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Nova Scotia - Did you know?

Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime Provinces and is the most populous province of the four in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. In French, it is called "Nouvelle-Ecosse", which is a literal translation from Latin to French when the province was named by Sir William Alexander in 1632.


Nova Scotia is the second smallest province in Canada with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton and some 3,800 coastal islands. Located almost exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole (44º 39' N Latitude), its provincial capital is Halifax.



  • Nova Scotia was already home to the Mi'kmaq people when French colonists established Port Royal, the first permanent European settlement in North America north of Florida in 1605.

  • Almost one hundred and fifty years later, the first English and German settlers arrived with the founding of Halifax (1749).

  • The first Scottish migration was on the Hector (1773).

  • The first Black migration happened after the American Revolution (1783).

  • In 1867 Nova Scotia was one of the four founding provinces of the Canadian Confederation.



  • The province's mainland is a peninsula surrounded almost entirely by the Atlantic Ocean, including numerous bays and estuaries. Nowhere in Nova Scotia is more than 67 km (42 mi) from the ocean. The province includes 2 islands: Cape Breton Island, a large island on the northeast part of the province; and Sable Island, a small island notorious for its shipwrecks and horses, approximately 175 km (110 mi) from the province's southern coast.

  • Nova Scotia has over 7,600 km of coastline and is a peninsula, being connected by the Isthmus of Chignecto to the rest of Canada by approximately 50 km of land along the border to New Brunswick. The province is surrounded by the Bay of Fundy, the Atlantic Ocean and the Northumberland Strait.

  • Nova Scotia is very diverse in terms of its physiographical, climatological, and ethnocultural elements. Oceanic effects therefore tend to define our climate, economy, and culture. However, the Gulf Stream runs off the southwest coast of the Province, keeping temperatures fairly mild year round. The Annapolis Valley region is often protected from the coastal elements and is therefore suited to being a high-producing agricultural region. Cape Breton Island is known for its majestic Cabot Trail which winds its way through a series of highlands and valleys.



  • Nova Scotia lies in the mid-temperate zone and, although the province is almost surrounded by water, the climate is closer to continental rather than maritime. The temperature extremes of the continental climate are moderated by the ocean.

  • Described on the provincial vehicle-license plate as Canada's Ocean Playground, the sea is a major influence on Nova Scotia's climate. Nova Scotia's cool winters and warm summers are modified and generally moderated by ocean influences.

  • Due to the ocean's moderating effect Nova Scotia, on average is the warmest of the provinces in Canada. It has frequent coastal fog and marked changeability of weather from day to day.




  • As of 2014, the official census showed the population of Nova Scotia at just over 940,000.

  • The largest urban area is Halifax with a population of just over 380,000.



  • Nova Scotia's traditionally resource-based economy has become more diverse in recent decades. The rise of Nova Scotia as a viable jurisdiction in North America was driven by the ready availability of natural resources, especially the fish stocks off the Scotian Shelf. The fishery was pillar of the economy since its development as part of the economy of New France in the 17th century; however, the fishery suffered a sharp decline due to overfishing in the late 20th century.

  • Mining, especially of gypsum and salt and to a lesser extent silica, peat and barite, is also a significant sector.

  • Since the 1990’s, offshore oil and gas has become an increasingly important part of the economy.

  • Agriculture remains an important sector in the province, contributing over $1 billion annually to the provincial economy.

    • Nova Scotia produces enough blueberries to make 26 million pies each year.

    • Nova Scotia's wine making history can be traced back to the 1600's. Currently valued at approximately $12 million, the wine industry has tripled commercial grape production since 2000 and continues to grow.

    • Nova Scotians grow over 3 million bushels of apples every year.

    • More than 50 different kinds of vegetable crops are grown in Nova Scotia.

  • In the central part of Nova Scotia, lumber and paper industries are responsible for much of the employment opportunities.

  • Approximately 40% of Canada’s military assets reside in Nova Scotia.

  • The Nova Scotia tourism industry supports nearly 40,000 jobs and contributes approximately $2.6 billion annually to the economy.

  • The province is the world’s largest exporter of Christmas trees, lobster, gypsum, and wild blueberries.



  • Fishing is a cornerstone industry sector in Nova Scotia. Today, the export value of Nova Scotia fish and seafood is over $1 billion annually, with products exported to almost 90 countries worldwide.

  • Nova Scotia produces one quarter of Canada’s seafood, the largest proportion of any province. Shellfish such as lobster, scallop and snowcrab now account for almost 50% of the total catch. Other important species include haddock, herring, and pollock. The industry is also diversifying through the catch of non-traditional species such as sea cucumber, kelp and sea urchins.



  • Lobster is fished seasonally around the entire province and is one of our top exported products.

  • Initially, lobster was a staple for local people and lobsters were so under-appreciated that in lobster season they were used as fertilizer in the fields and often referred to as “the poor man’s dinner”.

  • Preparing lobsters and how to cook lobsters are skills that Maritimers have passed down through the generations - just ask the locals to share their knowledge.

  • Lobster is Canada’s most valuable seafood export, contributing as much as $1 billion in export sales. In many ways, lobster is Canada’s ambassador to the world and one of the exports most closely associated with this country. Consumers in 55 countries from Australia to Vietnam and all points around the globe enjoy lobster from Canada.

  • Often called the "King of Seafood," the lobster is the pride of Atlantic Canada. This crustacean has a long body and five sets of legs, including two large front claws, one of which is large, flat and heavy while the other is smaller and thinner. The body and tail and claws are hard-shelled. Live lobsters range in colour from brownish-rust to greenish-brown; all lobster shells turn bright orangey-red when cooked. The white flesh is pleasantly firm and dense with a rich, savory flavour. Live lobsters should be active and their tails should curl, not dangle, beneath them.


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