1902 Encyclopedia > Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia




NOVA SCOTIA, originally Acadia, a province of the IV. Dominion of Canada, lies between 43° 25' and 47° N. lat. and 59° 40' and 66° 25' W. long., and is composed of the peninsula proper and the adjoining island of CAPE BRETON (q.v.), which is separated from the mainland by the Gut of Canso. It is bounded on the N. by Northumberland Strait (which divides it from Prince Edward Island) and the Gulf of St Lawrence, N.E., S.E., and S. by the Atlantic Ocean, and W. by the Bay of Fundy and New Brunswick, being connected with the latter province by a narrow isthmus 13J miles wide. The extreme length from south-west to north-east is 350 miles, the breadth 120 miles, and the area 20,907 square miles (13,382,003 acres).

Physical Features.—The province is intersected by chains of lofty hills, in most instances running parallel with the coast-line. The Cobequid Mountains, stretching in a long line from east to west and terminating in Cape Chignecto, form the chief ridge. Several of the elevations are as high as 1100 feet, and are cultivable almost to their summits. Lying on each side of this range are two ex-tensive tracts of arable land which yield profitable crops. A sharply-outlined ridge of precipices runs for 130 miles along the Bay of Fundy from Briar Island at the farthest extremity of Digby Neck to Capes Split and Blomidon.

Here and there masses of trap rocks, averaging from 200 to 600 feet in height and crowded with stunted firs, over-hang the coasts. Beyond them lies the garden of Nova Scotia, the valley of the Annapolis, full of varied scenery, and unrivalled for its fruit, flowers, and cereals. The general slope of the country is south-easterly, in which direction there are several chains of lakes, the source of many rivers and streams of moderate length. The south-eastern coast is remarkable for its harbours', twelve of which are capable of affording shelter to ships of the line, while between Canso and Halifax, a distance of 110 miles, there are fourteen ports which possess ample accommo-dation for merchantmen of average size. The principal inlets are Bay Verte, Tatamagouche, and St George's Bay in Northumberland Strait ; Chedabucto Bay at the head of the Gut of Canso ; Halifax Harbour, Margaret's and Mahone Bays on the south-east coast ; St Mary's Bay on the south-west ; Annapolis Basin, Minas Basin and Channel, and Cobequid Bay on the west. Of these the most remarkable is Minas Basin, the eastern arm of the Bay of Fundy ; it penetrates some 60 miles inland, and terminates in Cobequid Bay, where the tides rush in with savage impetuosity, rising sometimes as high as 60 feet, while on the opposite coast, in Halifax Harbour, the spring tides scarcely exceed 7 or 8 feet. The principal inlets in Cape Breton are Aspy Bay, St Anne's Bay, Sydney Harbour, Miré Bay, and St Peter's Bay. All along the coast of Nova Scotia there are many small islands, the south-east shore being literally studded with them. The chief are Caribou and Pictou in Northumber-land Strait ; St Paul, Scatari, and Isle Madame off the coast of Cape Breton. Sable, a dangerous and sandy island, almost barren, lies 150 miles east of Halifax, and has long been noted as the scene of fearful shipwrecks. Its length is 25 miles by about \\ miles in breadth, the eastern end being in 43° 59' N. lat. and 59° 45' W. long. An effective humane establishment is maintained on this island by the provincial Government. Other islands are Cape Sable, Seal, and Mud in the south, and Long Island at the entrance of St Mary's Bay. The principal capes (apart from those of Cape Breton) are Malagash, John, and St George on the northern coast ; Porcupine, Canso, Sambro Head, Pennant Point, Crown Point, and La Have on the south-east ; Sable on the south ; St Mary, Split, Chignecto, and Blomidon on the west. The interior of the country is traversed and watered by many rivers and lakes, which cover an estimated area of 3000 square miles. The rivers are, with few exceptions, navigable for coasting vessels for distances averaging from 2 to 20 miles. The principal are the Annapolis, Avon, Shubenacadie, East, Middle, and West, St Mary's, Musquodoboit, La Have, Mersey. The Annapolis river, which is navigable for a long distance, takes its rise in King's county, flows be-tween the North and South Mountains through a fertile tract of territory and discharges into Annapolis Bay. The Shubenacadie flows from the Grand Lake in Halifax county, receives the waters of ten other streams, and, after winding through Hants county, empties itself into Minas Basin. It is navigable for craft of large size, and its banks are rich in forest trees. The East, West, and Middle rivers, also navigable for similar vessels, discharge into Pictou Harbour. The La Have empties into the Atlantic, the Avon into the Bay of Fundy, and the Mersey into Liverpool Harbour. The Medway, Shelburne, Clyde, Tusket, St Mary's, and several others have their sources in the numerous lakes which lie in the interior. The largest of the latter is Lake Rossignol, situated in Queen's county, and more than 20 miles long. Ship Harbour Lake, 15 miles in length, and Grand Lake are in Halifax county, College Lake is in the eastern part of the peninsula. The Bras d'Or Lake (Cape Breton) may be best described as an imprisoned sea. It is 50 miles long and of great depth, bordered by the counties of Victoria, Inverness, Richmond, and Cape Breton ; it is full of fish, and expands into several streams and bays, each of which affords excellent sport to the angler.

