” the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark may offer a wonderful experience.