Today the sea retains its significance, having made Nova Scotia the big fisherman of the North Atlantic, outrivalling its nearest competitors, Newfoundland and New England. Its serrated, 7579 km shoreline embraces the rugged headlands, tranquil harbours and ocean beaches so attractive to tourists. One of its 3809 coastal islands, SABLE ISLAND - 193 km offshore and once "the Graveyard of the Atlantic" - has rich deposits of gas and oil under the surrounding waters. Many other islands and much coastal land have been purchased by outsiders in the last decade or two. Once regarded as the boondocks, Nova Scotia is seen increasingly as a place where the good life can be lived even with a per capita income that is below the national average. Nova Scotians generally insist that material development does no harm to the pleasant living they now enjoy.
Between the 2 ranges lie the fertile valleys of the Annapolis and Cornwallis rivers, the celebrated apple-growing region of Nova Scotia. The third fragment consists of the flat-topped Cobequid Mountain, rising to 300 m and extending 120 km across Cumberland County; the fourth has its beginnings in the eastern highlands of Pictou County and extends in a long narrowing projection through Antigonish County to Cape George. The fifth fragment, on northern CAPE BRETON ISLAND, is a wild, wooded plateau which at one point rises to a height of more than 550 m above sea level. It largely accounts for the highly scenic character of CAPE BRETON HIGHLANDS NATIONAL PARK, especially as viewed from the Cabot Trail, which runs through it. In contrast, the southern part of Cape Breton Island is largely lowland.
The deep drainage channels that have been cut through the uplands have exposed the roots of the mountains and laid bare rocks which are among the oldest of the Earth's crust and are representative of most of the geological time scale. Peninsular Nova Scotia consists of Paleozoic cover pierced by a granite backbone which, because it is highly resistant to change, occupies the higher elevations.
The North Mountain resulted from volcanic action in Triassic times, and the Annapolis and Cornwallis valleys were carved out in the same period. Practically all the industrial minerals, including gypsum, limestone, sandstone, salt and barites, occur in rocks of the Mississippian age. The coal deposits of the province are to be found in the several groups of Pennsylvanian rocks, especially the Pictou, Stellarton and Morien groups.
Only 10% (about 538 000 ha) of Nova Scotia is agricultural land. That with the greatest potential for farming is situated in the lowlands, where the soils have developed on deep tills; the uplands usually have shallow, stony soils. The most extensive lowlands, and hence the best agricultural land, are to be found along the Bay of Fundy and Northumberland Strait. The tremendously high tides of the Bay of Fundy have created large areas of marshland, which, by means of dikes begun in Acadian times, have been converted into valuable agricultural lands.
Originally, most of the province was covered by forest, but little of the virgin forest remains, except in the plateau of northeast Cape Breton Island. Because of the acid soil and the slow growing season, secondary growth has tended to be coniferous, but hardwoods continue to exist in sufficient abundance to produce a colourful display in the autumn. In swampy areas and rocky barrens, mosses, lichens, ferns, scrub heath and similar growths are common. Wild flowers grow in profusion, among which the mayflower, pitcher plant, white water lily and several varieties of violets stand out for their beauty.
Widely found throughout the province are herbaceous plants such as Clintonia, cranberries, blueberries and many species of goldenrod. The European cuckooflower has become common in the ANNAPOLIS LOWLAND, while the ragwort has spread over eastern Nova Scotia.
Over 3000 lakes have been impounded by the irregularly high and low terrain, especially in the Southern Upland region, and hundreds of streams and small rivers have eroded their way through it. Because of the general direction of the watersheds, the rivers cannot be long, but with moderately heavy precipitation, normally no shortage of water occurs.
The province's largest lake, the 1099 km2 BRAS D'OR, was created when the sea invaded the area between the upland and lowland areas of Cape Breton; saline and tideless, it is widely used for recreation. On the peninsula the largest lake is Lake Rossignol in the southeast central area, a focus of both lumbering and recreational activities.
Though short, the rivers have had considerable significance historically and economically. The Sackville and Shubenacadie, used extensively by the native people, were important in early transportation; some, such as the Mersey, continue to play a significant role in lumber and pulpwood production; others, such as the Margaree and St Mary's, have become celebrated as salmon streams; several have afforded the means to construct hydroelectric power plants, however small.
The high tides of the Bay of Fundy are a remarkable phenomenon. The bay, 77 km at its mouth, narrows to 56 km, where it divides into Minas Basin and Chignecto Bay. For about 240 km the water is forced forward to reach a height over 16 m above low-tide level in its narrowest extremities. The high tides facilitate the loading of gypsum, lumber and the like by freighters, which at low tide rest on mud flats.
Although systems moving eastward from the interior of the continent dominate the province's weather, they are only part of a complex process which at times makes the meteorologist's task a nightmare. These systems often react with low pressure systems coming from the south and moving northeastward along the coast, and the whole is affected by the proximity of the Labrador Current and the Gulf Stream. Generally the water has a moderating influence upon the climate, particularly along the Atlantic coast, where the average January temperature is about -4° C and the summer mean temperatures are in the high teens.
The influence of the sea is felt in other ways. Ice brought down by the Labrador Current leads to a late spring marked by cold winds, rain and mist. In summer, especially in June and July, the mingling of the warm Gulf Stream and the cold Labrador Current produces a great deal of sea fog, which often drifts over the coastal areas. Autumns are consistently fine, clear and long.
The coastal areas are both milder and wetter than the rest of the province. Yarmouth has about 160 frost-free days a year compared with 100 in parts of the interior. Rain may vary from 140 mm in coastal areas to 100 mm inland. Snowfall ranges from 200 cm to 300 cm.
The natural resources of Nova Scotia are somewhat limited. Today those which sustained the early settlers remain vital to the provincial economy. The FISHERY remains most important. The province is plentifully supplied with both metallurgical and thermal COAL, and recently the latter has been given prominence in the province's overall energy strategy. The discovery of offshore OIL AND NATURAL GAS along the southern coast should provide a large boost to the economy. It appeared by 1987 that the Venture gas field off Sable Island was sufficiently large and economically worthwhile to bring into production. Two other smaller offshore fields (Cohasset and Panuke) were brought into production in 1992.
The province has major conservation efforts directed through the Department of Natural Resources. This department has broad responsibilities relative to the development, management, conservation and protection of energy, forest, mineral, parks and protected areas and wildlife resources.
Its major effort is directed towards protection and renewal of forests. The department is continually improving forest management practices, and from its Forest Protection headquarters at Shubenacadie, fire and pest management are coordinated. The department also provides seedlings for planting on crown land and also supplies them to individuals and companies for private reforestation.
To preserve and promote the inland salmon and trout fisheries, the province provides water control, restocking of lakes and research. The provincial park system comprises over 100 provincial parks, but most of them are small in size. The largest protected areas are the NATIONAL PARKS (CAPE BRETON HIGHLANDS and KEJIMKUJIK), the game sanctuaries and Tobeatic Wildlife Management Area.
