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Nova Scotia

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Travel Guide North America Canada Nova Scotia

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Introduction

Synchronizing whales

Synchronizing whales

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Nova Scotia, from the latin for New Scotland, certainly has Scottish and Celtic roots, but also mixes into that pot the French Acadian and native Mi’kmaq cultures as well. Nova Scotia is home to the world's highest tides in the Bay of Fundy, the awe inspiring scenery of the Cape Breton trail, the lively culture of Halifax and the charm and hospitality of Lunenburg on the Lighthouse Route. Travellers can explore fishing villages and Atlantic Ocean beaches during the days, and listen to Celtic, Acadian, Scottish and modern music at night.

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Geography

The province's mainland is the Nova Scotia peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, including numerous bays and estuaries. Cape Breton Island, a large island to the northeast of the Nova Scotian mainland lies to the northeast of the mainland. Sable Island, a small island notorious for its shipwrecks, lies approximately 175 kilometres from the province's southern coast. Nova Scotia is Canada's second smallest province in area (after Prince Edward Island).
Glaciation during the Quaternary Period had an overwhelming effect upon the landscape. Glaciers abraded and plucked at the bedrock during their advances across the country, creating various deposits that vary in thickness and form; in some places they are up to 300 meters thick.
Nova Scotia's numerous hills, several low mountain ranges (the entire province is located within the Appalachian Mountains), lush river valleys, lakes and forests, windswept barrens, and a varied sea coast ranging from extremely rugged to broad sand beaches, can be attributed to these forces.

Partytime in French Cheticamp, Nova Scotia

Partytime in French Cheticamp, Nova Scotia

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht


Nova Scotia forms part of the southern shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and its sub-basin, the Northumberland Strait. The Cabot Strait lies north and east of Cape Breton Island. The main part of the Bay of Fundy lies off its northwestern shore, and large sub-basins including the Cumberland Basin, the Minas Basin and Cobequid Bay create major indentations into its coastline. The Gulf of Maine (of which the Bay of Fundy is a component) lies off the western shore. The South Shore and Eastern Shore, as well as the southern and eastern parts of Cape Breton Island constitute a pelagic coast, fronting the open Atlantic Ocean.

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Cities

  • Halifax, Nova Scotia's capital, is a port city with a lively night scene and, as one of Canada's oldest cities, some beautiful architecture, parks and historical sights.

Cape Breton Island

  • Sydney is the largest city on Cape Breton Island.
  • Glace Bay is a former coal mining town located in the north of Cape Breton Island.
  • Port Hawkesbury is the first town you enter when traveling to Cape Breton Island.
  • Baddeck is a lovely little resort town located in the middle of Cape Breton Island near the Bras d'Or lakes.
  • Margaree Valley, and the Margaree River, a world famous salmon river alongside 30 kilometres of the Cabot Trail.
Kids tourboat, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Kids tourboat, Halifax, Nova Scotia

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

South Shore

  • Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a charming seaside town on the South Shore of Nova Scotia.
  • Bridgewater is the largest town and hub of the south shore Nova Scotia.
  • Yarmouth is a large town located near the Southern most part of Nova Scotia. The Cat ferry to and from Maine operates from here.

Annapolis Valley

  • Digby is a fishing town located on the Bay of Fundy. Famous for scallops.
  • Annapolis Royal is the oldest European community north of Florida. Founded in 1605.
  • Grand Pré is a small town dedicated to the memory of the expulsion of the Acadians.

Cumberland and Colchester Counties

  • Amherst is the gate way to Nova Scotia, a town located on the border of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
  • Truro is located in the middle of Nova Scotia and home of Stanfield's underwear.

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Sights and Activities

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

© All Rights Reserved Degolasse

Fortress of Louisburg

The Fortress of Louisbourg was originally built by the French in the 18th century. It was designated as the capital of the French colony Ile Royale (present day Cape Breton) and was the first line of defence in the battle for North America with the British. The Fotress was first sacked by the British in 1754 after a six week seige. Over the next 15 years the Fortress was returned to the French in a treaty and captured again by the British until it was destroyed in 1760. In 1961, then Prime Minister of Canada, John Deifenbaker started the rebuilding process of the Fortress of Louisbourg. This rebuilding took most of the next two decades when it was finished in the 1980s. Currently it is an interactive site which provides a glimpse into 18th century life and the history of Nova Scotia and Canada.

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Events and Festivals

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Weather

Atlantic and Fundy waters are relatively cold (8 °C - 12 °C), and they help to keep the air temperature over southwestern Nova Scotia on the cool side in spring and summer. In January, when their temperature is between 0 °C and 4 °C, these same waters moderate the harshness of winter. Farther offshore to the east, southeast, and south are comparatively warm 16 °C waters of the Gulf Stream. Its warmth, especially from August through October, is credited with prolonging fall - the season many Nova Scotians consider to be the best of the year. The highest temperature ever recorded in the province was 38.3 °C on August 19, 1935, at Collegeville, which is located about 15 kilometres southwest of Antigonish. The coldest temperature ever recorded was -41.1 °C on January 31, 1920, at Upper Stewiacke. Because Nova Scotia juts out into the Atlantic, it is prone to tropical storms and hurricanes in the summer and autumn. However due to the relatively cooler waters off the coast of Nova Scotia, tropical storms are usually weak by the time they reach Nova Scotia. The last hurricane was category-one Hurricane Earl in September 2010. The most destructive hurricane was Hurricane Juan in 2003. [1].

