Nova Scotia ( ; Latin for New Scotland; ; ) is a Canadian
southeastern coast. It is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. Its capital, Halifax, is a major economic centre of the region.
Nova Scotia is the second-smallest province in Canada with an area
of . Its population of 939,531 makes it the fourth-least-populous
province of the country, though second-most-densely
Nova Scotia's economy is traditionally largely resource-based, but
has diversified since the middle of the 20th century. Industries
such as fishing
remain very important and have been
joined by tourism
, and finance
province includes several regions of the Mi'kmaq nation of Mi'gma'gi, which covered all of
the Maritimes, as well as parts of Maine, Newfoundland and the Gaspé Peninsula.
Nova Scotia was already home to the Mi'kmaq
people when the first European colonists arrived. In 1604, French colonists
established the first permanent European settlement north of
Florida at Port Royal, founding what would become known as Acadia.
obtained control of the region between 1713 and 1760,
and established a new capital at Halifax in 1749. In 1867 Nova Scotia
was one of the founding provinces of the Canadian Confederation, along with
Brunswick, and the
Province of Canada (which became
the separate provinces of Quebec and Ontario).
named after Scotland, and today people of Scottish descent are still the
largest ethnic group in the province.
province's mainland is the Nova Scotia peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, including numerous bays and estuaries.
Nowhere in Nova Scotia is more than from the ocean. Cape Breton
Island, a large island to the
northeast of the Nova Scotia mainland, is also part of the
province, as is Sable
Island, a small island notorious for its shipwrecks, approximately from the province's
southern coast. Nova Scotia is Canada's second-smallest
province in area (after Prince Edward Island).
Nova Scotia is also Canada's
most-southern-centered province even though it does not have the
most-southern location in Canada, which is in Ontario. Because part
of Ontario stretches far to the north, Ontario's centre is further
north than Nova Scotia's.Image:Nova Scotia-map-2.png|Map of Nova
ScotiaImage:Nova Scotia from space.jpg|A satellite photo of Nova
Nova Scotia lies in the mid-temperate zone and, although the
province is almost surrounded by water, the climate is closer to
rather than maritime
. The temperature extremes of the
continental climate are moderated by the ocean.
Described on the provincial vehicle-licence plate as Canada's Ocean
Playground, the sea is a major influence on Nova Scotia's climate.
Nova Scotia's cold winters and warm summers are modified and
generally moderated by ocean influences. The province is
surrounded by three major bodies of water, the Gulf of
Saint Lawrence to the north, the Bay of Fundy to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and east.
While the constant
termperature of the Atlantic Ocean moderates the climate of the
south and east coasts of Nova Scotia, heavy ice build-up in the
Gulf of Saint Lawrence makes winters colder in northern Nova
Scotia; the shallowness of the Gulf's waters mean that they warm up
more than the Atlantic Ocean in the summer, warming the summers in
northern Nova Scotia.
Rainfall varies from in the south to elsewhere. Nova Scotia is also
very foggy in places, with Halifax averaging 196 foggy days per
year and Yarmouth 191.
The average annual temperatures are:
- Spring from to
- Summer from to
- Fall about to
- Winter about to
Due to the ocean's moderating effect Nova Scotia is the warmest of
the provinces in Canada. Nova Scotia also has a fairly wide but not
extreme temperature range, a late and long summer, skies that are
often cloudy or overcast; frequent coastal fog and marked
changeability of weather from day to day. The main factors
influencing Nova Scotia's climate are:
- The effects of the westerly winds
- The interaction between three main air masses which converge on
the east coast
- Nova Scotia's location on the routes of the major
- The modifying influence of the sea.
Because Nova Scotia juts out into the Atlantic, it is prone to
tropical storms and hurricanes in the summer and autumn. However
due to the relatively cooler waters off the coast of Nova Scotia,
tropical storms are usually weak by the time they reach Nova
Scotia.There have been 33 such storms, including 12 hurricanes,
since records were kept in 1871—about once every four years. The
last hurricane was category-one Hurricane Kyle
in September 2008, and
the last tropical storm was Tropical Storm Noel in 2007 (downgraded
from Hurricane Noel
by the time the
storm reached Nova Scotia).
camped at locations in
present-day Nova Scotia approximately 11,000 years ago.
are believed to have been
present in the area between 1,000 and 5,000 years ago.
, the First
of the province and region, are their direct
most widely believed that the Venetian explorer John Cabot, sailing under the English flag,
visited present-day Cape Breton in 1497. The first European settlement in Nova
Scotia was established more than a century later in 1604.
