Nova Scotia ("New Scotland", pronounced /ˌnoʊvə ˈskoʊʃə/; French: Nouvelle-Écosse; Scottish Gaelic: Alba Nuadh) is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province of the four in Atlantic Canada. Located almost exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole (44º 39' N Latitude), its provincial capital is Halifax. 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. As of 2011, the population was 921,727, making Nova Scotia the second-most-densely populated province in Canada.
Nova Scotia means New Scotland in Latin and is the recognized English-language name for the province. In French it is called "Nouvelle-Écosse," which is a literal translation from Latin to French. The province was first named in the 1621 Royal Charter granting the right to settle lands including modern Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and the Gaspé peninsula to Sir William Alexander in 1632.
Nova Scotia is Canada's second-smallest province in area after Prince Edward Island. The province's mainland is the Nova Scotia peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, including numerous bays and estuaries. Nowhere in Nova Scotia is more than 67 km (42 mi) from the ocean. Cape Breton Island, a large island to the northeast of the Nova Scotia mainland, is also part of the province, as is Sable Island, a small island notorious for its shipwrecks, approximately 175 km (110 mi) from the province's southern coast.
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 cold winters and warm summers are modified and generally moderated by ocean influences. The province is surrounded by four major bodies of water, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the north, the Bay of Fundy to the west, the Gulf of Maine to the southwest, and Atlantic Ocean to the southeast.
While the constant temperature of the Atlantic Ocean moderates the climate of the south and east coasts of Nova Scotia, heavy ice build-up in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence makes winters colder in northern Nova Scotia; the shallowness of the Gulf's waters mean that they warm up more than the Atlantic Ocean in the summer, warming the summers in northern Nova Scotia. Summer unofficially lasts from the first Sunday in April to the Saturday before the last Sunday in October. Although Nova Scotia has a somewhat moderated climate, there have been some very intense heatwaves and cold snaps recorded over the past 160 years. The highest temperature ever recorded in the province was 38.3 °C (101 °F) on August 19, 1935, at Collegeville, which is located about 15 km southwest of Antigonish. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −41.1 °C (−42 °F) on January 31, 1920, at Upper Stewiacke.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Halifax was 37.2 °C (99 °F) on July 10, 1912, and the lowest was −29.4 °C (−21 °F) on Feb 18, 1922. For Sydney, the highest temperature ever recorded was 36.7 °C (98 °F) on August 18, 1935, and the lowest was −31.7 °C (−25 °F) on January 31, 1873, and January 29, 1877.
Rainfall changes from 140 centimetres (55 in) in the south to 100 centimetres (40 in) elsewhere. Nova Scotia is also very foggy in places, with Halifax averaging 196 foggy days per year and Yarmouth 191.
The annual temperatures are:
-Spring from 1 °C (34 °F) to 17 °C (63 °F)
-Summer from 14 °C (57 °F) to 28 °C (82 °F)
-Autumn about 5 °C (41 °F) to 20 °C (68 °F)
-Winter about −9 °C (16 °F) to 0 °C (32 °F)
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. The main factors influencing Nova Scotia's climate are:
-The effects of the westerly winds
-The interaction between three main air masses which converge on the east coast
-Nova Scotia's location on the routes of the major eastward-moving storms
-The modifying influence of the sea.
The province includes regions of the Mi'kmaq nation of Mi'kma'ki (mi'gama'gi). Nova Scotia was already home to the Mi'kmaq people when the first European colonists arrived. In 1605, French colonists established the first permanent European settlement in Canada and the first north of Florida at Port Royal, founding what would become known as Acadia.
The British Conquest of Acadia took place in 1710. It was formally recognized in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht. Cape Breton Island (Île Royale) was returned to the French in the Treaty of Utrecht. What is now New Brunswick was still a part of the French colony of Acadia. The name of the capital was changed from Port Royal to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. The capital of Nova Scotia was changed from Annapolis Royal to the newly established Halifax in 1749. In 1755, the vast majority of the French population (the Acadians) were expelled and replaced by New England Planters who arrived between 1759-1768.
