The community is on the southern shore of Chedabucto Bay. The southern limit of the bay is at Cape Canso, a headland approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) southeast of the community.
As the community is on the end of a peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, Canso frequently experiences fog, particularly during the warmer summer months when continental air temperatures collide with cooler ocean temperatures offshore.
The area was established in 1604, along with Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The British construction of a fort in the village (1720), was instrumental in contributing to Dummer's War (1722–1725). The town is of national historic importance because it was one of only two British settlements in Nova Scotia prior to the establishment of Halifax (1749). Canso played a key role in the defeat of Louisbourg. Today, the town attracts people internationally for the annual Stan Rogers Folk Festival.
Canso Harbour is protected by the Canso Islands, a small archipelago lying immediately north and east of the mainland, with Durells Island, Piscataqui Island, George Island, and Grassy Island being the largest.
Canso is the southeastern terminus of Trunk 16, an important secondary highway in Antigonish and Guysborough counties.
- 1 Canso Islands National Historic Site (Grassy Island Fort National Historic Site), 1465 Union Street, ☏ , . Jul 1-first Monday in Sep: 10AM-6PM. Grassy Island is home to the remains of an 18th-century fishing settlement and the ruins of a battle-ravaged stone fortress. The islands were designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1925 due to their role as an important fishing base for the French in the 16th century and the British during the 18th century, and as the staging point for the 1745 expedition against Louisbourg. "Grassy Island Fort", the remains of early 18th-century British fortifications (a 1720 redoubt, 1723–24 fort, and a 1745 blockhouse) on Grassy Island, was also individually designated as a National Historic Site in 1962. Free admission.
- Whitman House Museum, 1297 Union St, ☏ . Jun-Sep: daily 9AM-5PM. Illustrates the history of Canso Town and eastern Guysborough County, with exhibits from Canso Harbour. Guides will show you a bird’s-eye view of the town from the widow’s walk on the rooftop. Displays include panoramas of Canso, period furniture, photographs and other memorabilia. By donation.
- Stan Rogers Folk Festival: 25–28 July 2019. Named in honour of the late Nova Scotian folk singer-songwriter Stan Rogers and held in late-July, this festival brings a diverse range of folk artists from across Canada and around the world to Canso each summer. Main stage performances each evening, with more smaller, more intimate performances and workshops during the day. (date needs updating)
- Canso Regatta. Second week of August. This week-long event includes boat races, a mid-way, parade, seaman's memorial, hootenannies as well as various activities for the youth. The regatta draws many previous generations of the town to serve the purpose of a Come Home week. Each year, the regatta has a theme which is reflected in the parade.
- Marine Drive. A Scenic Route on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia starting at the Canso Causeway and ending at Halifax, with beaches, museums, and places to eat.
- Bond and Harts Market, 132 Main St. A convenience store.
- NSLC liquor Store on Highway 15 heading out of town.
- 1 A J's Dining Room & Lounge, 237 Main St, ☏ . Su-Th noon-8PM, F noon-10PM, Sa noon-11PM. Pub food, pizza, live music.
- 2 Harbour View Bakery/Cafe, 1315 Union St, ☏ . Daily noon-7PM. Sandwiches, wraps, fish and chips.
- Last Port Motel and Restaurant - see Sleep listings. Diner serving fish, chicken and burgers.
- 1 Last Port Motel, 10 Paris Branch Rd, Yellow Marsh, ☏ . Smoke-free rooms; fridge in every room; pet-friendly motel. Restaurant offers seafood, burgers, soups, chowders and dinner courses Single $80-95, double $90-100, double with full kitchen $100-110.
- Canso RV Park & Marina, 1639 Union St, ☏ . 15 amp service. An open campground hugging the shoreline, where populations of great blue herons, Atlantic puffins and sandpipers call home. 33 overnight sites, with electrical, water and sewage hook-ups as well as pull-throughs. Amenities include flush toilets, washrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and dump station. A boat launch, tuna boat charters, and saltwater fishing from shore are available. This is also an excellent area for sea kayaking. Pets welcome. Mid-May to October $26-30.
|Routes through Canso|
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