French, led by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts
established the first capital for the colony Acadia at Port
Royal that year at the head of the Annapolis
Also, French fishermen established a
settlement at Canso
the same year.
the Plymouth Council
for New England, under King
James VI & I designated the whole shorelines of Acadia and
the Mid-Atlantic colonies south to the Chesapeake Bay as New England.
The first documented Scottish settlement in
the Americas was of Nova Scotia in 1621. On 29 September 1621, the
charter for the foundation of a colony was granted by James VI to
Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling
and, in 1622, the first
settlers left Scotland
settlement initially failed because of difficulties in obtaining a
sufficient number of skilled emigrants, and in 1624 James VI
created a new order of baronets
to this order was obtained by sending six labourers or artisans,
sufficiently armed, dressed and supplied for two years, to Nova
Scotia, or by paying 3,000 merk
William Alexander. For six months, no one took up this offer until
James compelled one to make the first move.
In 1627, there was a wider uptake of baronetcies and thus more
settlers available to go to Nova Scotia. However, in 1627, war
broke out between England and
France, and the French re-established a settlement at Port
Royal which they had originally settled.
Later that year, a
combined Scottish and English force destroyed the French
settlement, forcing them out. In 1629, the first Scottish
settlement at Port Royal was inhabited. The colony's charter,
in law, made Nova Scotia (defined as all land between Newfoundland and New England) a part of mainland Scotland; this
was later used to get around the English navigation acts.
However, this did
not last long: in 1631, under King
, the Treaty of Suza
signed which returned Nova Scotia to the French. The Scots were
forced by Charles to abandon their mission before their colony had
been properly established, and the French assumed control of the
Mi'kmaq and other First Nations territory.
In 1654, King Louis XIV of
appointed aristocrat Nicholas
as Governor of Acadia and granted him the confiscated
lands and the right to all its minerals. English colonists captured
Acadia in the course of King
, but England returned the territory to France in
the Treaty of Ryswick
at the end
of the war. The territory was recaptured by forces loyal to Britain
during the course of Queen Anne's
, and its conquest was confirmed by the Treaty of Utrecht
of 1713. France retained
possession of Île St Jean (Prince Edward Island) and Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), on which it
established a fortress at Louisbourg to guard the sea approaches to Quebec.
fortress was captured by American colonial forces
then returned by the British to France in 1748, then captured again
during the French and Indian
, in 1758.
mainland Nova Scotia became a British colony in 1713, although
Samuel Vetch had a precarious hold on
the territory as governor from the fall of Acadian Port-Royal
Royal) in October 1710.
officials became increasingly concerned over the unwillingness of
the French-speaking, Roman Catholic Acadians
, who were the majority of colonists, to
pledge allegiance to the British
, then George
. The colony remained mostly Acadian despite the
establishment of Halifax as the province's capital, and the
settlement of a large number of foreign Protestants
(some French and
Swiss but mostly German) at Lunenburg in 1753. In 1755, the British
forcibly expelled over 12,000 Acadians in what became known as the
, or Great
. The Acadians were scattered across the Atlantic, in
the Thirteen Colonies, Louisiana, Quebec, Britain and France. Very
few eventually returned to Nova Scotia .
At the same time the British Crown began bestowing land grants in
Nova Scotia on favored subjects to encourage settlement and trade
with the mother country. In June 1764, for instance, the Boards of
Trade requested the King make massive land grants to such Royal
favorites as Thomas Pownall, Richard Oswald, Humphry Bradstreet,
John Wentworth, Thomas
Thoroton and Lincoln's
Inn barrister Levett
Two years later, in 1766, at a gathering at the
home of Levett Blackborne, an adviser to the Duke of Rutland,
Oswald and his friend James Grant
released from their Nova Scotia properties so they could
concentrate on their grants in British East
The colony's jurisdiction changed during this time. Nova Scotia was
granted a supreme court in 1754 with the appointment of Jonathan Belcher
and a Legislative Assembly
1758. In 1763 Cape Breton Island became part of Nova Scotia. In
1769, St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) became a
separate colony. The county of Sunbury was created in 1765, and included all of the
territory of current day New Brunswick and eastern Maine as far as
the Penobscot River. In 1781, the French
Navy successfully fought the Naval battle of Louisbourg
against the Royal Navy, as a result of
alliance against Great Britain. In 1784 the western, mainland portion of the
colony was separated and became the province of New Brunswick, and
the territory in Maine entered the control of the newly independent
American state of Massachusetts.
