Granville Ferry is a small town (585) in the Annapolis Valley in the province of Nova Scotia on Canada's East Coast.
The Annapolis Valley runs for about 80 miles on the west side of province that borders the Bay of Fundy. The town is a two hour drive west from Halifax, the largest city and capital of the province, and sits on the shore of a large protected bay called the Annapolis Basin.
The basin has daily 25 foot tides and because of this the landscape is forever changing. Directly across the basin from Granville Ferry is the town of Annapolis Royal whose origins date back to the early 1600's. In the late 1800's there was a ferry that ran between the two communities; hence the name Granville Ferry.
Now they are connected by a causeway that boasts the world's only tidal electric generating plant. Annapolis Royal was once quite a bustling commercial port and the capital of Nova Scotia in the 1700's. Now its commerce is largely tourism and the town and the area are becoming quite a destination for travellers because of the well preserved natural and historic beauty. Annapolis, though not the commercial centre it once was, still has all the stores and banks and services in the area. This has the pleasant side-effect of leaving Granville Ferry virtually commercial free.
There are no stores in the Ferry save a small corner store. The community is as peaceful and quiet as is imaginable. The houses and buildings in Granville Ferry mostly date from the early 1800's up to 1900 and there are several larger sea captain's homes as well as some quainter small ones.
The church that houses the Granville Ferry Studio is the largest building in the town. It dates back to about 1878 and was originally a Methodist meeting hall. It became a United church in the 20's and then was sold to a group of crafts people in the late 70's. I bought it in 1989 and have since turned it into the Granville Ferry Studio. Its still quite original with its 85 foot clapboard steeple complete with a ringable bell, church windows and altar area. Champlain landed at Port Royal (about 8 miles up the road from the church) in 1605 and the area has been continuously inhabited by Europeans ever since. It makes it Canada's oldest European settlement - older in fact than Quebec City.
The road running through Granville Ferry is likely the oldest in the country. Needless to say the area is thick with historic sites and heritage homes all adding to the general peace and beauty of the area. The region bounced back and forth between the French and English for over a hundred years until the English finally won the day in the mid 1700's. It is from here that the Acadian's were expulsed in 1757. The Annapolis Basin was also the site of the first live theatre performance written and produced in Canada - way back in the early 1600's.
The valley is beautiful. The light is magical, the climate is ideal (in the summer), the scenery exquisite and the area has been attracting all kinds of artist for years. Many painters, sculpturers, photographers, writers and craftspeople already live in and around Granville Ferry. Now with the advent of the Granville Ferry Studio the area also has a professional performing arts presence. Things to do in the area include general sight seeing, whale watching, camping and cycling. Annapolis Royal has several good restaurants, Granville Ferry has two.
Annapolis has the usual smattering of businesses: 2 banks (the Royal and the Bank of Nova Scotia) 2 grocery stores, a hardware store, a liquor store, a theatre, 2 bars, a legion, a volunteer fire department, a good leather and book store, a health food store, a farmers market (on Saturday mornings) a large and stunning historic garden, a decent second hand clothing store a lot of antique and craft stores and some remarkably good restaurants. It also has a number of historic sites, homes and museums and a beautiful fort that dates back to the 1600s.