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The Annapolis Valley is a valley in the Canadianmarker province of Nova Scotiamarker. It is located in the western part of the Nova Scotia peninsulamarker, formed by a trough between two parallel mountain ranges along the shore of the Bay of Fundymarker.

Geography

The valley measures approximately 126 km in length from Digbymarker and the Annapolis Basinmarker in the west to Wolfvillemarker and the Minas Basinmarker in the east, spanning the counties of Digby, Annapolis and Kings.

Some also include the western part of Hants County, including the towns of Hantsportmarker and Windsormarker even further to the east, but geographically speaking they are part of the Avon Rivermarker valley.

The steep face of basaltic North Mountain shelters the valley from the adjacent Bay of Fundy and rises to almost 850 feet in elevation in some parts. The granitic South Mountainmarker also rises to similar elevation and shelters the valley from the climate of the Atlantic Ocean approximately 100 kilometres further south on the province's South Shoremarker.

The shelter provided by these two mountainous ridges has produced a "micro climate" which provides relatively mild temperatures for the region and, coupled with the fertile glacial sedimentary soils on the valley floor, the region is conducive to growing vegetable and fruit crops. Particularly famous for its apple crop, the valley hosts in excess of 1,000 farms of various types, the majority being relatively small family-owned operations.

Within the valley itself are two "major" rivers, the Annapolis Rivermarker which flows west from the Caribou Bog in the central part of the valley into the Annapolis Basinmarker, and the Cornwallis Rivermarker which flows east from Caribou Bog into the Minas Basinmarker. The North Mountain ridge forms the north side of the Annapolis Valley. Also flowing east, in two smaller valleys north of the Cornwallis River, are the Canard River and the Habitant River. Both of which also flow into the Minas Basin.

History

Long settled by the Mi'kmaq Nation, the valley experienced French settlement at the Habitation at Port-Royalmarker, near modern day Annapolis Royal in the western part of the valley, beginning in 1605. From there, the Acadians spread throughout the Valley, in various communities, building dykes to claim the tidal lands along the Annapolis and Cornwallis Rivers. They continued throughout the Annapolis Valley until the British-ordered expulsion of Acadians in 1755 which is memorialized at Grand Prémarker in the eastern part of the valley. New England Planters moved in to occupy the abandoned Acadian farming areas and the region also saw subsequent settlement by Loyalist refugees of the American Revolutionary War, as well as foreign Protestants. These were followed by significant numbers of freed Africans in the War of 1812, Irish immigrants in the mid 19th century and Dutch immigrants after World War II. Agriculture in the Annapolis valley boomed in the late 19th century with the arrival of the Windsor and Annapolis Railway, later the Dominion Atlantic Railway, which developed large export markets for Annapolis Valley apples.

Economy

Today, the Valley is still largely dominated by agriculture but also has a growing diversity in its economies, partly aided by the importance of post-secondary education centres provided by Acadia Universitymarker in Wolfville, and the Nova Scotia Community Collegemarker campuses located in Kentvillemarker, Middletonmarker, Lawrencetownmarker, and Digbymarker.

Michelin has an important truck tire manufacturing plant in Watervillemarker and the Department of National Defence has its largest air force base in Atlantic Canadamarker located at CFB Greenwoodmarker along with an important training facility at Camp Aldershot, near Kentville.

Tourism is also an important industry and the Annapolis Valley is known for its scenic farmland, although today much of it is threatened with suburban development from the Valley's towns. The valley also struggles with serious pollution from farm runoffs and residential sewers in its two major rivers, the Annapolis Rivermarker and the Cornwallis Rivermarker.

The Valley is home to the annual Apple Blossom Festival, held in late spring. Also, in July is the annual Steer B-B-Que in Kingston, and Heart of the Valley Festival in Middleton. August sees Mud Creek Days in Wolfville and the Annapolis Valley Exhibition in Lawrencetown. Farmers markets in Annapolis Royal, Middleton, Kentville, Kingsport and Wolfville bring a wealth of fresh produce and other fine goods to the public every week. In the fall there is the Pumpkin People in Kentville to entice the imagination.

Communities

Population centres in the valley from west to east include:



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