Between 1760 and 1768 up to 8000 New Englanders, the pre-Loyalists, came as settlers, together with several hundred emigrants from northern Ireland. About 1000 Yorkshiremen who arrived between 1772 and 1774 settled at the Isthmus of Chignecto and the first Scots reached PICTOU in 1773 aboard the HECTOR. The AMERICAN REVOLUTION brought about 20 000 LOYALISTS, disbanded soldiers and REFUGEES to Nova Scotia as permanent settlers.
Some BLACKS came with the pre-Loyalists and Loyalists, some from Jamaica in 1796, and although many did not stay, a few hundred were left to be joined by the 2000 who arrived following the WAR OF 1812. Between 1815 and 1851 about 55 000 Scots, Irish, English and Welsh established themselves in the province, and after the expansion of the coal and steel industries - beginning in the 1890s - newcomers arrived from the British Isles and continental Europe to settle mostly in Cape Breton.
Ethnicity, Mother Tongue and Religion
In 1996 the total population was 899 970, and about 23% of the population were of only British and about 4% of only French descent. A further 7% had some British and French. Most of the remainder were of European, Aboriginal and Canadian origins.
The mother tongue in 1996 was English for 93% of the population; about 4% French. Most Acadians are in Digby and Yarmouth counties on the mainland, and in Inverness and Richmond counties on Cape Breton Island. Nevertheless, many Acadians have moved elsewhere, especially to Halifax, and a speedy loss of their mother tongue has often occurred. Legislation enacted in 1981 provides for Acadian children to be taught in French wherever the numbers make it practicable. But most Acadian parents want their children to be fluent in English as well as French.
In 1991, 37.2% of the population was Roman Catholic; among Protestants, United Church adherents constituted 17.2%, Anglicans 14.4%, Baptists 11.1%, Presbyterians 3.5% and Lutherans 1.3%.
In 2001 the total number of Nova Scotians in the labour force was 468 900 having a participation rate of 62.4%; 9.7% were unemployed. Despite a reliance upon natural resources as the principal driver of the provincial economy, the service sector provides the most employment and accounts for three-quarters of the jobs.
In contrast with past experience, the percentage of unemployment in recent years has usually been only slightly above the national average and occasionally a little lower. The unemployment rate from 1989-1995 was consistently higher than the national average by at least 2%, with the highest rate of 14.7% in 1993, dropping back down to 9.7% in 2000. A continuing problem of Nova Scotian labour is that wages generally lag considerably behind the Canadian average. NS annual income in the 1996 Census was $21 552 vs. $25 196 for Canada; in 2000 it was $22 384.
As in the rest of Canada, a marked shift from rural to urban living has occurred in recent decades. From 1941 to 1961 the proportion of rural dwellers declined from 54.6% to 43.4%, with a corresponding increase in urban dwellers. But in the late 1960s the process slowed down somewhat, since in 1971 rural dwellers had fallen to 42.0%, and by 1991 the process had actually reversed because rural dwellers had increased to 46.5%. In 2001, the rural population was 44.2% of the total. The total population in 2001 was 908 007.
In 2001 Halifax County had over one-third of the provincial population, and the people in metropolitan Halifax, the largest urban centre in Atlantic Canada, had 276 221 people in Halifax, and 66 722 in the city of Dartmouth. The second-largest urban centre, SYDNEY and the 6 surrounding towns, GLACE BAY, New Waterford, SYDNEY MINES, Dominion and North Sydney, had a population of about 109 330 in 2001 (CA). The third urban area, NEW GLASGOW, encompassing the Pictou County towns of Stellarton, Trenton and WESTVILLE, had a population of 36 735 in 2001 (CA).
Per capita income of Nova Scotia has historically been below the national average. Limited natural resources and the great distance from central Canada are partly responsible, but greater blame has been attached to national transportation policies and, more especially, to the protective tariff or NATIONAL POLICY. The few provincial industries fostered by the National Policy have recently deteriorated and many of the early secondary industries have disappeared, unable to compete with central Canadian rivals. Nova Scotia has therefore had to rely mainly upon primary industries.
Although the Micmac relied on hunting for their food, fishing captains in the early 16th century are believed to have cultivated vegetable gardens to feed their crews. At the same time the French were growing grain at Port-Royal and in 1609 they erected the first water-powered gristmill in North America. To secure salt for curing fish, they also built dikes along tidal marshes and later used them to begin a dikeland agriculture. The Department of Agriculture in recent times has preserved and extended this system of dikes.
About 538 000 ha, 10% of the land, is agricultural. The largest cultivated areas are found in the Annapolis Valley and in some parts of northern Nova Scotia. But subsistence living on family farms has been common throughout wide areas of the province.
Near the coast, farming and fishing are often combined, as are farming and lumbering inland. Recent years have shown a trend towards larger, fewer farms, with a smaller total area, and a decrease in farm population.
The total value of farm cash receipts in 1999 was $396 million, and the annual net farm income varies by venture, from $50 million for dairy to $29 million for hog farrow-to-finish enterprises.
The largest single sector is DAIRY FARMING, which supplies fluid milk for home use as well as for dairy product manufacturing. The dairy products industry produced about $89 million worth of products in 1999. The production of eggs, chickens and turkeys has also thrived in recent years; indeed, dairy and poultry products bring a greater return than do the fruits, vegetables and greenhouse products for which the province is better known.
Beef and hog production, another expanding sector, yields almost $30 million annually. The county fair is an important institution, and the one at Windsor, established in 1765, is the oldest of its type in North America.
Nova Scotia had over 760 manufacturing plants employing about 45 000 people in 1999 (almost 10% of the labour force). Most of the plants are relatively small, and the great majority of them are based on primary products such as pulpwood, fruit, vegetables and dairy. Over 60 of the industries have been established since the 1960s, largely as a result of incentives provided by the provincial and federal governments.
At least half the manufactured products are destined for export (over 80%) to the US. Many newer industries involve investment from the US, Britain and Germany, and a few make no use of the province's natural resources. Of these, Michelin of Canada successfully operates tire-producing plants at Granton, Bridgewater and Waterville, making extensive use of Nova Scotian labour.
As a province abounding in recreational and cultural opportunities and possessing more historic sites than any province except Québec, Nova Scotia has become a favourite of tourists in the June-October season. Although the number of tourists visiting the province peaked at 1.1 million in 1975, the gross value of the industry has grown more than 100% in the past 2 decades. In 1992 the money expended by tourists exceeded $800 million for the first time. There were 2 million visitors in 2001, and the province saw $1.2 billion in revenue from tourism. About 33 500 people were employed in the tourism industry.
Although several major Canadian banks had their origin in Halifax, their head offices are now located in central Canada; only the BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA still holds its annual meetings in Halifax. Many large Canadian corporations do, however, locate their regional offices in Halifax. That more Nova Scotians work in business, trade, finance and transportation than in resource and manufacturing industries is sometimes attributed to the continuation of a historical pattern among people whose ancestors were sea traders. Office buildings, hotels and stores are more prominent than factories and two-thirds of the province's employed work in the service industries.
The value of mineral commodities has increased steadily and reached over $385 million in 1999. Coal, SALT, GYPSUM and other construction materials are the principal products in an industry employing about 2300 people.
