Nova Scotia

November 28, 2012 6:26 am

In Nova Scotia, you are never more than an hour’s drive from the sea. The province juts out from into the Atlantic Ocean. Nova Scotia is one of ’s three Maritime (close to the sea) Provinces, along with New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Facts About Nova Scotia
934,000 people
Rank among provinces and territories in population
Major cities
Halifax, Sydney
21,300 square miles
55,300 square kilometers
Rank among provinces and territories in area
Entry into federation
July 1, 1867
Provincial bird
Provincial flower
Nova Scotia consists of a peninsula connected to the Canadian mainland, Cape Breton Island, and a number of smaller islands. It’s Canada’s second smallest province. Only Prince Edward Island is smaller.
Nova Scotia is nicknamed Canada’s Ocean Playground. Most people live along the coast. Inland, you’ll find rolling hills and farms as well as forests, lakes, and marshes. The province is known for its lovely scenery.
Rocky shores line the southern coast. On the eastern side, the coast is marked by many small coves and harbors. These inlets shelter small fishing villages. A number of beaches are also found along the coast.
Cape Breton Island is to the north. It has a dramatic coastline. Rugged cliffs drop down to the Atlantic Ocean. Waves pound against the shore. A road winds along the coast offering spectacular views.
A large saltwater lake covers nearly one-fourth of Cape Breton Island. It’s called Bras d’Or (French for “arm of gold”).
Two national parks preserve some of Nova Scotia’s wildlife and grandest scenery. Kejimkujik National Park is in southern Nova Scotia. It’s an area of forests, lakes, and marshes. Bear and moose live here, and migrating birds stop on their travels. You can tour the park on foot or in a canoe.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park features part of the island’s rugged cliffs and the drive along them.
“One hundred thousand welcomes!” People in Nova Scotia sometimes greet each other this way. But they say it in Gaelic, an old language of Scotland.
Nova Scotia means “New Scotland” in Latin. King James I of England (who was also James VI of Scotland) gave the region that name in 1621. He wanted Scottish colonists to settle there. France and England were fighting for control of the area. But England soon lost the land to France.
Control of Nova Scotia went back and forth between France and England for nearly 100 years. Finally, in 1710, England triumphed. In the 1760s, people began to immigrate to Nova Scotia from the British Isles and from New England in the United States. Large numbers of Scots arrived, starting in the 1770s.
Today, more Gaelic is spoken in Nova Scotia than in all of Scotland! Scottish culture remains strong, especially in eastern Nova Scotia. Bagpipe bands and Scottish dancing and songs are popular.
The first capital of Nova Scotia, Port Royal (now Port Annapolis), was founded by French settlers in 1605. France called the land Acadia. The French settlers were known as Acadians.
The Acadians farmed in the Annapolis Valley in southwestern Nova Scotia. The low coastline made farming here a real challenge. But the Acadians drained the marshy land and built dikes to keep the salty water away from their crops. Some of those dikes are still in use today. The oldest dikes have been there for nearly 425 years.
North America’s first apple orchards, grains, and dandelions grew in the Annapolis Valley. Apples still grow in the Annapolis Valley. Pink and white apple blossoms are a beautiful sight in May.
A festival to celebrate Acadian culture is held in Church Point, Nova Scotia, each July. It features parades, displays of crafts, theater, and contests.
Halifax is Nova Scotia’s capital and largest city. The Indian natives called the site Chebucto, which means “at the great harbor.” Today, Halifax is one of Canada’s busiest ports. It’s also the home port on the east coast for Canada’s navy and coast guard.
The British used Halifax as a naval base while they were fighting with the French. During World War I (1914-1918), ships gathered in Halifax Harbour to sail across the Atlantic with supplies.
Halifax nearly disappeared during World War I. In 1917, a warship carrying explosives collided with another ship in the harbor. The explosion destroyed the north end of Halifax. Fires broke out all over the city. Over 2,000 people were killed, and thousands more were injured.
Halifax also played an important role as a shipping center during World War II (1939-1945). Its military role in the North Atlantic has won Halifax the title Warden of the North. A warden is a guardian.
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