Nova Scotia (New Scotland in Latin) is Canada’s largest maritime province and one of the founding provinces of Canadian federation. A beautiful Atlantic coastline and seasonal weather blends with it’s Celtic cultural roots to make Nova Scotia one of the most unique places in the world.The city of Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital, is a growing municapility with nearly 500,000 people, and the city has been experiencing an economic boom recently despite a global recession. Offshore natural gas deposits as well as strong investment by government and business in the IT sector has created a wealth of new jobs and has attracted international business.
Outside of Halifax the province relies heavily, as it has for 400 years, on fishing and mining and logging.Nova Scotia was one of the original four provinces that joined Canadian Confederation in 1867. Canada’s first Prime-Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, was a Nova Scotian (although he was born in Scotland). For a long time Halifax remained the “second capital” of Canada. It was through Halifax that most immigrants to Canada first arrived. It was in Halifax that the British Royal Navy, and later the Royal Canadian Navy, was based. It was in Halifax that Britain retained the northern half of the continent during the American Revolution. And it is to Halifax today that millions of tourists from around the world flock to experience the unique traditional culture of a modern city that still carries its rich historical and cultural roots with pride.
There are around 1 million people in Nova Scotia, with nearly half of them concentrated in Halifax.
The southern part of the province is called the “South Shores” and is famous for towns such as Lunenburg and Peggy’s Cove. Due to the rich soil of this land there are plenty of farms and forests and the South Shore’s most famous export: apples. Nearly 300,000 people inhabit the South Shores region.
To the north of Nova Scotia is the rugged and breath-taking island of Cape Breton. This land seems almost untouched, with small fishing villages scattered along the rocky coast. The city of Sydney (Nova Scotia) lies at its north-eastern tip. Cape Breton Island is famous for its lobster fisheries and Gaelic culture. Indeed, Cape Breton is home to the world’s only Gaelic University, and more people speak this ancient Scottish language in Cape Breton than in Scotland!
South of Cape Breton and north of Halifax lies the communities around the Bay of Fundy, with some of the most extreme tides in the world. Cities and towns such as Truro and Antigonish house nearly 200,000 inhabitants, and this area is rich in both farmland and in forests.
Halifax itself is an historic city with the second largest deep-water port in North America. Dominating the port is the historic “Citadel”, a massive concrete fortress built by the British in 1800 to stop an American invasion of Nova Scotia. The massive guns of the Citadel cover every square mile of the port and although it is out of use today, it is preserved as a National Historic Site and visitors can tour around the huge complex and be entertained by period actors dressed as 19th century soldiers and the firing of a cannon on the hour.
Despite the economic boom Nova Scotia is enjoying, property values and the cost of living remain very affordable. The average 2 bedroom apartment in Halifax, for instance, will cost around $800 CAD a month (compared with $2000 a month in Toronto). Produce from the local farms across the province is fresh and cheap, and there’s an unlimited supply of fresh seafood to enjoy year round.Nova Scotia is one of the most cultural and historic parts of Canada, and is also one of the most beautiful. While provinces like Ontario have lost most of their cultural roots, Nova Scotia blends the old Gaelic way of living into the modern world to create a truly unique identity and a fascinating experience for any visitor.