The American Revolution (1775–1783) had a significant impact on shaping Nova Scotia. At the beginning, there was ambivalence in Nova Scotia, "the 14th American Colony" as some called it, over whether the colony should join the Americans in the war against Britain and rebellion flared at the Battle of Fort Cumberland and the Siege of Saint John (1777). Throughout the war, American privateers devastated the maritime economy by capturing ships and looting almost every community outside of Halifax. These American raids alienated many sympathetic or neutral Nova Scotians into supporting the British. By the end of the war a number of Nova Scotian privateers were outfitted to attack American shipping. British military forces based at Halifax were successful in preventing American support for rebels in Nova Scotia and deterred any invasion of Nova Scotia. However the British navy was unable to establish naval supremacy. While many American privateers were captured in battles such as the Naval battle off Halifax, many more continued attacks on shipping and settlements until the final months of the war. The Royal Navy struggled to maintain British supply lines, defending convoys from American and French attacks such as the fiercely fought convoy battle, the Naval battle off Cape Breton.
Throughout the nineteenth century, there were numerous businesses that were developed in Nova Scotia that became of national and international importance: The Starr Manufacturing Company (first skate manufacturer in Canada), the Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC, Cunard Line, Alexander Keith's Brewery, Morse's Tea Company (first tea company in Canada), among others. (Early in the 20th century Sobey's was established as was Maritime Life.)
Counties by population
According to the 2006 Canadian census the largest ethnic group in Nova Scotia is Scottish (28.3%), followed by English (28.1%), Irish (19.9%), French (17.7%), Aboriginal origin (10.2%), German (10.0%), Dutch (3.9%), Black (2.3%), Italian (1.3%), and Acadian (1.2%). Almost half of respondents (47.4%) identified their ethnicity as "Canadian".
Nova Scotia has a long history of social justice work to address issues such as racism and sexism within its borders. The Nova Scotia legislature was the third in the Canada to pass human rights legislation (1963). The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission was established in 1967.
The 2006 Canadian census showed a population of 913,462.
Of the 899,270 singular responses to the census question concerning "mother tongue" the most-commonly reported languages were:
In 1871, the largest religious denominations were Presbyterian with 103,500 (27%); Roman Catholic with 102,000 (26%); Baptist with 73,295 (19%); Episcopal with 55,124 (14%); Methodist with 40,748 (10%), Lutheran with 4,958 (1.3%); and Congregationalist with 2,538 (0.65%). According to the 2001 census, the largest denominations by number of adherents were the Roman Catholic Church with 327,940 (37%); the United Church of Canada with 142,520 (17%); and the Anglican Church of Canada with 120,315 (13%).
Per capita GDP in 2010 was $38,475, significantly lower than the national average per capita GDP of $47,605 and a little more than half that of Canada's richest province, Alberta. GDP growth has lagged behind the rest of the country for at least the past decade.
Nova Scotia's traditionally resource-based economy has become somewhat more diverse in recent decades. The rise of Nova Scotia as a viable jurisdiction in North America, historically, 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. The collapse of the cod stocks and the closure of this sector resulted in a loss of approximately 20,000 jobs in 1992. Other sectors in the province were also hit hard, particularly during the last two decades: coal mining in Cape Breton and northern mainland Nova Scotia has virtually ceased production, and a large steel mill in Sydney closed during the 1990s. More recently, the high value of the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar has hurt the forestry industry, leading to the shutdown of a long-running pulp and paper mill near Liverpool. Mining, especially of gypsum and salt and to a lesser extent silica, peat and barite, is also a significant sector. Since 1991, offshore oil and gas has become an increasingly important part of the economy, although production and revenue are now declining Agriculture remains an important sector in the province, particularly in the Annapolis Valley.
Nova Scotia’s defense and aerospace sector generates approximately $500 million in revenues and contributes about $1.5 billion to the provincial economy annually. To date, 40% of Canada’s military assets reside in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia has the fourth-largest film industry in Canada hosting over 100 productions yearly, more than half of which are the products of international film and television producers.
The Nova Scotia tourism industry includes more than 6,500 direct businesses, supporting nearly 40,000 jobs. 200,000 cruise ship passengers from around the world flow through the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia each year. This industry contributes approximately $1.3 billion annually to the economy. The province also boasts a rapidly developing Information & Communication Technology (ICT) sector which consists of over 500 companies, and employs roughly 15,000 people. In 2006, the manufacturing sector brought in over $2.6 billion in chained GDP, the largest output of any industrial sector in Nova Scotia. Michelin remains by far the largest single employer in this sector, operating three production plants in the province.
