Nova Scotia Uncovered: Fascinating and Fun Nova Scotia Facts To Fuel Your Curiosity

Nova Scotia offers a world of delight. These fun and incredible Nova Scotia facts will help fuel your curiosity as you travel the province.

An antique Dodge truck sits on the side of the road amidst colourful buildings in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia Facts
The colourful streets of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

Nova Scotia, where breathtaking landscapes, maritime culture, and warm, smiling locals seem to be around every corner. This charming province is nestled on the southern edge of Canada’s East Coast and is a treasure chest of adventure.

From the raw, rugged Atlantic coastlines, filled with salty air, quaint fishing villages, and iconic lighthouses to the thriving city of Halifax, which boasts a world-class foodie culture and some of Canada’s most important cultural spots, Nova Scotia is a destination with a little something for everyone.

Whether you’re driving the legendary Cabot Trail or sailing about the Bluenose II in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is a place that draws you in and makes you feel like you’re home. If you want to get to know this province a little better, our list of fascinating and fun Nova Scotia facts will pique your curiosity.

We’ve laid out loads of great Nova Scotia travel guides, but these Nova Scotia fun facts are really where it all began.

Fun Nova Scotia Facts

There are way more Nova Scotia fun facts than we can list on a single page, but we’ve laid out the most fun, exciting, and mind-blowing tidbits to help fire up your brain and engage your soul. With so many great experiences in Nova Scotia, we’ll break down the facts into categories to help you find what’s most important to you.

Nova Scotia Lighthouses

Crowds gather around a tall white lighthouse with a red housing at Peggy's Point, Nova Scotia
Crowds gather at the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

These Nova Scotia facts offer a look into the incredible lighthouses and marine history of the province from pirates to shipping routes, Nova Scotia has been crucial to Canada’s naval heritage.

  • Nova Scotia Has More Lighthouses Than Any Province In Canada: Nova Scotia is home to the highest number of lighthouses in Canada, with over 150 lighthouses along its rugged coastline. These iconic structures have played a vital role in guiding ships safely through treacherous waters.
  • Nova Scotia IS Home To The Oldest Lighthouse In North America: The Sambro Island Lighthouse, located near Halifax, is the oldest operational lighthouse in North America. Built in 1758, it has been guiding ships for over 260 years and is a testament to Nova Scotia’s rich maritime history.
  • Cape Forchu Lighthouse Was Used By Pirates: Cape Forchu Lighthouse in Yarmouth is said to have once served as a lookout for the notorious pirate Black Bart, who roamed the region in the 18th century.
  • Nova Scotia Is Home To The Most Photographed Lighthouse In Canada: The Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, with its charming red-and-white striped exterior, is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Canada.
  • Nova Scotia Has a Lighthouse Road Trip: The Lighthouse Route stretches along the South Shore of Nova Scotia and provides an opportunity to visit picturesque lighthouses like Peggy’s Cove and Cape Forchu.

Nova Scotia History

A man in 1800s military dress stands next to a cannon at the Halifax Citadel
Nova Scotia history at the Halifax Citadel – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

These fun facts offer a glimpse into Nova Scotia’s diverse and compelling history. From early European settlements to significant events and contributions, the province’s past is filled with captivating stories that have shaped its identity and continue to be part of its cultural fabric.