Cape Breton became a separate colony in
1784 only to be returned to Nova Scotia in 1820.
During the colonial period, Nova
Scotia issued its own postage stamps printed in England.
This distinctive diamond shape (issued between 1851 and 1857)
was also used by neighbouring New Brunswick.
Nova Scotia stamp issued 1860.
Ancestors of more than half of present-day Nova Scotians arrived in
the period following the Acadian
. Between 1759 and 1768, about 8,000 New England Planters
Governor Charles Lawrence
for settlers from the New England colonies. Several years later,
approximately 30,000 United
Empire Loyalists (American Tories) settled in Nova Scotia (when
it comprised present-day Maritime
Canada) following the defeat of the British in the American Revolutionary
Of these 30,000, 14,000 went to New Brunswick and
16,000 went to Nova Scotia. Approximately 3,000 of this group were
Black Loyalists, about a third of
whom soon relocated themselves to Sierra Leone in 1792 via the Committee for the
Relief of the Black Poor, becoming the Original settlers of Freetown.
Large numbers of Gaelic-speaking
emigrated to Cape
Breton and the western part of the mainland during the late 18th
century and 19th century. In 1812 Sir Hector Maclean (the
7th Baronet of Morvern and 23rd
Chief of the Clan Maclean) emigrated to
Pictou from Glensanda
and Kingairloch in Scotland
with almost the entire population of 500.
Sir Hector is
buried in the cemetry at Pictou.
thousand Ulster-Scots settled in
mainly central Nova Scotia during this time, as did just over a
thousand farming migrants from Yorkshire and Northumberland between 1772 and 1775.
Nova Scotia was the first colony in British North America
and in the
to achieve responsible government
January-February 1848 and become self-governing
through the efforts of
. Pro-Confederate premier
led Nova Scotia into
the Canadian Confederation
1867, along with New Brunswick and the Province of Canada
In the provincial election of 1868, the Anti-Confederation Party
won 18 out
of 19 federal seats, and 36 out of 38 seats in the provincial
legislature. For seven years, William
and Joseph Howe led the ultimately unsuccessful fight to
convince British imperial authorities to release Nova Scotia from
Confederation. The government was vocally against Confederation,
contending that it was no more than the annexation of the province
to the pre-existing province of Canada:
A motion passed by the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 1868
refusing to recognise the legitimacy of Confederation has never
been rescinded. Repeal, as anti-confederation became known, would
rear its head again in the 1880s, and transform into the Maritime Rights Movement
1920s. Some Nova Scotia flags
flew at half mast on Dominion Day
late as that time.
According to the 2001 Canadian census the largest ethnic group in
Nova Scotia is Scottish
followed by English
(1.3%), and Acadian
(1.2%). Peoples of European descent thus
make up approximately 96.8% of the total population. Almost half of
all respondents (47.4%) identified their ethnicity as
Top Ten Counties by Population
The 2006 Canadian census
population of 913,462.
Of the 899,270 singular responses to the census question concerning
'mother tongue' the most-commonly reported languages were:
In addition, there were also 105 responses of both English and a
'non-official language'; 25 of both French and a 'non-official
language'; 495 of both English and French; 10 of English, French,
and a 'non-official language'; and about 10,300 people who either
did not respond to the question, or reported multiple non-official
languages, or else gave some other unenumerated response. Figures
shown are for the number of single language responses and the
percentage of total single-language responses.
The largest denominations by number of adherents according to the
2001 census were the Roman
with 327,940 (37 %); the United Church of Canada
(16 %); and the Anglican
Church of Canada
with 120,315 (13 %).
Nova Scotia's traditionally resource-based economy
has become more
diverse in recent decades. The rise of Nova Scotia as a viable
jurisdiction in North America was driven by the ready availability
of natural resources, especially the fish stocks off the Scotian
shelf. The fishery
was pillar of the economy
since its development as part of the economy of New France
in the 17th century. However, the
fishery suffered a sharp decline due to overfishing
in the late twentieth century. The
collapse of the cod stocks
closure of this sector resulted in a loss of approximately 20,000
jobs in 1992. Per capita GDP in 2005 was $31,344, lower
than the national average per capita GDP of $34,273 and less than
half that of Canada's richest province, Alberta.
