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Province of Nova Scotia

Flag from the Province of Nova ScotiaNova Scotia, located on the East Coast of Canada was one of the four founding provinces of the Canadian Confederation in 1867. Nova Scotia is the most populous province of the Maritime Provinces and Atlantic Canada.

The other three provinces making up Atlantic Canada are, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. See our map for location of the Canadian Atlantic Provinces.

There are two main parts to the Province of Nova Scotia, the Southern part which was largely settled by English Loyalists fleeing the USA after they lost the War of Independence in 1783.

The Northern part, Cape Breton, was mainly settled by Highland Scots whose family remained on the wrong side of rebellions against the Crown. Today, while the Scottish decedents are well known, they only make up a minority of the population, about 30%.

Here are some quick facts:

  • Total land area – 55,283 km²
  • Population – 942,506
  • Coast line – 6,500 km
  • Capital – Halifax
  • Language – English (see below)

If you compare the size of Nova Scotia with Sweden, it would fit into Sweden eight times and is 1.3 times larger then Switzerland. Great Britain is four time larger and the State of Texas is 12.5 times larger.

Population wise, Sweden has 9.9 times more people, Switzerland 8.2, Great Britain 65.6 and Texas 26.6 times more.

Nova Scotia History

Coast Line of the Province of Nova ScotiaWhat is now the Province of Nova Scotia was first called Acadia by the French settlers. Later that name was changed to New Caledonia which stands for New Scotland. The Canadian version Nova Scotia dates back to 1621 when a Scotsman named Sir William Alexander was given the orders to colonize the area.

The Mi’kmaq people inhabited the area long before the first Europeans. In the 11th Century the Norsemen arrives and in 1497 John Cabot landed in the Maritimes.

In the 17th Century the French occupied most of the Maritime including the Province of Québec and the State of Maine. In the next century the British and French fought continuously and eventually in 1713 the treaty of Utrecht gave Britain the area.

The Arcadians were ruthlessly expelled in 1755, some went back to France some to the State of Louisiana, where they are called Cajuns. In 1783 thousands of Loyalists fled to the Maritimes. In 1867 Nova Scotia was one of the founding four provinces of Canada.

Nova Scotia had boom years with their tall ship building industry. With the first and second World Wars Halifax was a strategic Military naval base.

In the 20th century Nova Scotia is changing from a resource-based economy to a mixed and new economy. For more history on Nova Scotia check out this website.


Humpback Whale breachingThe Province of Nova Scotia is mainly English speaking with approximately 93% claiming that English is their first language. The French speaking is only around 4% and of course other minorities like Mi’kmaq, German, Italian and many others.

Nova Scotia Tourist Information

Nova Scotia has lots to offer for everyone, from golfing, fishing, hiking, whale watching, music, touring or just being a beach bum.

There are plenty of beaches for both swimming and strolling. Depending where you are, the water temperature can differ a fair amount. The beaches on the Atlantic South Coast is somewhat colder then beaches on the Western side of Cape Breton. More information on Nova Scotia's beaches here and make sure to check out the Provincial website about beaches and parks. You may further want to check out Tourism Nova Scotia website as well.

Nova Scotia can be reached by land and ferry from New Brunswick, by ferries from Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Maine.

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