  • Nova Scotia is home to the first permanent European Settlement in Canada: While we all know that it was the Vikings that first landed in Canada when they set up a temporary settlement in Western Newfoundland, Nova Scotia holds the distinction of being the site of the first permanent European settlement in Canada. In 1605, French settlers established Port Royal (now known as Annapolis Royal) in present-day Nova Scotia, predating the establishment of Jamestown, Virginia, and Quebec City.
  • Nova Scotia Was Home To Many Acadians In The 18th Century: One of the most significant events in Nova Scotia’s history is the Expulsion of the Acadians. In the mid-18th century, the British authorities forcibly removed the Acadian population from their lands, dispersing them throughout the region and beyond. This event has had a lasting impact on the province’s cultural landscape and led to Acadian cultural explosions in places such as New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana.
  • Halifax Was Home To One Of The Largest Man-Made Explosions: On December 6, 1917, Halifax experienced one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history. A collision between two ships in Halifax Harbour resulted in a massive explosion that devastated the city, causing extensive damage and loss of life. The event was dubbed the “Halifax Explosion.”
  • Nova Scotia Played An Important Part In The Underground Railroad: The Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by enslaved African Americans to escape to freedom came through Nova Scotia. Many Black Loyalists and refugees settled in Nova Scotia, contributing to the province’s rich Black history and culture.
  • Nova Scotia Played An Important Part in the Titanic Story: Nova Scotia has close ties to the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912. After the disaster, Halifax became the central recovery and burial location for many of the victims. The Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax is the final resting place of over 100 Titanic passengers, making it a place of historical significance.
  • Nova Scotia And The Telephone: Guglielmo Marconi sent the first wireless message from North America To Europe from Glace Bay, Cape Breton, on December 17th, 1902. This beautiful location was chosen for its unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean with a straight line across the ocean. Travellers can pay a visit to the Marconi Wireless Station National Historic Site in Glace Bay.
  • Nova Scotia Is The Birthplace Of Shinny Hockey: Windsor, Nova Scotia, is recognized as the birthplace of ice hockey. The first recorded game of ice hockey was played there in the early 1800s, and the town proudly displays its hockey heritage.

Nova Scotia Cities and Towns

A statue of Jesus with his hands outstetched at Universite Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia
Universite Sainte-Anne on the Acadian Shores – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

These facts about Nova Scotia highlight the unique characteristics and offerings of some of Nova Scotia’s cities and towns. Whether you’re exploring the historic streets of Halifax, relishing the culinary delights of Wolfville, or immersing yourself in the maritime charm of Lunenburg, each place has its own distinct charm and attractions to discover.

  • Halifax Is Known As The City Of Trees: The capital of Nova Scotia is often referred to as the “City of Trees.” With an abundance of parks, green spaces, and tree-lined streets, Halifax boasts a remarkable urban forest that enhances its natural beauty.
  • Lunenburg Is A UNESCO World Heritage Site: The town of Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved examples of a British colonial settlement in North America. Its colourful historic buildings, narrow streets, and rich maritime heritage make it a delightful place to explore.
  • Wolfville Is Nova Scotia’s Culinary Capital: While Halifax is known for the Doner, Wolfville, located in the Annapolis Valley, is renowned for its fertile farmland and is a hub for wine production and apple orchards. The town hosts the annual Devour! The Food Film Fest combines film screenings with culinary delights.
  • Digby Is The Scallop Capital Of The World: The town of Digby, situated on the Bay of Fundy, proudly claims the title of the “Scallop Capital of the World.” Its waters are rich with these delicious shellfish, and the town holds an annual Scallop Days festival to celebrate this local delicacy.
  • Louisbourg Was Once The Busiest Seaport In North America: During the 18th century, the fortress of Louisbourg served as a major French stronghold and trading center in the region. Today, the town is a National Historic Site and offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience life in an 18th-century fortified town, complete with reconstructed buildings, costumed interpreters, and interactive exhibits. It provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich history and culture of the time period.

Travel In Nova Scotia

A road winds down the edge of cliffs on a coastal route in Nova Scotia
The Cabot Trail road trip – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

These fun facts about travel in Nova Scotia showcase the province’s natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and unique experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re exploring scenic drives, encountering majestic marine life, camping by the ocean, or catching a tidal bore wave, Nova Scotia offers a wide range of exciting and memorable travel experiences.

