Nova Scotia

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia (nōˈvə skōˈshə) [Lat.,=new Scotland], province (2001 pop. 908,007), 21,425 sq mi (55,491 sq km), E Canada.


One of the Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia comprises a mainland peninsula and, across the Canso Strait, the adjacent Cape Breton Island. It is bounded on the N by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Northumberland Strait, across which lies Prince Edward Island; on the E and S by the Atlantic Ocean; and on the W by New Brunswick, from which it is largely separated by the Bay of Fundy but to which the Chignecto Isthmus connects it. The climate is moderate and rainfall abundant. The east coast is rocky, with numerous bays and coves, and is dotted with many charming fishing villages. Off the beautiful south shore is Sable Island, called the graveyard of the Atlantic for its many shipwrecks; on the west coast huge Fundy tides wash the shores, extending into the Minas Basin and the Annapolis River estuary.

The capital and largest city is Halifax; other important cities are Dartmouth (now part of the Halifax regional municipality), Sydney, Glace Bay, Truro, and New Glasgow. Notable historical sites include the Alexander Graham Bell Museum at Baddeck, the Shrine of Evangeline at Grand-Pré, and the town of Annapolis Royal, site of the first permanent Canadian settlement (Port-Royal, 1610). Cape Breton Island (est. 1936) and Kejimkujik (est. 1968) national parks are in Nova Scotia. Abundant game, all types of fishing, and some of the best sailing on the continent attract visitors.

Economy and Higher Education

Mining has been historically critical to Nova Scotia. Coal was extracted principally in the Sydney–Glace Bay area of Cape Breton Island, but the mines closed in 2001. Gypsum, barite, and salt are mined. The decline of mining has increased the importance of fishing to Nova Scotia. Fleets operate on the continental shelf, especially on the Grand Banks, and farther out to sea, although years of overfishing have now led to serious cutbacks in production. Lobster, scallops, and haddock are the biggest catches. Offshore deposits of natural gas have begun to be exploited. Inland, the forests yield spruce lumber, and the province's industries produce much pulp and paper. In the northwest there is dairying, the most important sector of Nova Scotia's agricultural economy, and the region of Annapolis and Cornwallis contains valuable apple orchards. There are also significant hay, grain, fruit, and vegetable crops. The bay lowlands, reclaimed by dikes in the 17th cent., are very productive.

Manufacturing is the largest sector of Nova Scotia's economy. In addition to the iron and steel produced at Sydney, the province's manufactures include processed food (especially fish), automobiles, tires, sugar, and construction materials. In addition to its all-year port facilities, Halifax is a railroad terminus. There are both hydroelectric and tidal (at Annapolis Royal) power-generating plants. Coast, countryside, and historical sites attract tourists.

Educational institutions include Acadia Univ., at Wolfville; Dalhousie Univ., Mount St. Vincent Univ., St. Mary's Univ., the Technical Univ. of Nova Scotia, and the Univ. of King's College, all at Halifax; Sainte-Anne Univ., at Church Point; St. Francis Xavier Univ., at Antigonish; and the Univ. College of Cape Breton, at Sydney.

History and Politics

Two Algonquian peoples, the Abnaki and the Mi'kmaq, inhabited the area before Europeans arrived. John Cabot may have landed (1497) on the tip of Cape Breton Island; European fishermen were already making regular stops during their yearly expeditions. An unsuccessful French settlement was made in 1605 at Port-Royal (now Annapolis Royal); in 1610 the French succeeded at the same site. For the next century and a half France and England bitterly contested rights to Acadia, which included present-day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. In 1621, Sir William Alexander obtained a patent from James I for the colonization of Acadia. Control alternated between France and England through several wars and treaties.

Under the Peace of Utrecht (1713–14), the Nova Scotia peninsula was awarded to England, although Cape Breton Island was retained by the French. Hostilities were renewed in 1744. During the French and Indian War (1755–63), a tragic incident was the expulsion of the French Acadians—described by Longfellow in Evangeline. The Treaty of Paris (1763) gave nearly all of what remained of French North America to England. Prince Edward Island, joined to Nova Scotia in 1763, became separate in 1769. During this period Nova Scotia pioneered in Canadian history with the first newspaper (Halifax Gazette, 1752), the first printing press (1751), and the first university (King's College, Windsor, 1788–89).

With the influx (from 1783) of United Empire Loyalists leaving the American colonies, lingering sentiment in favor of joining the new United States was overwhelmed, and New Brunswick and Cape Breton became (1784) separate colonies. Cape Breton rejoined Nova Scotia in 1820. During the early 19th cent. thousands of Scots and Irish arrived. Under Joseph Howe, Nova Scotia became the first colony to achieve (1848) responsible (or cabinet) government. It acceded to the Canadian confederation as one of four original members in 1867 after considerable difficulty over economic arrangements. Nova Scotia has recently struggled to stabilize an economy damaged by decline in the mining and steel industries. Federal programs have been undertaken to develop secondary industries and to locate offshore oil or natural-gas deposits, and natural-gas production in the Cape Sable area, with pipeline transport to New England, began in 2000.

