Nova Scotia Facts and Figures

Nova Scotia Facts and Figures

When I first moved to Nova Scotia, I felt the place was beautiful but not any more exceptional than the other Canadian Provinces.

Then I started to learn more about my new home.

Most of these things I found out during my research as a tour director but quite a bit of the following list came from the following sources:

  • J.Giannetta
  • Hike Bike Travel
  • Nova Scotia is Amazing


I would like to periodically update this list so if you have more tidbits to add email them to us at



(The motto: “One defends and the other conquers”)

“Nova Scotia” is Latin for “New Scotland”.


A question I am often asked is “How big is Nova Scotia?”

The area size is 55,284 km² or 21345.272 square miles. Cape Breton Island is joined to the mainland by the Canso Causeway creating a coastline of 7,400 kilometres in length.

The overall length is only 575 kilometres and the average width is 130 kilometres.


  • One of the four Atlantic provinces on the east coast of Canada
  • Second smallest province (P.E.I. is the smallest)
  • Made up of the mainland and Cape Breton Island
  • Includes over 3800 coastal islands
  • Halifax is the largest city and Capital city – 403,437 in 2010
  • Halifax is an international seaport and transportation centre.
  • The Provincial Flower – the Mayflower
  • The Provincial Tree -Red Spruce
  • The Provincial Bird – Osprey
  • Halifax is closer to Dublin, Ireland than it is to Victoria, British Columbia.
  • Halifax boasts the second largest ice-free natural harbour in the world after Sydney, Australia.
  • There are more pubs per capita than any other city in Canada. That might have something to do with the fact below.
  • There are six-degree granting universities in Halifax – Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Nova Scotia Community College and The Atlantic School of Theology. There are 81 post-secondary students per 1000 people, three times the national average.




  • There are 942,500 people living in Nova Scotia. (2010)
  • Most of the population close to or live in Halifax.
  • Most of the communities are along the coast.
  • First people were the Mic Mac (Mi’ Kmaq).
  • People came from Britain, Western Europe, and Southern Europe.
  • Over 81% are of British ancestry, 18% are of French ancestry
  • Other groups include German, Dutch, Poles, Ukrainian, Chinese, Scandinavian and native people.
  • N.S. has Canada’s oldest African-Canadian community.



Nova Scotia History

Nova Scotia history has had a major impact on the shaping of the modern world on both the old and new continents.

  • The Vikings first visited around the year 990.
  • Explorer John Cabot came to Nova Scotia in 1497.
  • Mi’ Kmaq lived there. They hunted, fished, and gathered plants & berries.
  • French settlers arrived in 1605.
  • A French settlement named Port Royal was built in 1605.
  • The French Acadian were expelled in 1955.
  • The vacated Acadian lands were soon occupied by settlers from New England
  • French colonists were forced to leave.
  • Later settlers came from England, Germany, and Scotland.
  • In 1783 the United Empire Loyalists came from the United States.
  • In 1784 Nova Scotia was partitioned and the colonies of New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island were created.
  • In 1820 Cape Breton Island became part of Nova Scotia again.
  • In 1867 Nova Scotia became a part of the Dominion of Canada.
  • The Halifax Explosion in 1917 was the world’s largest man-made explosion prior to Hiroshima. About 2000 people were killed and 9000 injured when the SS Mont Blanc, a French cargo ship loaded with wartime explosives collided with an empty Norwegian ship. It caught fire and 25 minutes later exploded. A tsunami and pressure wave also occurred and caused considerable damage.
  • The Cunard Steamship Line was founded in Halifax in 1840.
  • The Old Town Clock, a famous landmark, has been keeping time since 1803.
  • Point Pleasant Park, a 77-hectare park and one of the city’s best, is located on the southern tip of the Halifax Peninsula only 2½ kilometres from downtown. Halifax rents the site from the British government for 10 cents a year and has a 999-year lease.




  • Cool dry air from the interior mixes with warmer wet air over the sea.
  • Areas along the coast are milder and wetter than the areas inland.
  • The Atlantic coast is foggy, especially in the spring.
  • There are heavy rains and stormy weather in the fall.
  • The province has experienced hurricanes in the late summer.



  • Most of the province is surrounded by water.
  • The Atlantic Ocean is to the south and east.
  • Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are connected by a small land bridge (28 km Isthmus of Chignecto).
  • The Bay of Fundy stretches between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
  • The Bay of Fundy has world’s highest tides.
  • Much of the province is part of the Appalachian Region.
  • The province is covered with forests and lakes.
  • There are 3000 small lakes.
  • Almost 7500 km is rocky coastline.
  • There are salt marshes and ice-free deep water harbours along the coast.
  • The Strait of Canso (1.2 km wide) separates the mainland of Nova Scotia from Cape Breton Island.
  • The Canso Causeway is a road which connects the island to the mainland.



Nova Scotia Fishing

  • Coal mining, fishing, and fish processing were once major industries.
  • The Fishery is the oldest and most important natural resource.
  • Scallops, crabs, clams, cod, haddock, pollock, herring and salmon are caught in the waters off Nova Scotia.
  • Lobsters from N.S. are shipped all across Canada and around the world.
  • The main mineral is coal which is used for making electricity.
  • Both hardwood and softwood forests cover much of the province.
  • Forest products include lumber, pulp and paper and Christmas trees.
  • There are three pulp and paper mills and several hundred sawmills.
  • Nova Scotia is among the leading producers of gypsum in the world. Gypsum is used in the manufacture of wallboard.
  • Apples, blueberries, pears, grapes and strawberries are grown in the Annapolis Valley.



  • Marconi sent the first official west-to-east wireless (radio) message across the Atlantic Ocean from Table Head, Cape Breton Island in 1902.
  • Gesner (known as the Father of the Petroleum Industry) invented kerosene in the 1850s. Kerosene was burned in lamps and lanterns.
  • Thomas Haliburton, a famous writer who wrote books about a character named Sam Slick.
  • Joshua Slocum was the first to sail alone around the world in the 1890s.
  • In the 1920s and 1930s, the Bluenose schooner was famous for winning international races.

Bluenose II

  • Nova Scotia is called “Canada’s ocean playground”
  • There are many fishing villages and lighthouses along the coastline.
  • Peggy’s Cove is a world renowned fishing village with a lighthouse.
  • The Citadel is a fort built (1856) on a hill overlooking Halifax harbour.
  • Alexander Graham Bell (the inventor of the telephone) National Historic Site on Cape Breton Island is a museum displaying his many inventions.
  • The Fortress of Louisbourg (Cape Breton Island) is the largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified town in North America.
  • Bras d’Or lake (Cape Breton Island) is a saltwater lake that is a nesting site of the endangered bald eagle.
  • Singer Rita MacNeil was from Nova Scotia
  • Anne Murray, a singer, and songwriter is from Springhill.
  • And musicians Ashley MacIssac, Natalie Macmaster and singer-songwriter Bruce Guthro are from Cape Breton Island.


This is our list to date. If you have more Nova Scotia Facts and Figures that should be added, we would like to hear what you think …


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Nova Scotia Facts and Figure Credits:

  • J.Giannetta
  • Hike Bike Travel
  • Nova Scotia is Amazing


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