By far the most important mineral is coal, but it has had a chequered history in Nova Scotia. The rapid increase in production following the establishment of the Whitney Syndicate and the development of the steel industry were primarily responsible for the province's prosperity in the early 20th century. After WWI conditions in the coal areas were often troubled, and in the late 1950s the market contracted greatly in the face of competition from petroleum and natural gas. Production declined from about 6.6 million t in 1950 to about 2 million in 1971.
But coal made a striking comeback in the 1990s. Following large increases in petroleum prices set by the OPEC cartel, the province was determined to reduce the dependency on foreign oil by replacing it with thermal coal. Production in 1999 amounted to over 1.5 million t worth more than $100 million.
By 1991 thermal coal accounted for 72% of the province's electrical needs, a significant increase from 1980 when it accounted for only 23%. The near exhaustion of earlier mines in Cumberland, Pictou and Inverness counties means that practically all the coal is now mined in Cape Breton County. The Westray Mine near Plymouth was closed in 1992 after an explosion ripped through the mine on 9 May, killing 26 miners.
Gypsum and salt, found largely in Hants, Inverness and Cumberland counties, are the most valuable minerals after coal. Gypsum, quarried more extensively here than in any other province, is sent to the US for processing. Nova Scotia also has the largest BARITE deposits in Canada as well as large deposits of sand, gravel and other construction materials. The only metal mine in NS is a recently opened gold mine near Sheet Harbour.
Lumbering has always been important in Nova Scotia's economy (see TIMBER TRADE HISTORY). In the 19th century much of the prosperity came from wooden ships and from the planking, deals and other lumber they carried overseas. Today some 3.9 million ha, about 70% of the total area, is still forested, 69% of which is in the hands of private-sector owners.
The sawn-lumber indusry is the most important component of the Island's forestry sector. In 1995 it comprised over one-third of the province's total value of forestry-related shipments. The most common softwood is spruce. Balsam fir is used not only for pulpwood but also as the basis of a second industry - the export of Christmas trees.
The most important commercial hardwoods are red maple, sugar maple and yellow birch. Sugar maple also forms the basis of an industry for woodlot owners, especially in the north, through the production of maple syrup and allied products.
Nova Scotia is second only to BC in the value of its fishery, which first attracted Europeans to its shores. Salt and dried fish for export to Latin America was once the staple of the market, but quick-frozen and filleted fish altogether dominate the modern market.
Since WWII, schooners with dories have given way to draggers that fish the entire year. In 1999 about 13 953 fishermen and about 6500 shore-based workers were participating in the industry; about 5000 fishing craft, large and small, were supplying plants through the entire province. This is a decrease from a decade ago.
In a highly diversified industry, inshore fishermen account for about 70% of the total. More valuable than groundfish such as haddock and cod are molluscs and crustaceans such as scallops and lobsters. The groundfish are caught both by offshore trawlers and draggers and by inshore boats including long-liners.
Lobsters are taken largely inshore by Cape Island boats; scallops by both offshore and inshore draggers; herring by seiners. In 1971 the swordfish industry ceased because of fear of MERCURY contamination.
With the agreement of other fishing nations Canada declared a 200 mile (370 km) fishing limit in 1977, assuming the right to regulate most fishing banks on its continental shelf with the aim of letting the fish stocks recover from depletion by large foreign factory ships. Although fish landings were valued at almost $650 million in 2000, the industry has been beset by problems. The offshore industry had long complained that the inshore fishermen, through a powerful lobby and a sympathetic minister, had been favoured at its expense. All the fishermen objected to overregulation by the federal authority, especially to a sector management plan, which discouraged flexibility.
The extended fishing limit had attracted hundreds of newcomers with deleterious results. Forced to operate under a quota system, large fish plants and draggers with heavy overheads found it costly to operate at less than full capacity. Processors experienced difficulties because of sales by inshore fishermen to foreign trawlers. An additional problem was having to sell a high-cost product of sometimes poor quality during a recession.
A long-standing dispute between Canada and the US over the ownership of Georges Bank, one of the world's richest fishing areas, was settled by the World Court in 1984. Although Canada received only one-sixth of the disputed territory, it was the most valuable portion and Nova Scotia fishermen suffered much less serious harm than the New Englanders.
In early Nova Scotia the sea was the only highway. In the late 1760s, road building began. Today, about 26 000 km of highways, 14 000 km of which are paved, extend to every community in the province.
Politics in the latter 19th century was focused on the railway, with virtually all the province's 1900 km of railway built between 1854 and 1914. From the 1950s, however, there occurred a steady decline in railway trackage, to the point where only 678 km of mainline track remained. Recently, rail transportation has enjoyed a steady resurgence.
CN Rail, the mainline carrier, has built a major intermodal terminal in Halifax, and has implemented double-stack container rail service between the post and its major inland markets in Montréal, Toronto and Chicago. As well, 2 privately owned short line railways began operations; the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway which operates between Truro and Sydney and the Windsor & Hantsport Railway, which operates between Halifax and Kentville.
VIA Rail operates its Eastern Continental passenger train, providing 6 weekly frequencies between Halifax and Montréal. Public transport throughout the province is provided by Acadian Lines, MacKenzie Bus Lines and other smaller bus companies.
Blessed with its ice-free, deep-water harbour located a full day closer to Europe than its major American East Coast competitors, the port of Halifax maintains its competitive edge in the international shipping business. The second largest natural harbour in the world, Halifax has 2 privately operated container terminals, Halterm, located at the south end of Halifax, and Fairview Cove/Ceres, located in the north end of the Bedford Basin, as well as a large Autoport facility located in Eastern Passage.
With the recent opening of CN's St Clair double stack tunnel, the post is extending its traditional central Canadian hinterland to include midwest US markets, with Chicago traffic experiencing significant growth over the past 2 years. Halifax is the 75th largest container port in the world, and the third largest in Canada.
The Strait of Canso Superport at Port Hawkesbury/Point Tupper has experienced a recent revival; the port posted the greatest traffic increase among the top 10 ports in Canada for 1995. Major bulk commodities moved include crude oil and petroleum products, which are transshipped through the Superport to eastern North American markets, as well as coal and aggregates.
Seagoing car ferries connect southwestern Nova Scotia with New England (via Yarmouth to Bar Harbor, Maine, and via Yarmouth to Portland, Maine) and with New Brunswick (via Digby to Saint John). In addition, car ferries operate from the province to Newfoundland (via North Sydney to Port-aux-Basques, and via North Sydney to Argentia) and to PEI (via Caribou to Wood Islands).
Halifax International Airport, the 7th busiest in Canada and the Atlantic region hub, enjoys service to major national and international points by major Canadian carriers. Sydney Airport is served by both Air Nova and Air Atlantic, while Yarmouth Airport enjoys direct service to Halifax and Boston via Air Nova.
Before 1973 the generation of electric energy was in the hands of the Nova Scotia Power Commission, a government agency established in 1919, and the Nova Scotia Light and Power Company, a private utility. In 1973 they were united in a crown corporation, the Nova Scotia Power Corp. The corporation was privatized in 1992 and is now an incorporated entity.
In 1950 about 70% of the province's energy needs were met by hydroelectric power and indigenous coal. Convinced that cheap oil would continue to be available and that nuclear energy would be less expensive than that derived from coal, governments allowed a situation to develop in which, by 1978, over 70% of the electricity was produced from oil. Because of major increases in oil costs, Nova Scotia had the most expensive energy in Canada, excepting PEI.