Progressive Conservatives dominated politics from 1978 to 1993, when Liberal John Savage became premier. Savage was succeeded in 1997 by Liberal Russell MacLellan, but in 1999, Progressive Conservative John F. Hamm became premier. Hamm and his party were returned to power in 2003. Hamm retired in 2006 and was succeeded as premier by Rodney MacDonald. The Progressive Conservatives narrowly retained power in the 2006 elections. In 2009 voters elected the province's first New Democratic party government; Darrell Dexter became premier. The 2013 elections brought a Liberal government into office, headed by Stephen McNeil; four years later McNeil and the Liberals narrowly won again. The province sends 10 senators and 11 representatives to the national parliament.


See T. B. Akins, comp., Acadia and Nova Scotia (1869, repr. 1972); S. Hines, Nova Scotia: The Lighthouse and Annapolis Valley (1980); P. B. Waite, The Man from Halifax: Sir John Thompson Prime Minister (1986); N. MacKinnon, This Unfriendly Soil: The Loyalist Experience in Nova Scotia, 1783–91 (1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
Parks Directory of the United States, 5th Edition. © 2007 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nova Scotia


a province in southeastern Canada occupying the Nova Scotia peninsula and Cape Breton Island. Area, 54,600 sq km. Population, 789,000 (1971), primarily Anglo-Canadians. The capital is Halifax.

Nova Scotia is a relatively well-developed province economically. Fifty-seven percent of the population lives in cities, and 40 percent in fishing villages. Coal mines near Sydney produce 20 percent of Canada’s coal. Gypsum and approximately 90 percent of Canada’s barite are mined in Nova Scotia. Industries include ferrous metallurgy (centered in Sydney), oil refining, the byproduct coke industry, the production of transportation equipment (Halifax), food processing (primarily canned fish), the pulp and paper industry, and woodworking. Two heavy-water plants are located in Glace Bay and Point Tupper. A suburban type of farming exists and horticultural establishments produce apples for export. The province is a popular tourist area.

Nova Scotia’s indigenous population was made up of Algonquin Indians. In the early 17th century, the first settlements of Europeans appeared in the province—first French, and later English. As a result of a long war between the British and the French (Queen Anne’s War), Nova Scotia became a possession of Great Britain in 1713. It has been part of the Dominion of Canada since 1867.


Campbell, G. G. The History of Nova Scotia. Toronto [1948].

Nova Scotia


a peninsula in southeastern Canada, part of the province of Nova Scotia. A narrow strait separates it on the north from Cape Breton Island. The peninsula is approximately 430 km long and up to 130 km wide. Composed of Paleozoic rocks (granites, gneisses, sandstones), it has a low relief with hilly ridges up to 150–240 m in elevation. There are traces of ancient glaciation. The climate is temperate and humid, with up to 1,200 mm of precipitation annually. The ridges are covered with coniferous forests mixed with some maple and birch. Deposits of barite, coal, and common salt are found on the peninsula.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Nova Scotia

1. a peninsula in E Canada, between the Gulf of St Lawrence and the Bay of Fundy
2. a province of E Canada, consisting of the Nova Scotia peninsula and Cape Breton Island: first settled by the French as Acadia. Capital: Halifax. Pop.: 936 960 (2004 est.). Area: 52 841 sq. km (20 402 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
His present Nova Scotia action was filed within four years."
Alexander MacDonald is a lawyer, writer and human rights activist in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He is also a national director of the Catholic Civil Rights League and the President of his local Antigonish CCRL chapter.
For over 200 years, the highly fragmented and discontinuous moose habitat remaining in the area of the Chignecto Isthmus, at the border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, is believed to have minimized movement of moose between the two provinces.
"Should the French make themselves Masters of Nova Scotia, which is a country fruitful of all kinds of grain and provisions, they would be in a condition to introduce and subsist a body of troops strong enough with the French Acadians, and the inhabitants of Cape Breton and [Canada], together with the Indians, to reduce all the English colonies," he wrote.
According to a RRFB Nova Scotia, the increased handling fees will provide approximately $600,000 of new money to the province's Enviro-Depot system.
Scientists have been surveying the abundance of fish off the eastern coast of Nova Scotia since 1970, says Trevor Platt of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Enjoy the delights of Nova Scotia, with visits to delightful seafaring towns such as Lunenburg and Halifax, and the beauty of New England in the fall.
Noval noted that, "Industry is also planning at least two wells offsetting Canadian Superior's Mariner and Marquis acreages and deepwater drilling is being conducted offshore Nova Scotia which bodes well for our company."
The Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Program (CGCP), the name given to the program, was designed and developed with defined outcomes and benefits for students from grades one to 12 in Nova Scotia. The program reflects a strong developmental approach, systematically presenting activities appropriate to student developmental levels and including achievable and measurable outcomes in the area of personal, social, educational, and career domains (Gysbers & Henderson, 2000).
'There can be a lot of variability with tropical storms, so we're activating our EOC to ensure we are fully prepared for any impacts Erin may bring,' said Matt Drover, Nova Scotia Power's Storm Lead.
Canada-based Bank of Nova Scotia (TSE:BNS) reported fiscal third-quarter results, which were lifted by better-than-expected retail performance, according to BMO.

Full browser ?