People were on their feet Saturday morning in Grand Pré, celebrating the announcement that the National Historic Site is receiving UNESCO World Heritage designation.

The United Nations World Heritage committee made the long-awaited decision in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Members of the Société Promotion Grand-Pré sat at the edge of their seats, watching a webcast of the final vote. They've been working towards the designation since 2007. One man, so overcome with emotion, called the announcement one of the happiest days of his life.


People were overjoyed to hear UNESCO's decision. (CBC)

Grand Pré, located in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley, was the centre of Acadian settlement from 1682 to 1755. It also honours the deportation of Acadians, which began in 1755 and continued until 1762.

In a release, the Société said the designation will cover the red cliffs of Cape Blomidon to the tides of the Bay of Fundy. They called it a great day for Acadians around the world.

Two members of the committee travelled to Russia to participate in the discussions leading up to the decision.

UNESCO World Heritage Convention aims at preserving cultural and environmental heritage in sites around the world. Other UNESCO sites include the Great Wall of China and the pyramids in Egypt. Grand Pre qualified under the cultural landscape category.

In addition to the national historic site, the newly designated area includes the communities of Grand Pre and Hortonville.

It encompasses more than 1,300 hectares of land and properties.

Eleven of Canada's 16 UNESCO heritage sites are at least partially managed by Parks Canada.

With files from The Canadian Press.