Upcoming Events

The Black Loyalist Heritage Centre & Historical Site 
Open May 1
birchQ5732One of Canada’s best kept secrets, the largest free Black settlement in the 1780’s where people voted with their feet for freedom. This unique historical site is nestled in beautiful Birchtown Bay on the western shores of Shelburne Harbour, the third largest natural harbour in the world.

Come and enjoy a guided tour, search for your ancestral roots and learn about these courageous Nova Scotians.birchQ5832

Depending on the weather you may want to bring a picnic lunch and nourish yourself before you begin this extraordinary experience of the old and new.

Climb up the Shaw Turret where we commemorated all Black Loyalist communities as you overlook Birchtown Bay. Enter into the centre’s Lindsay Gallery and dive into the multimedia presentation of the Black Loyalist journey from Africa to the US then to Nova Scotia and back to Africa. Explore the virtual copy of the Carlton’s Book of Negroes and search for your ancestor who may have experienced part of this incredible journey.

birchQ5764Also explore our amazing archaeological pit which embodies this extraordinary narrative of the past and present. Have fun examining the archaeological artifacts excavated here in Birchtown.

Before you leave us please take the time to create a virtual quilt square that will tell us about your experience and how this story has impacted you and what you have learned.

Please continue to explore our site and visit our historical buildings including the Old School House and Saint Paul’s Church where you can view our Bunce Island exhibit and movie, the National Historic Monument that commemorated the 1783 Black Loyalist Landings of Nova Scotia, explore our Heritage Trail and visit the Pit House.

Be prepared to spend some time with us.

Admission is $8/adult; $5/senior (ages 65+); $5/youth age 6-17 and free for children 5 and under.  We also offer a Family Passes for $20 which includes 2 adults and maximum 3 children.

Please contact the administrative office to schedule a tour in the off season by calling 902-875-1310. *Please note the newly constructed Black Loyalist Heritage Centre will not be open to the public until May 1, 2015. 


The Journey Back to Birchtown Celebration

On June 5 starting at 7pm, we welcome renowned author of the Book of Negroes Lawrence Hill to the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre for an evening reading and a question and answer session.  Refreshments will be served.  Seating is limited.  Tickets are $10/person.  Advance tickets can be purchased at the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, 119 Old Birchtown Road.

We will mark our official grand opening, The Journey Back to Birchtown, on June 6.  The Journey Back to Birchtown will feature performances by African Nova Scotian artists and a multi-media stage presentation.  Performers include Juno award-winner JRDN, Jeremiah Sparks, Dutch Robinson, Shelley Hamilton, Cyndi Cain, Joe Sealey, the Nova Scotia Mass Choir, the Sierra Leone dancers, Shauntay Grant, Hillcrest Academy Djembe Group and many more. The program will also feature John Franklin of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and the Book of Negroes author Lawrence Hill.

Tours of the new facility will begin at 9am, keynote addresses in the am, procession of dignitaries from the Black Burial Ground, National Historic Monument at 1:30pm and entertainment will start at 2pm.

The performance venue will be outside, rain or shine, so please dress accordingly.  Seating is limited.  We encourage visitors to bring their own chairs.  Due to limited parking in Birchtown, there will be a free shuttle bus service transporting visitors from Shelburne to Birchtown every half hour.  The shuttle will pick up and drop off passengers at the Shelburne Community Centre parking lot.  The Birchtown Community Centre will be hosting a BBQ lunch.  Menu will include hamburgers, hotdogs, sausages and potato salad.  Price to be determined.

A celebratory dance featuring the Carson Downey Band, will be held at the Shelburne Community Centre, from 9pm to 1am for patrons 19+. Tickets are $10/person. Cash bar will be available.

Please continue to check our website for updates on the program.  We are currently working with the Chronicle Herald and CTV News to develop a marketing campaign to promote the Journey Back to Birchtown Celebration.       

For our out-of-town visitors looking for accommodations, the following businesses have indicated availability:

  • Sandy Lane Vacation Rentals (902-875-2729)
    • Elm Tree Cottage – 1 bedroom (queen bed)
    • Rosegate Cottage – 2 bedroom (1 queen 1 single)
    • Shorewood House – sleeps 7 people
    • Orchard Point – 3 bedroom (queen beds)
    • Rising Sun Guest House Ocean Front – sleeps 4
    • Heart of Ocean – 2 bedrooms (2 doubles, 2 singles, sleeps 6)
    • Castaway Ocean – sleeps 4 (2 queen) – hot tub
  • Barracks Cove Cottages (902-785-1537)
    • 3 cottages – 1 double, 2 queen)
  • Sable River Cottages (902-656-3071)
    • 3 cottages – 2 bedrooms each
  • Whispering Waves Cottages (902-637-3535)
    • 5 cottages – 2 bedroom (queen bed) + pull out sofa
  • Clyde River Cottages (902-637-3481)
    • 6 cottages – 2 bedroom
  • Roseway River Cottages (902-875-3812)
    • 4 cottages – 2 bedroom each
    • 1 cottage wheel chair accessible – 1 bedroom
  • Inner Harbour Inn (902-875-2862)
  • Sandy Cove Cottage (902-656-3212 or 902-875-6381)
    • 1 cottage – 2 bedroom (1 queen, 1 double with 2 futons, sleeps 6-8)

For a complete listing of accommodations and food services available in Shelburne, please visit




History on the Harbour Package – The Cooper’s Inn

Discover the rich history of Shelburne with this 2 night package. Harbour Package includes two nights at the Cooper’s Inn (best room available at the time of booking); happy hour each evening and breakfast each morning; dinner at award winning Charlotte Lane Restaurant ($50.00 certificate); 3 hour Harbour Boat Tour with Captain Ken & First Mate Sherri; and passes for three Shelburne Museums.

Tour Ross-Thomson House & Store. See how our Loyalist ancestors lived. Learn about the history of the Shelburne Dory and see one being built and finally peruse the collection of artifacts the museum has collected over the years.

Passes for the Black Loyalist Heritage Society’s Historical Site and Museum in Birchtown.

One of Canada’s best kept secrets, the largest free Black settlement in the 1780’s where people voted with their feet for freedom. The unique historical site is nestled in Birchtown Bay on the western shore of Shelburne Harbour, the third largest natural harbour in the world.

A copy of the book “King’s Bounty: A History of Early Shelburne Nova Scotia” by Marion Robertson.

$499.00 per couple (all taxes included)

More information can be found at:










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