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What is Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia is a vibrant Canadian province, a tapestry of rich history and natural beauty. Nestled by the Atlantic, it offers rugged coastlines, lush landscapes, and a cultural mosaic of Mi'kmaq, Acadian, and Celtic heritage. Discover the charm of its fishing villages, the allure of its lighthouses, and the warmth of its people. Ready to explore the heart of Maritime Canada?
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Nova Scotia is a province located on the Southeastern coastline of Canada, directly below New Brunswick. It is one of the four colonies that participated in the founding of the Confederation, later Canada, in 1867. The capital of Nova Scotia is Halifax, a port city with a population of approximately 359,000, almost a third of the entire population of the province. Nova Scotia is one of the three provinces that make up the Martimes – the other two are New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Nova Scotia is the second smallest province in Canada, and one of the least populous.

Paleo-Indians used Nova Scotia as a camping site as long ago as 9000 BCE, and later native peoples also settled in and used the area. The Mi’qmak are their modern day descendants. The province was first settled by the French in 1604, although it may have been visited by Europeans as early as 1497, when John Cabot landed somewhere along the eastern seaboard.

Mining is a traditional part of the Nova Scotian economy.
Mining is a traditional part of the Nova Scotian economy.

Beginning in 1624, Scotland attempted to send settlers to Nova Scotia, eventually settling in Port Royal in 1629, but soon after forced to cede the site to the French. After some exchange of territory back and forth, Nova Scotia entered English control with the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Curiously, although Nova Scotia was one of the founding provinces of Canada, numerous attempts to repeal the Confederation were carried on into the 1920s.

Nova Scotia is one of Canada's Maritime provinces.
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's Maritime provinces.

Nova Scotia has a traditionally resource-based economy focusing on fishing, logging, mining for coal and other minerals, and agriculture, though in the late 20th century, Nova Scotia expanded its income sources to include tourism, film production, and technology. The province is known for its very harsh winters and a somewhat taciturn population. Numerous ships have been wrecked in the vicinity of Nova Scotia, thanks to treacherous ocean conditions, including the Titanic in 1912. The province has a number of distinctive bays and estuaries providing a large base from which to fish.

Less than one thousand Nova Scotians still speak Scottish or have other remainders of Scottish heritage. The majority of these inhabitants live on Cape Breton Island, to the north of the province.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Nova Scotia known for?

Logging is a major industry of the Nova Scotia economy.
Logging is a major industry of the Nova Scotia economy.

Nova Scotia is renowned for its stunning coastal landscapes, including the iconic Peggy's Cove lighthouse. It's also famous for its rich maritime history, being one of the four original Canadian provinces that formed the Confederation in 1867. The province is a cultural mosaic, celebrated for its Celtic and Acadian heritages, and is the home of the indigenous Mi'kmaq people. Culinary enthusiasts know Nova Scotia for its fresh seafood, particularly lobster and scallops, and the burgeoning wine industry in the Annapolis Valley.

What are the main industries in Nova Scotia?

The economy of Nova Scotia is diverse, with key industries including ocean-based sectors such as fishing, shipbuilding, and offshore oil and gas exploration. According to the Government of Nova Scotia, the province is also a leader in the seafood industry, exporting billions worth of seafood to over 90 countries. Additionally, tourism, technology, and education are significant contributors, with Halifax hosting several higher education institutions and a growing tech scene.

What is the climate like in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia experiences a moderate maritime climate, characterized by relatively mild winters and cool summers, thanks to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The weather can be quite variable, with coastal areas generally experiencing milder conditions compared to the interior. According to Environment Canada, the province can also be affected by tropical storms and hurricanes during the late summer and fall, although these are typically weaker by the time they reach Nova Scotian shores.

What outdoor activities can you do in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities. Visitors can explore the Cabot Trail, renowned for its breathtaking scenery and hiking trails. The Bay of Fundy is famous for having the highest tides in the world, where one can go tidal bore rafting or whale watching. Kayaking, sailing, and fishing are popular along the rugged coastline, and in the winter, skiing and snowboarding are available at resorts like Ski Wentworth.

How can one travel to and within Nova Scotia?

Travelers can reach Nova Scotia by air, with the Halifax Stanfield International Airport serving as the main gateway, offering flights from various international and domestic locations. For those preferring land or sea, there are several highways connecting Nova Scotia to the rest of Canada, and ferry services from Newfoundland and Maine, USA. Within the province, a network of roads makes it easy to travel by car, and there are also options for public transportation, including buses and ferries, especially in and around Halifax.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a CulturalWorld researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a CulturalWorld researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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    • Mining is a traditional part of the Nova Scotian economy.
      Mining is a traditional part of the Nova Scotian economy.
    • Nova Scotia is one of Canada's Maritime provinces.
      By: Anna
      Nova Scotia is one of Canada's Maritime provinces.
    • Logging is a major industry of the Nova Scotia economy.
      By: onepony
      Logging is a major industry of the Nova Scotia economy.