  • The Cabot Trail Is One Of The Most Scenic Drives In The World: The Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Island is particularly famous, offering breathtaking views of rugged cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, and the vast Atlantic Ocean. It’s consistently ranked as one of the most scenic drives in the world.
  • Nova Scotia Is Home To Over 3,800 Islands: Nova Scotia is perfect for an island-hopping adventure. With over 3,800 islands, there are ample opportunities for coastal exploring. From Cape Breton Island with its renowned Cabot Trail to the remote and enchanting Sable Island, there are numerous islands waiting to be explored and discovered.
  • Nova Scotia Is Made For Whale Watching: Nova Scotia’s coastal waters are a prime location for whale-watching enthusiasts. From May to October, visitors can embark on boat tours to witness majestic creatures such as humpback, fin, and minke whales breaching and feeding in their natural habitat.
  • You Can Enjoy Oceanside Camping In Nova Scotia: With over 12,000 km of coastline, Nova Scotia offers a wealth of camping opportunities with stunning ocean views. From the vast provincial park system with parks such as Cape Chignecto and Cape Breton Highlands to private campgrounds, you can pitch a tent or park an RV and fall asleep to the relaxing sound of the waves.
  • Nova Scotia Has Tidal Bore Surfing: The Bay of Fundy’s massive tides create a unique surfing experience known as tidal bore surfing. Adventure seekers can ride the incoming tidal wave on a surfboard or kayak, gliding through the river as the tide rushes in. It’s an exhilarating and one-of-a-kind activity for those seeking a thrilling water adventure.

Food In Nova Scotia

A potato by called a Rappee Pie with a gravy sauce
Nova Scotia’s famous Rappie Pie Acadian food – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

These fun facts about food in Nova Scotia highlight the province’s culinary delights, from its world-famous lobster and scallops to its vibrant local produce, traditional dishes, and burgeoning wine and craft beer industries. Exploring the diverse flavours and tastes of Nova Scotia is a delightful experience for any food lover.

  • Nova Scotia Is Famous For Its Lobster: The province’s cold, pristine waters are home to some of the finest lobsters in the world. You can indulge in lobster rolls, lobster boils, and other delectable lobster dishes while enjoying the coastal ambiance.
  • Blueberries Can Be Found Everywhere: Nova Scotia is a haven for blueberry lovers. The province’s acidic soil and cool climate create ideal conditions for growing plump, flavorful blueberries. You can find them in various forms, from fresh-picked berries to jams, pies, and even blueberry-infused beverages.
  • Acadian Cuisine Shouldn’t Be Missed: Nova Scotia has a rich Acadian heritage, and Acadian cuisine is an integral part of the local culinary scene. Acadian dishes like rappie pie (a savoury meat and potato dish), fricot (a chicken stew), and poutine râpée (a traditional boiled potato dumpling) showcase the region’s unique flavours and cultural traditions.
  • Nova Scotia Is Becoming The Maritimes Top Wine and Beer Regions: Nova Scotia has a burgeoning wine and craft beer scene. The province’s vineyards produce award-winning wines, particularly whites and sparkling varieties. In addition, Nova Scotia boasts numerous craft breweries that offer a wide range of locally brewed beers, including unique flavours inspired by the region’s ingredients.
  • Halifax Is The Birthplace Of The Donair: The Halifax donair is a unique take on the traditional Middle Eastern doner kebab. It features a pita filled with seasoned and spiced sliced beef or chicken, topped with a sweet and tangy sauce made with condensed milk, garlic, and vinegar. What sets the Halifax donair apart is the addition of a generous helping of diced onions and tomatoes. This delightful street food is so popular in Halifax that it has become a local culinary symbol and a must-try for visitors looking for a savoury, messy, and satisfying meal.

These Nova Scotia Facts Are Just A Taste

These Nova Scotia fun facts are a great way to get to know this incredible province. Whether you’ve been to Nova Scotia before or you’re planning your first trip, the beauty, attractions, and people of Nova Scotia will win your heart.

Do you have a favourite attraction or restaurant in Canada? Head over to the We Explore Canada Facebook Community and join the conversation! You’ll find an amazing group of people passionate about travel in Canada who love to share their local secrets.

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