Due, in part, to a strong small-business
sector, Nova Scotia now has
one of the fastest-growing economies in Canada. Small business
makes up 92.2% of the provincial economy. Mining, especially of
and salt and to a lesser extent
, is also a significant sector. Since 1991,
offshore oil and gas
has become an
increasingly important part of the economy. Agriculture
remains an important sector in the
province. In the central part of Nova Scotia, lumber and paper
industries are responsible for
much of the employment opportunities. Nova Scotia’s defence and
aerospace sector generates approximately $500 million in revenues
and contributes about $1.5 billion to the provincial economy
annually. Nova Scotia has the fourth-largest film industry
in Canada hosting over 100
productions yearly, more than half of which are the products of
international film and television producers.
The Nova Scotia tourism
more than 6,500 direct businesses, supporting nearly 40,000 jobs.
cruise ship passengers from around the
world flow through the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia each year.
Halifax ranks among
the top five most cost-effective places to do business when
compared to large international centres in North America, Europe
Government and politics
The government of Nova Scotia is a parliamentary democracy. Its
unicameral legislature, the Nova Scotia House of Assembly
consists of fifty-two members. As Canada's head of state, Queen Elizabeth II
is the head of Nova
Scotia's Executive Council, which serves as the Cabinet
of the provincial government.
Her Majesty's duties in Nova Scotia are carried out by her
representative, the Lieutenant-Governor
Mayann E. Francis
. The government is headed by the
, who took office June 19, 2009. Halifax is home to the
House of Assembly and Government House, the residence of the
The province's revenue comes mainly from the taxation of personal
and corporate income, although taxes on tobacco and alcohol, its
stake in the Atlantic
, and oil and gas royalties are also
significant. In 2006-07, the Province passed a budget of
$6.9 billion, with a projected $72 million surplus.
Federal equalization payments account for $1.385 billion, or
20.07% of the provincial revenue. While Nova Scotians have enjoyed
balanced budgets for several years, the accumulated debt exceeds
$12 billion (including forecasts of future liability, such as
pensions and environmental cleanups), resulting in slightly over
$897 million in debt servicing payments, or 12.67% of
expenses. The province participates in the HST
, a blended sales tax collected by
the federal government using the GST
Nova Scotia has elected three minority governments
over the last
decade. The Progressive Conservative government of John Hamm
, and Rodney
, has required the support of the New Democratic Party
election in 2003. Nova Scotia's politics
are divided on regional lines in such a way that it has become
difficult to elect a majority government. Rural mainland Nova
Scotia has largely been aligned behind the Progressive Conservative
Party, Halifax Regional Municipality has overwhelmingly supported
the New Democrats, with Cape Breton voting for Liberals with a few Progressive
Conservatives and New Democrats.
This has resulted in a
three-way split of votes on a province-wide basis for each party
and difficulty in any party gaining a majority.
Halifax, provincial capital
The most recent election of June 9, 2009, elected 31 New Democrats
, 11 Liberals,
and 10 Progressive
resulting in Nova Scotia's first New Democratic
government, and first majority government in almost a decade.
Nova Scotia no longer has any incorporated cities; they were
amalgamated into Regional
in 1996. Halifax, the provincial capital, is now part of the Halifax
Regional Municipality, as is Dartmouth, formerly the province's second largest
city. The former cities of Sydney and Glace Bay are now part of the Cape Breton
of Assembly passed a motion in 2004 inviting the Turks and Caicos Islands to join
the province, should these Caribbean islands renew their wish to join Canada.
The Minister of Education is responsible for the administration and
delivery of education, as defined by the Education Act and other
acts relating to colleges, universities and private schools. The
powers of the Minister and the Department of Education are defined
by the Ministerial regulations and constrained by the
Nova Scotia has more than 450 public schools for children. The
public system offers primary to Grade 12. There are also some
private schools in the province. Public education is administered
by seven regional school boards, responsible primarily for English
instruction and French immersion, and also province-wide by the
, which administer French instruction to
students for whom the primary language is French.
Community College system has 13 campuses around the province.
The community college, with its focus on training and education,
was established in 1988 by amalgamating the province's former
addition to its community college system the province has 11
universities, including Dalhousie University, University of King's College, Saint Mary's University , Mount Saint Vincent
University, NSCAD University, Acadia University, Université Sainte-Anne, Saint Francis Xavier
University, Nova Scotia Agricultural
College, Cape Breton University, and the Atlantic School of Theology.
There are also more than 40 registered private commercial colleges
in Nova Scotia.