In 1979 the Energy Planning Board was established under the new Department of Mines and Energy to devise an energy strategy. This strategy aimed at the development of the few remaining hydroelectric opportunities; the opening of new coal mines and the expansion of existing ones so as to permit oil-fired generating plants to be phased out; and the completion on the Annapolis River in 1984 of the first tidal plant in North America, using the largest turbine ever built for hydroelectric development. This strategy has been extremely successful and by 1995 oil accounted for only 13% of the province's electrical energy while coal accounted for 72%. The amount of electricity produced by hydro is a negligible amount.
The quest for energy sources has led to offshore exploration for gas and oil, especially on the Scotian Shelf in the neighbourhood of Sable Island, where substantial quantities of gas have been discovered. In March 1982 Premier John BUCHANAN signed a 42-year agreement with the federal government giving Nova Scotia the same benefits from its offshore resources that Alberta receives from its land-based oil and gas.
Beginning in 1838 the legislative power was vested in a general assembly consisting of a lieutenant-governor, legislative council and legislative assembly. In 1928, however, Nova Scotia abolished its council and left Québec as the only province with a bicameral legislature until 1968, when it too abolished its Legislative Council. The Fifty-Second General Assembly elected in 1981 was unique in that for the first time all of its 52 members were chosen by single-member constituencies. Universal suffrage for males and females over 21 came into effect in 1920; the voting age was reduced to 19 in 1970 and to 18 in 1973.
The senior court, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, is a provincially constituted court whose judges are appointed by the federal Cabinet. In the early 1960s it was divided into trial and appellate divisions; in 1987 the latter consisted of the chief justice of the Appeal Division and 6 other judges; the former of the chief justice of Nova Scotia and 11 other judges. Until 1981 the County Court, constituted and appointed in the same way, had 8 judges, but legislation in that year provided for the appointment of 2 additional judges and the naming of a chief county court judge to exercise general supervisory power.
Because much of the criminal business, although not the trial of the most serious offences, is dealt with in the Provincial Court (formerly the Provincial Magistrates' Court), a completely provincial court, the number of its judges has increased substantially in recent years; since 1980 one of them has exercised some supervisory powers as chief judge.
Local government is carried on in regional municipalities, cities, towns and rural municipalities. Although the last generally conform to the county boundaries, 6 counties have 2 rural municipalities each. Despite several attempts made to amalgamate or alter these units, they have remained practically untouched since 1879. The only substantive changes in the status of the units since 1923 have been the incorporation of Dartmouth as a city in 1961 and Bedford as a town in 1980; and the reversion to their rural municipalities of the towns of Port Hood, Wedgeport, Joggins and Inverness. The establishment of 2 regional municipalities has been the most significant change in the municipal structure. The Cape Breton regional municipality was created to harmonize service delivery throughout the Island and the Halifax regional municipality was formed by the amalgamation of Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Halifax County to allow the metropolitan area of Halifax to administer itself.
Smaller communities may organize themselves under the Village Service Act to secure services not provided by their rural municipality. Over the past 3 or 4 decades many responsibilities of the municipalities have been shifted to the provincial government, but the latter is well aware that it lays rough hands on the municipal government only at great peril to itself.
As was constitutionally provided in 1867, Nova Scotia's membership in the Senate is 10, but its representation in the House of Commons has fallen from 21 in the 1870s to 11 currently, with a corresponding decrease in clout in federal politics. It has been suggested that the voters' propensity to support the old-line parties through thick and thin has harmed the province's bargaining position. It has also been argued, but no less strongly denied, that Nova Scotia's leverage would be substantially greater in a union of MARITIME PROVINCES.
Until Confederation most government revenues came through import duties (see CUSTOMS AND EXCISE), which could readily be adjusted as circumstances warranted. After 1867 payments from Ottawa became by far the largest source. Not until the turn of the century did the province have its first million-dollar budget, and coal royalties rank ahead of the federal subsidy as the chief producer of revenue. Principally because of the expanding coal and steel industry, the decade before WWI was the only period in which the provincial exchequer has been in a genuinely healthy condition since Confederation.
Since 1918 the province has almost always been strapped for money and, in common with the other have-not provinces, has had to make all sorts of demands upon the milch cow at Ottawa. In the 1960s Nova Scotia was a leader in pressing upon the federal authorities the principle of full equalization.
The Department of Health administers an extensive program with its divisions of dental health, nursing service, public-health engineering, nutrition, tuberculosis, hospitals and nursing homes, child and maternal health, communicable disease control, industrial health and emergency health services. In 1959 the province entered the national hospital insurance plan and in 1968 the medical-care insurance plan. To ensure greater administrative efficiency these 2 plans were merged under the Health Services and Insurance Commission in 1973. To the free services already provided, dental care for children up to 7 was introduced in 1974 (since increased to the age of 16) and shortly afterwards prescription drugs for those 65 and over.
The province's share of the cost is obtained in large measure from a 15% retail sales tax, which is a harmonized sales tax (April 1997) with the national GST and the provincial Health Services Tax and a levy imposed upon marriage, birth and death certificates. Medical research is carried on primarily by the Faculty of Medicine at DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY, which, because it does not receive enough funding from national agencies, has established the Research and Development Foundation.
The first genuine political parties appeared in the election of 1836 when Tories (Conservatives) battled Reformers (Liberals), who had come into existence almost overnight under the guidance of Joseph HOWE. Until 1867 the parties contended fairly equally, but the Confederation issue upset the rough balance in favour of the anti-Confederates (Liberals).
Until 1956 the Conservatives won only 3 elections and were in office only 12 of the 89 years. Since WWII, however, a lessening in traditional voting within the Liberal Party and the influence of John DIEFENBAKER and Robert STANFIELD have combined to narrow differences in electoral strength and to make the parties genuinely competitive.
It has been very difficult to supplant established Nova Scotian premiers, and W.S. FIELDING, George Murray, Angus L. MACDONALD and Stanfield maintained their political ascendency over lengthy periods. But to describe Conservative Stanfield as less liberal or more conservative than Liberals Fielding, Murray and Macdonald would be a deception, since the old-line parties pragmatically base their programs and platforms on electoral needs, not on ideology.
The traditionalism of the political culture has complicated the difficulties of third parties. In 1920 factors arising largely out of WWI permitted the Farmer-Labour group to make the best third-party showing ever - 11 members and 30.9% of the popular vote, compared to the Conservatives' 3 members and 24.7%. Since 1941 the CCF-NDP has at times elected one federal member and up to 4 provincial assemblymen. In 1945, when the Conservatives failed to elect anyone, the 2 CCF-NDP members constituted the official opposition in the Assembly.
Before 1981 all the CCF-NDP victories were in the urban part of Cape Breton County, but that year the NDP leader won a seat in metropolitan Halifax, where the total party vote almost equalled that of the Liberals. That year its province-wide vote was 18.1%, the highest on record. In 1984 Premier John Buchanan won his third and most decisive victory when the Conservatives won 42 seats, the Liberals 6, the NDP 3 and the Cape Breton Labour Party 1.
