are here Home | Canadian Info | Nova Scotia
SCOTIA, Canada's second-smallest province, packs an
impossible variety of cultures and landscapes into a mass
that's half the size of Ohio.
Scotia's landscapes echo every region of Canada. Mountain
clefts in Cape Breton Island could pass for crannies in
British Columbia. Stretches of the Tantramar Marshes are
as board-flat as the prairies. The glaciated interior, spruce-swathed
and peppered with lakes, closely resembles the Canadian
Shield in northern Manitoba. The apple blossoms in the Annapolis
Valley are as glorious as those in Niagara, and parts of
Halifax could masquerade as downtown Toronto. A massive
Catholic church in a tiny French village recalls Quebec.
The warm salt water and long sandy beaches of Prince Edward
Island are also found on the mainland side of Northumberland
Strait, and the brick-red mud flats of the Bay of Fundy
echo their counterparts in Newfoundland outport - and sounds
like one, too, since many of its people are Newfoundlanders
with the land, so with the people. The Micmac Indians have
been here for 1 0, 000 years. The French came to the Annapolis
Basin in 1605. In the 1750s, cockneys and Irish settled
in Halifax and "Fareign Protestants" - chiefly Germans -
in Lunenburg. By then Yankees from New England were putting
down roots in Liverpool, Cape Sable Island and the Annapolis
Valley. In the 1780s they were joined by thousands of "Loyalists"-
many of them black - displaced by the American Revolution.
Soon after, the Scots poured into northern Nova Scotia and
Cape Breton, evicted from the Highlands by their Iandlords'
preference for sheep. The last wave of immigrants, in the
1890s, became steelworkers and coal minersin Cape Breton.
They came from Wales, the West Indies, Poland, Ukraine,
and the Middle East. They're all Nova Scotians, and they're
all still here, eating their own foods, worshipping in their
own churches, speaking in their rich, full-flavored voices.
riches abound: Gaelic street signs in Pugwash and Mabou,
French masses in Cheticamp and Point de I'Eglise, black
gospel choirs in Halifax, Micmac handcrafts in Eskasoni,
onion-dome churches in Sydney, sauerkraut in Lunenburg,
and Yankee Puritanism in Clark's Harbour.
is a little buried nation, compact and distinctive, with
a capital city the same size as Victorian London. Before
Canada was formed in 1867, Nova Scotians were prosperous
shipwrights and merchants, trading with the world. Who created
Cunard Lines? A Haligonian, Samuel Cunard. Those spacious
days brought democracy to the British colonies, left Victorian
mansions in all the salty little ports that dot the coastline,
and created a uniquely Nova Scotian outlook: worldly, approachable,
Prince Edward Island