Geology.—The Lower Cambrian runs along the whole extent of the Atlantic seaboard in one uninterrupted line. To the north of this stretches an extensive district com-posed of rocks of Upper Silurian and probably others of Lower Silurian age. Along the section on the south coast of the Bay of Fundy, and at Minas Basin and Channel, is to be found the New Red Sandstone formation. Grey granite, gneiss, and mica-slate prevail along the shore. Trap rocks, often embedded in clay-slate, abound in several sections of the province, and the newer Red Sandstone prevails in the western division. There are vast Carboniferous beds, occupying a large area, and forming a source of great wealth to the inhabitants. Millstone grit, the gypsiferous series, limestones, slates, the metamorphic series, the Huronian, &c, are also to be noted. The Carboniferous plain of New Brunswick is connected with that of Nova Scotia at its eastern extremity. The coal-fields of the latter are especially valuable and productive. They are situated in Cape Breton, Cumberland, Pictou, Inverness, and Rich-mond counties. In 1882 there were twenty-one collieries in operation, which produced 1,365,811 tons of coal, consumed principally in Quebec, New Brunswick, New-foundland, Prince Edward Island, and the United States. About 4235 persons are employed in this industry. The coal is bituminous and very rich in quality. In the Carboniferous areas there are immense deposits of pyro-schist or bituminous shale, "capable," says Dawson, "of yielding as much as 63 gallons of oil, or 7500 feet of illuminating gas per ton. Owing to the great cheapness of petroleum little attention has been paid to these shales for some years, but it is likely that they will before long again be in demand."

Gold is found in workable quantities, the production in 1882 being 14,107 ounces. The gold district includes Caribou, Gay's Biver, Montagu, Oldham, Benfrew, Sher-brooke, Stormont, Tangier, Uniacke, Waverley, Wine Harbour, and unproclaimed,—thirty mines in all. Iron ore abounds also in profitable quantities, xand of excellent quality; the production in 1882 was 42,135 tons. Other minerals, such as manganese ore, gypsum, barytes, &c, abound. A fair business is annually done in coke, fire-clay, building-stone, and grindstones. Some veins of copper, silver, lead, and galena, especially rich in quality, exist. There are many curious and beautiful fossils, besides amethysts, agates, chalcedonies, jaspers, cairngorms, &c.





Climate and Vegetation.—The climate of Nova Scotia somewhat resembles that of New Brunswick. There are extremes of heat and cold, and sudden changes of tempera-ture, varying sometimes in one day as much as 50°. Con-sidering its northern latitude, it is remarkably temperate on the whole. The extreme of cold is about 20° below zero in the depth of winter, and the greatest heat is 98°. The climate varies in the different counties, those in the west averaging from 6° to 8° Fahr. warmer than those in the east. The coldest period is from the end of December to the first week in March, during which the weather is tolerably uniform. The spring is usually brief and chilly, but the autumn, which is the most favoured season of the year, is delightfully pleasant. Vegetation develops rapidly. At certain times dense fogs line the banks along the Atlantic coast, but they are not considered unhealthy.

Nova Scotia is a valuable agricultural country; wheat, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat, Indian corn, potatoes, tur-nips, beets, tomatoes, &c, grow in abundance, while apples, pears, plums, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, cran-berries, gooseberries, currants, and other fruits ripen to perfection. Even grapes and peaches grow in the open air in some districts. The Nova Scotia apple is an article of commerce, and quantities have been exported to Eng-land. The orchards of Annapolis and King's counties ex-tend along the roadsides for upwards of 50 miles. The soil is of various degrees of fertility. The intervale lands, which form an extensive part of the country, are rich, and yield largely. The uplands, lying between the hilly sections and the rivers, are of moderate capacity. The high lands are as productive as the intervales. The produce in 1881 was 529,251 bushels of wheat, 228,748 of barley, 47,567 of rye, 1,873,113 of oats, 339,718 of buckwheat, 37,220 of pease and beans, 8128 of grass and clover seeds, 7,378,387 of potatoes, 1,006,711 of turnips, 326,143 of other roots, and 597,731 tons of hay. Of live stock there were 57,167 horses, 33,275 working oxen, 137,639 milch cows, 154,689 other horned cattle, 377,801 sheep, and 47,256 swine.

