Introduction to Nova Scotia

(continuer en français) – Last updated: February 18, 2023

For a long time, France and England fought over this land that formed the heart of French-speaking Acadia. Several waves of immigrants progressively replaced the French who had established from 1604. Scots, Germans, American settlers and finally Loyalists fleeing the independent United States. In 1755, the Acadians were expelled in the Great Upheaval, which still fuels passions.

In 1867, when the Canadian confederation was formed, Nova Scotia was one of the four founding provinces.

For a long time, the combination of fishing and farming ensured the subsistence of the population. Shipbuilding and maritime trade fostered the emergence of a class of entrepreneurs who later diversified their activities.

Peggy’s Cove


Not only is it the capital of the province, but with 400,000 inhabitants, Halifax has become the largest city in the Maritime provinces. In 1749, the English established a naval base, mainly to oppose Louisbourg, the French stronghold located 125 miles, 200 kilometres, further north. Since then, the Citadel has overlooked the city, whose former trading port has been transformed into a recreation area (more).

Peggy’s Cove

From Halifax, Peggy’s Cove is only 28 miles, 45 kilometres, away. It is a small fishing port founded in 1811 by European settlers. It lasted until the cod stocks disappeared at the end of the 20th century. Since then, crab and lobster have taken over, continuing to justify the photogenic wooden stilt huts that attract the visitors. The lighthouse on its rock also receives many visitors, and barriers have had to be put up to protect them.


On the coast facing the ocean is the port of Lunenburg. A group of German pioneers have long passed the houses from one generation to the next, without major changes, and the town’s layout has remained unchanged since the mid-18th century. Lunenburg is thus included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as an example of a colonial settlement in North America. Its people have made a name for themselves in shipbuilding, notably with the racing schooner Bluenose (more).


The Liverpool of Nova Scotia was founded in 1759 by emigrants from Cape Cod who built up a reputation as privateers, particularly against American ships. Today, Liverpool is not only a small fish processing and paper making town, but also a tourist town, capitalising on the past glory of the privateers. The trace of a brighter past can be found on Main Street with its line of beautiful old houses.

Cape Breton

Once an island, it has since been connected to the rest of Nova Scotia by a dike. Part of the island is covered by the vast landscape of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Its rugged coastline is attracting more and more visitors who are interested in its authenticity. Since the closure of the coal mines, the population is decreasing, barely supported by seasonal jobs.

Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail is perfect for a road trip around the northern tip of Cape Breton, for 185 miles, 300 kilometres. The scenery is always spectacular, both along the coast and inland. The name comes from John Cabot who landed on Cape Breton in 1497. It is possible to stay in Cheticamp, an Acadian enclave, from where there are beautiful hikes in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.


Louisbourg was a stronghold created by France in 1713 to protect the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the gateway to New France. Around the military citadel, a commercial port and an entire village developed. The whole complex was destroyed in the fighting and it was not until the 1960s that Louisbourg was carefully rebuilt. During the season, many actors in costume bring the old days to life for the pleasure of visitors.


This is the largest Acadian community in Cape Breton. There are 4,000 inhabitants, many of whom speak French as their first language. It took a crown charter in 1790 for 14 Acadian pioneers to resettle. The church dates from 1893 and is central to the life of the community. Being at the entrance to Cape Breton National Park makes it a tourist attraction. The French touch and Acadian cuisine add to the charm.


Although the colonisation of Acadia by the French was not as structured as in Quebec, over time many settlers, mainly fishermen, came to settle on their own with their families. This area changed, influenced by the English attempts to eradicate this earlier presence. Port-Royal, Fort-Anne or Grand-Pré remain places attached to Acadian history, while homogeneous Francophone communities still exist in several places.

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    • This is an interesting remark. It’s true that as a photographer we focus on the most spectacular things. But between two subjects, there can be several hundred kilometres, which is a fairly common situation in Canada.


    • I’m glad you also visited Nova Scotia and have fond memories of it. There is so much to see across Canada, everything being a bit scattered, there is plenty to keep you busy and curious.

      Liked by 1 person

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