Buchanan won another mandate in 1988, though with a significantly reduced majority. After 13 years of governing, Buchanan resigned amid growing animosity towards his administration. His successor as premier, Donald Cameron, shepherded the Tories through a unique situation, a rare split in the Assembly, for 2 years before losing the general election in 1993 to the Liberals under the leadership of John Savage. Savage came to power with intentions to institute harsh measures to bring public spending under control. John Hamm came to power in 1999, with an intention to create a more open and accountable form of government.
Recently, with the enlargement of Halifax's boundaries and the consolidation of schools resulting from declining enrolments, the separate system has been substantially eroded in Halifax. From 1864 to 1950 the policymaking function was vested in a council of public instruction, which was basically the provincial Cabinet; in 1950 the province got its first minister of education.
In addition to school consolidation, 2 other basic changes have been made in the public system since WWII. Following the Pottier Report, an Act of 1954 established a foundation program providing for a basic level of educational services financed partly by the provincial government and partly by municipal taxes equalized across the province.
Based upon the Walker Report on Public Education Finance, an Act of 1982 provided for the reduction of the existing 85 school boards to 22, on the ground that the change would create an administrative situation in which sufficient students, funds, professional staff and specialist expertise would permit a far wider and more enriched program.
Of the 22 school boards, one is a French-language board. The current number of school boards is again being reviewed; and the province is currently piloting site-based management in 8 schools. The Department of Education and Culture has also initiated partnerships with the private sector for the construction and operation of high-technology schools. The elementary level comprises primary and grades 1 to 6 and the secondary level comprises 7 to 12. The public school system is nondenominational.
The Acadian population is served by designated Acadian schools offering a French program of instruction in the elementary grades, and both French and English courses in the secondary grades. There are also several francophone schools offering a French program with English as a second language.
The religious denominations gave an early impetus to higher education and at one time in the 19th century Dalhousie alone of the 7 colleges was nondenominational. It has been contended that the province suffers from a surfeit of universities, but strong religious sentiment and alumni loyalties, if nothing else, has prevented consolidation. The exception has been that Pine Hill Divinity Hall, formerly a Presbyterian and later a United Church institution, became the Atlantic School of Theology in 1971, the country's first ecumenical college, in which the Roman Catholic, Anglican and United churches participate.
Post-secondary education consists of independent degree-granting universities and colleges, the Nova Scotia Community College and private trade schools. Institutions providing regular university programs in Halifax are DALHOUSIE, SAINT MARY'S, MOUNT SAINT VINCENT and the UNIVERSITY OF KING'S COLLEGE; outside Halifax university progams are at ACADIA in Wolfville, ST FRANCIS XAVIER in Antigonish and UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF CAPE BRETON at Sydney. UNIVERSITÉ SAINTE-ANNE at Church Point is the only francophone university in the province.
Institutions providing specialized training in Halifax are DALTECH (Technical University of Nova Scotia) and the NOVA SCOTIA COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN; in Truro is the NOVA SCOTIA AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE. Technical education for mariners is provided by the NOVA SCOTIA NAUTICAL INSTITUTE and by the CANADIAN COAST GUARD College at Sydney.
The Nova Scotia Community College has 18 campuses around the province. Collége de l'Acadie is a French-language community college. It operates a distance education system utilizing a number of community learning centres in areas with francophone populations. The Department of Education and Culture operates the provincial apprentice program. In 1999-2000, 157 877 students were enrolled in elementary and secondary schools, and 37 291 were in colleges or universities. NS spend almost $800 million on education in 1999-2000.
Until the last few decades Nova Scotia's geographical position had kept it removed from some of the main currents of national life. But improvements in travel and the strong impact of nationwide COMMUNICATIONS have eroded some features of the traditional lifestyle and introduced greater modernity.
Cultural life in Nova Scotia is flourishing. A lively arts community coupled with recent booms in film production and sound recordings have meant increasing cultural benefits for the province.
Scottish culture is particularly vigorous in the eastern part of the province. St Francis Xavier offers courses in Celtic studies (see CELTIC LANGUAGES), while the Gaelic College at St Anns, Cape Breton, fosters piping, singing, dancing and handicrafts and annually hosts the Gaelic Mod, a festival of Highland folk arts. The Antigonish Highland Games, held every summer since the 1860s, are the oldest annual Highland Games in North America. The Halifax Scottish Festival and Highland Games is held annually in Halifax by The Scots: The North British Society.
Since the 1970s, the Nova Scotian government has taken steps to support artistic and cultural forms and activities. In 1975 it established the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia as an agency of the province responsible for the acquisition, preservation and exhibition of works of art. In 1988 the gallery moved to a restored premise in the historic Dominion Building in downtown Halifax. The Cultural Foundation was established 3 years later to accept, raise and administer funds for the promotion and encouragement of cultural affairs.
In 1991 the Centre for Craft and Design was established. It is a development centre for crafts- and design-related industries operating in a cultural, educational and economic context. It offers wholesale and retail product information to the trade and provides facilities for learning and display. Visual artists have organized "Studio Rally", an opportunity to visit studios of the province's many visual artists and craftspeople.
Nova Scotia is home to Symphony Nova Scotia, the only professional symphony orchestra east of Québec, and a spate of professional theatre companies, including Halifax's NEPTUNE THEATRE (now in its 34th season), Mermaid Theatre and others. Annual performing reviews and festivals are successfully attracting tourists and residents alike. These include the popular Cape Breton Summertime Revue, Jazz East, Musique Royale and the Scotia Festival of Music, a week-long celebration of CHAMBER MUSIC held each year in June.
Film production has increased since the establishment in 1992 by the provincial government of a crown corporation, the Nova Scotia Film Development Corp. It has successfully attracted several major Hollywood productions to Nova Scotia, utilizing the province's picturesque scenery and historic sites. In 1994, the Fortress of Louisburg became the backdrop for the Disney Corp film Squanto: The Indian Warrior. Indigenous productions in recent years have included The Bruce Curtis Story; Life with Billy; Mary Silliman's War; and The Sound and the Silence.
The sound recording industry has enjoyed a boom in recent years, with the development of popular artists such as RITA MACNEIL, the RANKINS and the grunge rock band Sloan. The "Celtic Mass for the Sea" by Nova Scotian composer Scott Macmillan and librettist Jennyfer Brickenden, united classical, choral and Celtic performers in a 1993 recording that has attracted international attention. The development of Nova Scotian-based distribution companies Groundswell Records and Atlantica/EMI/Duckworth have contributed to this success.
The newspaper circulating widely throughout the province is the morning Halifax Chronicle-Herald; its afternoon edition, the Mail-Star, is largely limited to the Halifax area. The daily serving Cape Breton is the Cape Breton Post. Four other dailies serve various regions in the province, and county weeklies abound.
Radio service is provided by CBC and a large number of private stations; television, by CBC, the stations of the Atlantic Television Network (ATV) affiliated with CTV, and MITV. Considerable production for radio and television emanates from the Halifax program unit of the CBC and independent producers.
Preservation of the Past
Through the efforts of the federal and provincial governments and a plethora of local heritage and historical societies, the province's storied past is exhibited to the public in various ways.
Standing out among the national historic parks are a restored Louisbourg; a replica of Champlain's habitation Port-Royal; and the HALIFAX CITADEL.