The forests of Nova Scotia are extensive and valuable, the principal trees found in New Brunswick also growing in the sister province. They are chiefly pine, oak, tamarack, birch, maple, hemlock, spruce, butternut, ash, &c. The yield of timber is very great, the shipments in 1881 amounting in value to $1,587,941.

Industries, Commerce, &c.—Nova Scotia is not strong as a manu-facturing country, but every year some new industries are added to the list. At present there are two sugar-refineries and a cotton-factory in Halifax. Coarse "homespuns," coarse flannels, bed-linen, blankets, carpets, and tweeds are made in considerable quantities. Tanning is extensively carried on, and there are several factories where household and other furniture, agricultural imple-ments, boots and shoes, saddlery, harness, tobacco, printing and wrapping paper, machinery, nails, pails and wooden ware, fuse gunpowder, carriages, and sleighs, &c., are made. In 1881 the province contained 1190 saw-mills, 263 grist-mills, 151 tanneries, 68 carding and weaving establishments, 8 breweries, and various other manufactories; 217,481 lb of maple sugar were produced. The value of the boots and shoes manufactured was $754,128, of iron smelted $720,000, and of sugar refined $1,702,000. The ex-ports of mining produce amounted to $676,078, of agricultural products to 1830,804, of manufactures to $487,503, and of animals and their produce to $836,052. The total exports were $9,217,295 and the total imports $8,701,589. Shipbuilding is extensively carried on. In 1882 there were 122 vessels built, tonnage 31,361 ; and 174 vessels of all classes were registered. In the same year 6615 craft, representing a tonnage of 709,167, were engaged in the coasting trade. The total number on the registry books of the province was 3026, tonnage 546,778.

Next to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia possesses the largest and most valuable fisheries in British North America. Along the entire coast, extending over 1000 miles, food fish of almost every descrip-tion (salmon, trout, cod, holibut, haddock, bass, mackerel, herring, shad, lobsters, &c.) may be taken. Immense quantities of these are shipped to the West Indies, the United States, various ports in Canada ; and of late years several varieties have been welcomed in British markets. In 1882 fish to the value of $4,437,364 were exported. About 19,000 men are employed in this industry.

Most of the principal birds of North America are to be found in Nova Scotia, and the game of the country includes moose, caribou, duck, teal, geese, woodcock, partridge, snipe, plover, &c. The game laws are very strict, and are rigidly enforced. The wild animals remaining in the province are bears, wolves, foxes, wild-eats, and a few others.

Communication.—Nova Scotia is well furnished with railways, there being nearly 600 miles in operation at the present time. The Intercolonial runs from Halifax to Amherst, 138 miles, and thence to St John, N.B., and Quebec. There are two canals in the province, one from Halifax to Cobequid Bay, and the other, the St Peter's, con-necting St Peter's Bay on the southern side of Cape Breton with the Bras d'Or Lake. The roads of Nova Scotia are exceedingly good and well maintained. Telegraphic lines are established nearly all over the province, and connect with the United States system.

Government, Finance, &c.—The executive authority is in the hands of a lieutenant-governor and a council of eight members, four with portfolios and four without. Thirty-eight representatives are elected every four years to the house of assembly, and twenty legislative councillors are appointed for life by the local government. The lieutenant-governor is appointed by the governor-general of Canada in council. The system of administration is known as responsible government. The province returns twenty-cne members to the Dominion House of Commons, and ten senators are appointed by the crown to the senate of Canada. They hold their positions for life. The province has the right to make its own civil laws, but in all criminal cases the form which obtains in all the courts is the criminal law of the Dominion. The judiciary consists of a chief justice, an equity judge, and five puisne judges, a supreme court having law and equity jurisdiction throughout the province, a vice-admiralty court, and a court of marriage and divorce. In each county there is a court of probate. There are also seven county court judges.





Nova Scotia forms the ninth military district in the militia of Canada. The established strength of the active force by arms is composed of 1 troop of cavalry, 1 field battery of artillery, 17 bat-teries of garrison artillery, 9 battalions of infantry and rifles; total, 318 officers, and 3638 non-commissioned officers and men. The period of service in time of peace is three years. British regiments of the line are also stationed at Halifax.
The public revenue of the province is a little more than half a million dollars annually, and the expenditure is about the same. The chief source of revenue is the yearly subsidy granted to the province by the Dominion, under the terms of the British North America Act of 1867. In 1882 it amounted to $380,000. The remainder of the revenue is derived from the sales of wild lands, royalties from mines, miscellaneous fees, marriage and other licences.
Lutherans 5,639
Adventists 1,536
Other denominations 3,331
Jews 19
No creed stated 1,618
Total 440,572