The average income of a Nova Scotian family is $47,100, the gross ranking close to the national average; for Halifax, the average family income is $58,262, which far surpasses the national average.
Nova Scotia has a number of incentive programs, including tax refunds and credits that work to encourage small business growth. The province is attracting major companies from all over the world that will help fuel the economy and provide jobs; companies like Blackberry (formerly Research in Motion (RIM)) and Lockheed Martin have seen the value of Nova Scotia and established branches in the province.
Though only the second smallest province in Canada, Nova Scotia is a recognized exporter. The province is the world’s largest exporter of Christmas trees, lobster, gypsum, and wild berries. Its export value of fish exceeds $1 billion, and fish products are received by 90 countries around the world.
Government and politics
Nova Scotia is ordered by a parliamentary government within the construct of constitutional monarchy; the monarchy in Nova Scotia is the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II, who also serves as head of state of 15 other Commonwealth countries, each of Canada's nine other provinces, and the Canadian federal realm, and resides predominantly in the United Kingdom. As such, the Queen's representative, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia (presently John James Grant), carries out most of the royal duties in Nova Scotia.
There are three dominant political parties in Nova Scotia: the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Progressive Conservative Party.
Nova Scotia has long been a centre for artistic and cultural excellence. The capital, Halifax, hosts institutions such as Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Neptune Theatre, Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, Ship's Company Theatre and the Symphony Nova Scotia. The province is home to avant-garde visual art and traditional crafting, writing and publishing and a film industry.
Much of the historic public art sculptures in the province were made by the renowned New York sculptor J. Massey Rhind as well as Canadian sculptors Hamilton MacCarthy, George Hill, Emanuel Hahn and Louis-Philippe Hébert. Some of this public art was also created by internationally renowned Nova Scotian John Wilson (sculptor). Nova Scotian George Lang was a stone sculptor who also built many landmark buildings in the province, perhaps most notably he created the Welsford-Parker Monument.
Sport is an important part of Nova Scotia culture. There are numerous professional sports teams. The Halifax Rainmen of the National Basketball League of Canada are one team that calls Nova Scotia home. The Province has also produced numerous athletes such as Sidney Crosby (hockey), Brad Marchand (hockey), Colleen Jones (curling), Al MacInnis (hockey), Rocky Johnson (wrestling) and George Dixon (boxer). The achievements of Nova Scotian athletes are presented at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame.
The cuisine of Nova Scotia is typically Canadian with an emphasis on local seafood. The only truly endemic dish (in the sense "peculiar to" and "originating from") is the "donair", a distant variant of the doner kebab, that is made from thinly sliced beef meatloaf and uses a sweet condensed milk sauce.
Nova Scotia's tourism industry showcases Nova Scotia's culture, scenery and coastline.
Nova Scotia has many museums reflecting its ethnic heritage, including the Glooscap Heritage Centre, Grand-Pré National Historic Site, Hector Heritage Quay and the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia. Others museums tell the story of its working history, such as the Cape Breton Miners' Museum, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
The province has numerous National Historic Sites, the most notable being the Habitation at Port-Royal, the Fortress of Louisbourg and Citadel Hill (Fort George) in Halifax.
Nova Scotia has two national parks, Kejimkujik and Cape Breton Highlands, and many other protected areas. The Bay of Fundy has the highest tidal range in the world, and the iconic Peggys Cove is internationally recognized and receives 600,000 plus visitors a year.
Cruise ships pay regular visits to the province. In 2010, Halifax received 261,000 passengers and Sydney 69,000.
The Nova Scotia Community College system has 13 campuses around the province. The community college, with its focus on training and education, was established in 1988 by amalgamating the province's former vocational schools.
In addition to its community college system the province has 10 universities, including Dalhousie University, University of King's College, Saint Mary's University (Halifax), Mount Saint Vincent University, NSCAD University, Acadia University, Université Sainte-Anne, Saint Francis Xavier University, Cape Breton University and the Atlantic School of Theology.
There are also more than 90 registered private commercial colleges in Nova Scotia.