The provincial government, through the Nova Scotia Museums Complex, has restored a number of structures that are representative of earlier eras, including Uniacke House, home of Richard John UNIACKE, near Halifax; Perkins's House, home of Simeon PERKINS, at Liverpool; and "Clifton," home of Thomas Chandler HALIBURTON, at Windsor.
In 1980 the provincial government proclaimed the Heritage Property Act. The purpose of the act is to provide for the identification, designation, preservation, conservation, protection and rehabilitation of buildings, structures, streetscapes, areas and districts of historic, architectural or cultural value in urban and rural areas and to encourage their continued use.
Scores of HISTORIC SITES have been marked with plaques on the advice of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. The Nova Scotia Museum provides displays on provincial history. The Public Archives of Nova Scotia building, opened in 1980, is unexcelled in any province and is a veritable treasure house of paintings, documents and manuscripts.
Long before John CABOT made a landfall in 1497 (possibly on Cape Breton Island), NORSE adventurers may have reached Nova Scotia. Scores of other explorers and fishermen plied its coasts before de MONTS and CHAMPLAIN established Port-Royal in 1605, the first agricultural settlement by Europeans on land which is now Canadian, and the beginnings of Acadia. King James I of England granted New Scotland (called Nova Scotia in its Latin charter) to Sir William ALEXANDER in 1621, and the province was endowed with an Order of Baronets and a coat of arms in 1626. Two settlements were set up by Scots 3 years later, but both were unsuccessful.
Three times in the 17th century - by Samuel Argall in 1613, Robert Sedgwick in 1654 and Sir William PHIPS in 1690 - the French settlements were captured by the English, each time to be returned. The small group of French settlers that were left after the conquest of 1613, together with 300 sent by the Company of New France in 1632 and 60 brought out by Grandfontaine in 1671, constitute the ancestors of Nova Scotia's Acadian people today. The fourth capture of Port-Royal (renamed ANNAPOLIS ROYAL) by Francis Nicholson in 1710 was to be the last, because in 1713, by the Treaty of UTRECHT, Acadia, but not Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) or Île Saint-Jean (PEI), passed to British hands.
Until 1749, however, it was little more than a "counterfeit suzerainty" (see NOVA SCOTIA , 1714-84). The founding of Halifax that year, followed by the arrival of the pre-Loyalists and later by about 20 000 Loyalists (including some 3000 blacks) and disbanded troops, marked the beginnings of British Nova Scotia. An immediate result (1784) was the formation of the new colonies of New Brunswick and Cape Breton from territory that had been part of Nova Scotia, the latter since the TREATY OF PARIS, 1763.
The 19th Century
Many Loyalists had been men of wealth and influence who, because of their sacrifices, expected privileged treatment. Although not unsympathetic at the outset, Governor John PARR eventually had a cooling off with them because of their unending demands for office and their frequent clashes with the pre-Loyalists. But time was on their side, for Parr's successor, Loyalist John Wentworth, used his 16 years as governor (1792-1808) to establish a Loyalist ascendancy in the higher levels of government. As a result, the Loyalists no longer needed to press their claims vigorously and, partly through intermarriage, distinct Loyalist influence disappeared within a relatively short time.
Always a strong defender of the prerogative, Wentworth became increasingly so and in the early 1800s he became embroiled with a so-called "country party," an undisciplined grouping led by William Cottnam Tonge. Eventually, Wentworth got the better of Tonge by rejecting his election as Speaker of the Assembly and dismissing him from his position as naval officer of Halifax. But despite his best efforts the Assembly gained substantial control over the disposition of road moneys, something most country assemblymen regarded as their principal raison d'être. Since the military governors who followed chose not to disturb these arrangements, relative political calm prevailed until the mid-1830s, in marked contrast with the situation in the Canadas.
The NAPOLEONIC WARS brought prosperity to Nova Scotia, especially to the lumbering and SHIPBUILDING industries. The War of 1812 also added to the province's well-being; indeed, more than one Halifax fortune was accumulated through PRIVATEERING in these years. But peace, accompanied by poor harvests several years in a row, brought recession in its wake, and recovery did not begin until the mid-1820s, partly promoted by William Huskisson's trade Acts of 1825.
Nevertheless, a new wave of IMMIGRATION followed the war and by midcentury the newcomers totalled about 55 000. Some 2000 blacks arrived shortly after the war and in 1818-19 about 200 WELSH. But the bulk were Irish or Scottish, the former largely remaining in Halifax and the latter going to Cape Breton Island and the northeastern part of the peninsula. From the early part of the century, a slow but steady intellectual awakening had been making itself felt, first in trade, next in literary activity, and finally reaching its zenith in politics in the 1830s.
One manifestation was the celebrated Brandy Dispute of 1830 in which almost the entire province turned upon the Council of Twelve for daring to assert a power relating to money bills which had long lain in abeyance.
The movement for RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT got underway in earnest in 1836 when, mainly through the efforts of Joseph Howe and his Novascotian, a majority of reforming assemblymen was elected to the legislature. Their struggle was against an interrelated merchant-official oligarchy, largely from Halifax, which through the Council of Twelve dominated the business, political and ecclesiastical life of the province in its own interest. The Halifax group, even more than its Upper Canadian counterpart, was a FAMILY COMPACT.
Howe was a conservative reformer, and his followers could later echo his words that they had achieved their ends without a blow struck or a pane of glass broken. Howe's moderation is shown in his willingness to enter into an ill-starred coalition with the Tories, 1840-43, in the hope of attaining his objectives gradually.
The Reformers finally achieved success when, in the election of 1847, they won 29 seats to their opponents' 22. On 9 February 1848 James B. Uniacke became premier, with Howe acting as provincial secretary. Uniacke formed the first ministry operating under responsible government in the British Empire overseas.
Two positive accomplishments marked the next 17 years. Under the leadership of Howe, Nova Scotia entered the railway era and by 1858 the government-owned Nova Scotia Railway was operating lines from Halifax to Windsor and Truro.
Charles TUPPER took the lead in the enactment of the school Acts of 1864 and 1864, which required the opening of schools elsewhere without payment of fees and introduced the disliked compulsory assessment which would make free schools possible. Otherwise, these were years of issueless, bitterly partisan politics. Following a bitter clash between Howe and the Irish, the Catholics deserted the Liberals and sectarian politics prevailed for a short period after 1857, the only instance of its kind in Nova Scotia history.
Starting in 1864 the CONFEDERATION question left a mark on the province. Contrary to general belief, Howe did not initiate the movement against the Quebec Resolutions. Rather it began in western Nova Scotia and among the Halifax merchants on economic grounds; people relying on seaborne traffic eastward and southward did not relish setting up new links with a remote, unknown interior.
To Howe it seemed obvious that colonial union should at least wait until railway communication had been established with the PROVINCE OF CANADA and monstrous that it should be effected on the basis of a resolution adopted by a 3-year-old Assembly that had been elected when union was not an issue. A delegation under him could not prevent the BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT from being enacted, but in September 1867 Nova Scotia's voters returned 18 anti-Confederates out of 19 to the House of Commons and 36 out of 38 to the provincial House of Assembly (see REPEAL MOVEMENT). Finally, convinced that repeal was impossible, Howe negotiated and accepted "better terms" and entered the federal Cabinet in January 1869.