Religion, Education, etc.—There are two Roman Catholic dioceses in Nova Scotia—the archdiocese of Halifax and the diocese of Arichat; the clergy of the two combined number 76. A Church of England see was established at Halifax in 1787 ; the bishop, who lias jurisdiction in Prince Edward Island also, has under him an archdeacon and 85 clergymen. The synod of the maritime provinces in connexion with the Presbyterian Church in Canada includes 101 ministers in Nova Scotia. The Methodist Church has 100 clergymen and supernumeraries, and the Baptist denomination has 104. The following table shows the number of the adherents of the various bodies :—
Church of England 60,255
Church of Rome 117,487
Presbvterians 112,488
Baptists 83,761
Methodists 50,811
Of no religion 121
Congregationalists 3,506 I

The free-school system is in operation, the whole community paying for its maintenance. The total Government expenditure for this service in 1882 was $173,877 ; the local expenditure, county fund, was $106,948 ; the total expenditure for public schools amounted to $571,389. In this year there were 1910 schools in operation, taught by 1975 teachers, and attended by 81,196 pupils. Besides the public schools and academies, there are a model and a normal school, several convents, and six colleges, viz., Dalhousie College and University, St Mary's (R.C.) College, the Presbyterian College, Acadia College (Baptist) at Wolfville, St. Francis (R.C.) Col-lege at Antigonish, and King's College and University (Episcopal) at Windsor, which was founded in 1787.

The public charitable institutions receiving aid from the province are the insane asylum, poor's asylum and provincial city hospital, blind asylum, transient poor and visiting dispensary, and the deaf and dumb asylum, which is also helped by the New Brunswick Government. Several other institutions are maintained by societies and the benevolence of private individuals.

Population.—The province is divided into eighteen counties (including Cape Breton), as follows (1881):—

== TABLE ==

The total population was 440,572, including 220,538 males and 220,034 females. In 1871 the population was 387,800. There are 2125 Indians in Nova Scotia, principally Malicites and Micmacs. The inhabitants consist chiefly of Scotch, English, Irish, American, German, Acadian French, Dutch, freed negroes, of whom there are 7062, and various other nationalities.

Besides Halifax, the capital, of which the population in 1881 was 36,100, the chief towns are Pictou (3403), New Glasgow (2595), Sidney (Sydney), C.B. (3667), North Sydney (5484), Yarmouth (6280), Liverpool (3000), and Lunenburg (4007). Windsor (3019), possessing one of the principal colleges in the province, is also the centre of a large trade in gypsum, Annapolis, formerly Port Royal, Truro, Amherst, Antigonish, and Pugwash are also rising and thriving towns.

History.—Nova Scotia was first visited by the Cabots in 1497, but it was 1604 before any attempt at colonization by Europeans was made. This was the expedition headed by De Monts, a French-man, which tried to form settlements at Port Royal, St Croix, and elsewhere, and endured severe hardships until 1614, when the English colonists of Virginia made a descent upon them, claimed the terri-tory in right of the discovery by the Cabots, and expelled them from the soil. In 1621 Sir WiUiam Alexander obtained a grant of the whole peninsula, and it was named in the patent Nova Scotia instead of Acadia, the old name given the colony by the French. Alexander intended to colonize the country on an extensive scale, but the attempt was frustrated (1623) by the French, During the reign of Charles I. the Nova Scotia baronets were created, and their patents ratified in parliament. Their number was not to exceed 150, and in exchange for their titles and grants of land they agreed to con-tribute aid to the settlement. Cromwell despatched a strong force to the possession in 1654. In 1667 it was ceded by the treaty of Breda to the crown of France. But the restless English colonists, unmindful of treaty obligations, attacked the French from time to time at various points, until in 1713 the latter relinquished all claim to the country. England neglected it until 1749, when, the designs of the French again becoming marked, the Government made strenuous exertions to induce British settlers to go there. More than 4000 emigrants with their families sailed for the colony ; and Halifax was founded. But the French settlers, who enjoyed privi-leges as neutrals, still embraced a considerable portion of the population, and, with their allies the Indians, proved exceedingly troublesome to the English. They were filially expelled ; and in 1758 a constitution was granted to Nova Scotia. By the treaty of Paris in 1763 France resigned all pretension to the country. In 1784 New Brunswick and Cape Breton were separated from Nova Scotia ; but in 1819 the two latter divisions were reunited, and in 1867 they became part of the Dominion of Canada.

See Campbell, Nova Scotia in its Historical, Mercantile, and Industrial Relations (Montreal, 1873) ; Dawson, Acadian Geology (Montreal, 1S7S); Fletcher in Report of the Geological Survey of Canada (1879-80); Pub. Docs. "Nova Scotia and Dominion of Canada (1882-83)." (G. ST.)




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