Despite the small population of the province, Nova Scotia's music
and culture is influenced by several well-established cultural
groups, which are sometimes referred to as the "founding
The peninsula was originally populated by the Mi'kmaq First Nation
The first European settlers were the French, who founded Acadia
in 1604. Nova Scotia was briefly colonized by
Scottish settlers in 1620, though by 1624 the Scottish settlers had
been removed by treaty and the area was turned over to the French
until the mid-18th century. After the defeat of the French and
prior expulsion of the Acadians, settlers of English, Irish,
Scottish and African descent began arriving on the shores of Nova
Settlement was greatly accelerated by the resettlement of Loyalists
in Nova Scotia
during the period following the end of the American Revolutionary War
was during this time that a large African Nova Scotian
root, populated by freed slaves and Loyalist blacks
and their families, who had
fought for the crown in exchange for land. This community later
grew when the Royal Navy
intercepting slave ships
destined for the
United States, and deposited these free slaves on the shores of
Later, in the 19th century the Irish
and, especially, the Scottish Highland Clearances
resulted in large
influxes of migrants with Celtic cultural roots, which helped to
define the dominantly Celtic character of Cape Breton and the north
mainland of the province. This Gaelic influence continues to play
an important role in defining the cultural life of the province and
around 500 to 2000 Nova Scotians today are fluent in Scottish Gaelic
. Nearly all live in
Antigonish County or on Cape Breton Island.
Modern Nova Scotia is a mix of many cultures. The government works
to support Mi'kmaq, French, Gaelic and African-Nova Scotian culture
through the establishment of government secretariats, as well as
colleges, educational programs and cultural centres. The Province
is also eager to attract new immigrants, but has had limited
success. The major population centres at Halifax and Sydney are the
most cosmopolitan, hosting large Arab populations (in the former)
and Eastern European populations (in the latter). Halifax Regional
Municipality hosts a yearly multicultural festival.
Nova Scotia has long been a centre for artistic and cultural
excellence. Halifax has emerged as the leading cultural centre in
the Atlantic region. The city hosts such institutions such as
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design
University, and the Symphony
Nova Scotia, the only full orchestra performing in Atlantic
The province is home to avant-garde visual art and
traditional crafting, writing and publishing, and a film
Nova Scotia is arguably best known for its music. While popular
music from many genres has experienced almost two decades of
explosive growth and success in Nova Scotia, the province remains
best known for its folk and traditional based music. Nova Scotia's
traditional (or folk) music is Scottish in character, and
traditions from Scotland are kept true to form, in some cases more
so than in Scotland. This is especially true of the island of Cape
Breton, one of the major international centres for Celtic music
mainland Nova Scotia, particularly in some of the rural villages
County, Irish-influenced styles of music are commonly
played, due to the predominance of Irish culture in many of the
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Regional Development. U. of Toronto Press 1990. 412 pp.
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Halifax: Nova Scotia Dept. of Lands and Forests, 1988. 155 pp.
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201 pp. about Richmond Heights
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1710-1896 Tantallon, N.S.: Four East 1985 438 pp.
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for Can. Studies, 1990. 673 pp.
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A Marginal Colony During the Revolutionary Years (1937)
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of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Toronto: Natural Heritage
Books, 2004. 376 pp.
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Howe 2 vol Halifax, 1909
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Acadiensis, 1991. 280 pp.
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Homeland New York: W.W. Norton, 2005, 562 p.
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Finance, Ships, and Steel Toronto: Lorimer, 2003. 376 pp.
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the Economic Development of Nova Scotia, 1740-1870
McGill-Queen's U. Pr., 1998. 291 pp.
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Louisbourg, 1713-1758. Michigan State U. Pr., 2001. 346
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Aspects of Louisbourg: Essays on the History of an
Eighteenth-Century French Community in North America. Sydney,
N.S.: U. Coll. of Cape Breton Pr., 1995. 312 pp.
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Montreal: Fleuve, 1988. 234 pp.
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Déportation: Nouvelles Perspectives Historiques, Moncton:
Université de Moncton, 465 pages (book in French and English)
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Carpenters of Halifax, 1885-1985. Halifax, N.S.: Holdfast,
1985. 148 pp.
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Experience in Nova Scotia, 1783-1791. McGill-Queen's U. Pr.,
1986. 231 pp.
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Imperial, Colonial, and Aboriginal Constructions. U. of
Toronto Pr., 2004. 297 pp.
- Waite, P. B. The Lives of Dalhousie University.
Vol. 1: 1818-1925, Lord Dalhousie's College.
McGill-Queen's U. Pr., 1994. 338 pp.
- Walker, James W. St. G. The Black Loyalists: The Search for
a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783-1870.
(1976). reprint U. of Toronto Pr., 1992. 438 pp
- Whitelaw, William Menzies; The Maritimes and Canada before
Confederation (1934) online
- Official links
- Other links