Until his death in 1873 he devoted himself to preventing the "slumbering volcano" of Nova Scotia from erupting. Not until the federal election of 1874 and the entrance of 2 Nova Scotian Liberals into Alexander MACKENZIE's Cabinet did the anti-Confederates finally "accept the situation"; the stage had been set for them to become the official provincial wing of a national party. But bitterness did not die easily and as late as 1927 some Nova Scotians still flew flags at half mast on July 1.
Obviously, Tupper had set Nova Scotia's financial needs too low in the Confederation bargain, for even with Howe's better terms the province found it difficult to maintain existing services, much less to continue the expansion of the railway system. By 1867 the branch from Truro to Pictou had been built as a government undertaking, and by 1876 the Dominion government had completed the INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY as part of the Confederation bargain.
After an increase in the province's debt allowance in 1873, the provincial government provided subsidies for building the Western Counties Railway from Annapolis to Yarmouth, the Nictaux and Atlantic from Middleton to Lunenburg, the Eastern Extension from New Glasgow to the Strait of Canso, and several lines on Cape Breton Island. But because of the province's straitened financial circumstances, none of them would be completed either easily or quickly.
Numerous pleas for aid having been rejected or unanswered by Ottawa, Premier W.S. Fielding campaigned on the repeal of Confederation in the election of 1886 and took 29 of 38 seats. But it all came to naught when the Conservatives won 14 of Nova Scotia's 21 federal seats the following year.
Nonetheless, Fielding, a cautious financier, quickly established his pre-eminence in provincial politics. By 1893 he had persuaded Henry M. Whitney of Boston to embark on coal mining in Cape Breton County and soon the Whitney Syndicate had laid the foundation of a substantial coal and steel industry. George Murray succeeded Fielding in 1896 in circumstances so auspicious that he held on to the premiership for an unequalled 26 years.
The 20th Century
Greatly expanded coal royalties and an increased federal subsidy in 1907 overcame Nova Scotia's financial difficulties for the first time since Confederation and enabled Murray to complete with ease the province's last major railway, the Halifax and Southwestern from Halifax to Yarmouth, and to make the first cautious advance into the social service state.
The economy of Nova Scotia was stimulated by an increased demand for iron, steel, fish and lumber during WWI. But war's end brought recession, which lasted long after recovery had begun outside the Maritimes. That Farmer-Labourites could win 11 seats in politically conservative Nova Scotia in the provincial election of 1920 indicates the depth of the malaise.
Hitherto the major demands on Ottawa had been to relieve the provincial government of its financial burden. But in the early 1920s came the realization that it was the deleterious effects of national economic policies relating to transportation and the tariff which were preventing Nova Scotia from sharing fully in the benefits of Confederation. A MARITIME RIGHTS movement which began in 1922 was quickly taken over by the Conservatives and used to overthrow a 43-year-old Liberal government in 1925.
A federal royal commission headed by Sir Andrew Rae Duncan recommended more favourable freight rates and increased federal grants for the Maritimes, but failed to consider the greatest grievance, the protective tariff. Liberal Angus L. Macdonald appointed the Jones Commission to rectify the omission on his becoming premier in 1933.
Macdonald, the third of Nova Scotia's outstanding political leaders after Confederation, headed what was probably the strongest of all Nova Scotian Cabinets and conducted a highly progressive government before he entered the federal Cabinet in 1940. Again Nova Scotia enjoyed good times during WWII and Halifax became the major port for shipping munitions and other supplies to Western Europe.
The Macdonald who returned to Halifax from Ottawa adopted a much more conservative stance than in prewar days. Following his death, Nova Scotia's voters conducted a mild political revolution in 1956 by returning the Conservatives for the first time since Confederation under noncrisis conditions: Robert Stanfield then became the fourth premier to establish political dominance over the province.
Since the mid-1950s economic development has been the primary concern of provincial politicians. Industrial Estates Limited, established in 1957, was the chosen instrument of the Stanfield government, and its early successes led to a belief in the early 1960s that Nova Scotia might be coming into its own. But the serious losses incurred by Clairtone and Deuterium of Canada injected a note of pessimism. The same period was marked by serious difficulties in the coal and steel industries, almost the only ones of substance to be developed in the province as a result of the protective tariff.
The apparently permanent collapse of the coal market led in 1967 to the establishment of the Cape Breton Development Corporation (Devco), a federal CROWN CORPORATION with provincial involvement, aimed at developing alternatives for miners as the coal industry was phased out.
Devco is now the largest coal producer in Eastern Canada, running 2 mines. Its aim is to become a profitable company no longer requiring government subsidies by the turn of the century. In 1967, to prevent the closing of Dosco's steel plant at Sydney, the Nova Scotia government took it over and operated it as a crown corporation, the Sydney Steel Corporation (Sysco). During the 1970s and 1980s Sysco incurred substantial operating losses which were financed by provincial grants and lines of credit guaranteed by the province. In 1989 the plant was renovated and modernized. The assumpton of Sysco's debt by the province and the modernization of its facilities were intended to facilitate Sysco becoming a self-sufficient operating entity producing higher-quality steel rails and providing Sysco with the option of diversifying its product line.
In November 1994, the province signed an agreement with China National Metals and Mineral Import and Export Corporation (Minmetals), providing for 3 years of joint operation of Sysco, following which Minmetals is obliged to purchase Sysco at the beginning of 1998, returning the plant to the private sector.
Recently, there have been 2 philosophies concerning provincial development. Ought it to be confined to industries making use of the province's natural resources? Or, despite past failures, should continued efforts be made to establish secondary industries which may be altogether unrelated to those resources? Whatever the answer, Nova Scotians are insisting more and more that their pleasant way of life should not be sacrificed to material considerations.
Author J. MURRAY BECK
J. Murray Beck, The Government of Nova Scotia (1957) and The Evolution of Municipal Government in Nova Scotia, 1749-1973 (1973); J.B. Brebner, New England's Outpost (1927) and The Neutral Yankees of Nova Scotia (1937); D. Campbell and R.A. MacLean, Beyond the Atlantic Roar (1974); G.G. Campbell, The History of Nova Scotia (1949); R.E. George, A Leader and a Laggard (1970); J.F. Graham, Fiscal Adjustment and Economic Development: A Case Study of Nova Scotia (1963); J. Leefe and P. McCreath, History of Early Nova Scotia (1982); W.S. MacNutt,The Atlantic Province (1965); B. Moody, The Acadians (1981); B. Murdoch, A History of Nova Scotia or Acadie, 3 vols (1865, 1866, 1867); T.H. Raddall, Halifax: Warden of the North (1948).
Links to Other Sites
The website for the Historica-Dominion Institute, parent organization of The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Check out their extensive online feature about the War of 1812, the "Heritage Minutes" video collection, and many other interactive resources concerning Canadian history, culture, and heritage.
The official website of the Government of Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History
Name that snake, identify that bird, learn about poisonous plants and check out those fossils! There are literally thousands of pages of information and pictures about Nova Scotia's natural history for you to explore. It's only a click away!