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Getting There

By Plane

The Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International Airport is the Atlantic Canadian hub for all domestic, regional and international services. Scheduled air service into Nova Scotia is available from all major Canadian cities, from all major United States cities through connecting hubs at Boston and New York, and from major European cities through the connecting hub at London.

By Bus

Greyhound from New York and Voyageur from Montreal connect with Acadian Lines which serves Atlantic Canada. At Amherst, intraprovincial bus lines link most major communities.

By Train

Via Rail Canada provides transcontinental train service; there are stations in Amherst, Springhill, Truro and Halifax. Call toll-free 1-888-842-7245.

By Car

Highways from all points in the United States and Canada join the Trans Canada Highway from New Brunswick into Nova Scotia.

By Boat

Car ferry trips connect Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland to Nova Scotia.

  • Newfoundland - Nova Scotia - Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland, to/from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, daily service year-round; additional service mid-June to September. Argentia, Newfoundland to North Sydney, Nova Scotia: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, mid-June to mid-October. Reservations recommended. Tickets must be picked up one hour before sailing. Marine Atlantic Reservations, 355 Purves St, North Sydney, NS, B2A 3V2. 1-800-341-7981.
  • Prince Edward Island - Nova Scotia - Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island, to Caribou, Nova Scotia, daily service May 1 to December 20, operated by Northumberland Ferries Ltd., 94 Water Street, P.O. Box 634, Charlottetown, PE, C1A 7L3. In Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, call toll-free 1-800-565-0201. From other areas, call (902) 566-3838.
  • Saint John, New Brunswick - Digby, Nova Scotia - Daily service year-round; three trips daily during peak months. Reservations recommended. Bay Ferries, 94 Water Street, P.O. Box 634, Charlottetown, PE, C1A 7L3. Phone 1-888-249-7245; (902) 566-3838; fax (902) 566-1550.
  • Portland & Bar Harbor, Maine - Yarmouth, Nova Scotia - Service June 1 to mid-October. From Portland, Maine on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; from Bar Harbor, Maine on Monday through Thursday. Reservations required. Passengers should be at the terminal one hour prior to sailing. For sailing times contact Bay Ferries Limited, 94 Water St., P.O. Box 634, Charlottetown, PE, C1A 7L3 or 121 Eden St., Bar Harbor, Maine, 04609, USA. Phone 1-888-249-7245, (902) 566-3838; fax (902) 566-1550.

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Getting Around

By Plane

Air Canada Jazz operates daily flights from the Robert Stanfield International Airport in Halifax to Sydney, Cape Breton. Prices vary depending on when tickets are booked and it takes approximately 50 minutes.

By Train

There is only one passenger train line that is still operating in Nova Scotia. It connects Halifax, Nova Scotia to Moncton, New Brunswick and on to Montreal, Quebec and the rest of Canada.

Currently there is one passenger that departs from Halifax at 12:35pm. [2]. It stops in Truro, Springhill, Amherst and Sackville, New Brunswick before arriving in Moncton. Barring delays this trip takes 3 hours and 25 minutes and costs for a regular car $64.41 ($57.00 + tax).

By Car

Nova Scotia is encircled by eleven scenic travelways. These scenic travelway routes follow the slower-paced trunk and collector roads that lead you around the province of Nova Scotia. Each travelway describes the culture, history and natural features along the route and is referenced with all the places to stay and things to do in the area.

More information on Nova Scotia's Scenic Travelways can be found from the Nova Scotia Tourism Website

Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:

By Bus

Acadian Lines operates buses that run throughout Nova Scotia. The schedule and cost per ticket is subject to change. From Halifax, Acadian Lines operates on the following bus routes:

  • to Amherst with a stop in Truro - 3 buses daily, $37 one way for an adult, $31 for a student. Approximately 2.5 hours.
  • to Sydney, Cape Breton with stops in Truro, New Glasgow and Port Hawkesbury - 3 buses daily, $67 one way for an adult, $57 for a student. Approximately 7 hours.
  • to Digby with stops in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Annapolis Royal - 1 bus daily, $44 one way for an adult, $37 for a student. Approximately 4:20.

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Sleep

There is a wide range of accommodation options in Nova Scotia. These range from summer camping grounds, hostels to luxurious hotels in the bigger cities. There is also an ever growing amount of midrange places like guesthouses, pensions and especially B&B's.

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References

  1. 1 Environment Canada Climate of Nova Scotia
  2. 2 http://www.viarail.ca/tickets/en_hora_pdfs.html

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This is version 31. Last edited at 7:20 on Dec 10, 12 by Utrecht. 21 articles link to this page.

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