Symbols of Canada
An illustrated guide to national and provincial symbols of Canada, our national anthem, national and provincial holidays, and more. Click on "Historical Flags of Canada" and then "Posters of Historical Flags of Canada" for additional images. From the Canadian Heritage website.
Check out Nova Scotia's colourful tourism website, an extensive online guide to attractions, recreational activities, and events across the province.
Music Nova Scotia
The website for Music Nova Scotia.
Beaton Institute Archive
The Beaton Institute is an archive and research center mandated to collect and conserve the social, economic, political, and cultural history of Cape Breton Island.
The GeoNOVA Portal is the Province of Nova Scotia's gateway to geographic information about Nova Scotia.
Archaeology in Nova Scotia
Discover the history and archaeology of Nova Scotia at this Nova Scotia Museum website.
Scots in New Scotland
This website is dedicated to the Scottish community in Nova Scotia. Includes information about Scottish clans and clan societies, Scottish culture, and more.
Sable Island: A Story of Survival
This multimedia website covers the history, geography, and geology of Sable Island. Features photos and stories about nearby shipwrecks, Sable Island’s wild horses, and more. From the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
This online gallery features historical and contemporary Canadian art. From the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
This UNB website provides access to extensive references and resources about the United Empire Loyalists and their descendents.
Thomas Chandler Haliburton
A biography for Thomas Chandler Haliburton, politician, judge, and author. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Fort Edward National Historic Site of Canada
This Parks Canada site is dedicated to Fort Edward (1750-1812) in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It is the oldest surviving Blockhouse in Canada.
Georges Island National Historic Site of Canada
This Parks Canada website is dedicated to Georges Island, a Halifax harbour fortification and location of Fort Charlotte.
Geographical Names of Canada
Search the "Canadian Geographical Names Data Base" for the official name of a city, town, lake (or any other geographical feature) in any province or territory in Canada. See also the real story of how Toronto got its name. A Natural Resources Canada website.
Lunenburg by the Sea
This extensive resource about the history of Lunenburg includes a collection of historical illustrations, photographs, documents, maps and assorted artifacts. By the Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management and with assistance from Canadian Heritage, the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives.
An overview of the major issues and events leading up to Nova Scotia's entry into Confederation. Includes biographies of prominent personalities, old photos and related archival material. From Library and Archives Canada.
An interactive guide to "Geologic Journey," a CBC documentary series which traces the extraordinary geologic history of the North America continent.
Office of the Premier
The website for the Office of the Premier of Nova Scotia.
Bay of Fundy
Explore the many scenic around the Bay of Fundy. From the website for the Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership.
A history of the "census" in Canada. Check the menu on the left for data on small groups (such as lone-parent families, ethnic groups, industrial and occupational categories and immigrants) and for information about areas as small as a city neighbourhood or as large as the entire country. From the website for Statistics Canada.
Indepth: Champlain Anniversary
This CBC site chronicles Samuel de Champlain's adventures in North America during the early part of the 17th century.
The Acadian and francophone community of Nova Scotia
A brief history and profile of the Acadian and francophone community of Nova Scotia. A Government of Nova Scotia website.
Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society
Take a virtual tour of Nova Scotia lighthouses. Features photos, historical notes, maps and, of course, audio clips of fog horns. From the website of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society.
African Nova Scotians in the Age of Slavery and Abolition
Stories, documents and pictures provide compelling glimpses into the individual lives of early African Nova Scotians.
The Courts of Nova Scotia
A brief overview of the 400-year history of the Nova Scotia Court system. This site also offers a glossary of legal terms.
Recorded memory of theatre life in Nova Scotia
This extensive site offers a mosaic of interviews, profiles, digitized archival material, and other items that relate to the history of theatre in Halifax and other Nova Scotia communities. Requires a flash plugin to be properly viewed. From the Dalhousie University Archives.
A profile of entertainer Catherine McKinnon from the canoe.ca website.
Farewell To Nova Scotia
Watch a video of Gordon Lightfoot performing the traditional maritime song “Farewell To Nova Scotia.” From YouTube.
Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management
This extensive multimedia website features a number of online virtual exhibitions dedicated to Nova Scotia’s maritime heritage.
William Alexander, Earl of Stirling
A detailed biography of William Alexander, Earl of Stirling. From the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online."
Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame
The website for the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame offers profiles Nova Scotia’s outstanding athletes, teams, and builders.
Titanic in Nova Scotia
View an extensive online collection of old documents and other artifacts that are part of the historic Halifax connection to events surrounding the sinking of the RMS Titanic. A Province of Nova Scotia website.
National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials
A searchable database of over 5,100 Canadian military memorials. Provides photographs, descriptions, and the wording displayed on plaques. Also a glossary of related terms. A website from the Directorate of History and Heritage.
Nova Scotia's Natural History
An online guide to the natural history of various regions in Nova Scotia. From the website for the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History.
Names of the provinces and territories
Abbreviations and symbols for the names of the provinces and territories. From the website for Natural Resources Canada.
Admiral Digby Museum
Scroll down for an information page about the Admiral Digby Museum, a facility that highlights the history of the Digby area. A Government of Nova Scotia website.
The "conquest" of Acadia, 1710
This site offers online excerpts from "The 'conquest' of Acadia, 1710," a book about the conquest of Port-Royal by British forces in 1710. Relates to Acadian history, native studies, native rights histories, and the socio-political history of the eighteenth century.
African Nova Scotian Affairs
The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs assists, supports, and enhances the provincial government's delivery of services to African Nova Scotians.
Nova Scotia's Black Heritage
A series of articles about the history of Nova Scotia's Black community.From the website for Highway 7 magazine.
Canada's Ocean Playground
Online archival material devoted to the tourism industry in Nova Scotia, 1870-1970. From the website for Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management.
Nova Scotia Wharves
View a map depicting the location of Nova Scotia wharves. Check this site for additional maps and resources. From the Coastal Communities Network.
Black to Business
Read full text articles from "Black to Business," the official quarterly periodical of the Black Business Initiative.
This website offers a list of previous Lieutenant Governors of the Province of Nova Scotia.
Comhairle na Gàidhlig: The Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia
The website for the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia. Check out "Nova Scotia's Gaelic Culture" for articles on Gaelic language, music, dance, and more.
You say potato ...
An article about research into Nova Scotia dialects. From the Dalhousie University website.
Coastal Coalition of Nova Scotia
The website for the Coastal Coalition of Nova Scotia, an organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration and sustainable use of Nova Scotia's coastal ecosystems. Check out their interactive map of member associations.
Sir John Harvey
View an illustrated biography of military officer and colonial administrator Sir John Harvey. From the website "The New Brunswick Land Company & The Settlement of Stanley and Harvey."
Sir George Prevost
A biography of Sir George Prevost, army officer and colonial administrator. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
John Coape Sherbrooke
A biography of John Coape Sherbrooke, army officer and colonial administrator. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Facebook: Nova Scotia Museum
Join the conversation about the latest exhibits and events at Nova Scotia's diverse museums.
Nova Scotia: Community Profiles
Search for statistical profiles of communities in the Province of Nova Scotia.
Lieutenant Governors of the Province of Nova Scotia
See brief images of previous Lieutenant Governors of the Province of Nova Scotia since Confederation. From the website for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...