Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia

This Atlantic peninsula could have been an American state or a French colony, but instead it’s a maritime stronghold of Canada’s Scottish population.

With a name meaning “New Scotland” in Latin, Nova Scotia is culturally Scottish. Historically, it is a broad melting pot. Today its seaside communities are filled with pubs and Celtic culture. Its shores have welcomed over a million immigrants to Canada from across the world. Traces of other nations’ settlements remain today. Enjoy Nova Scotia’s Scottish port towns, explore its colonial history and take in its world-famous coastal landscapes.

Enjoy the culture and seafood of a Nova Scotia seaport. Halifax is the province’s largest city and it has the busiest port. Explore the harbor, which has antique sea craft and seafood restaurants. Nearby are marine-themed museums including the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, featuring a Titanic deck chair reproduction. For a more intimate experience of Nova Scotia seaside life, head to the coastal village of Lunenburg. Established in 1753, this UNESCO World Heritage site features many brightly colored 18th- and 19th-century buildings.

During the colonial age, Nova Scotia was a major frontier in the territorial race between France and England. As a result, the province has many old fortifications, such as the Halifax Citadel. This star-shaped fort towers over the city from its highest hill. The neighboring Halifax Town Clock is the city’s main landmark. France’s response to England’s formidable settlements include the Fortress of Louisbourg, located just outside the modern town of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island. The 18th-century castle has massive walls up to 36 feet (11 meters) thick. In summer, costumed actors recreate life as it might have been like here in 1744.

In addition to Louisbourg, Nova Scotia’s northeasterly Cape Breton Island features the renowned Cabot Trail. Wrapping around the island’s northern peninsula, the Cabot Trail reveals mountainous coastal vistas. Pass through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where 26 hiking trails provide views over forested seaside cliffs. Head on to Pleasant Bay, which is a prime spot for whale watching.

The best time to visit Nova Scotia is between June and September, although crowds can be heavy in July and August. Fly or boat into Halifax to begin your trip to this colorful and historic Atlantic province.

Popular cities in Nova Scotia

Crystal Crescent Beach featuring a sandy beach and general coastal views
Atlantic Canada’s harbor city is a treasure trove of maritime heritage, woodland parks and sandy beaches. 

Reasons to visit

  • Halifax Public Gardens
  • Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
  • Halifax City Hall
Yarmouth featuring a marina
Learn the history and seafaring culture of this port town and admire mansions that belonged to sea captains in the late 19th century.

Reasons to visit

  • Cape Forchu Lightstation
Dartmouth showing street scenes and a small town or village
Enjoy lots of aquatic adventures on the lakes of this waterfront community, situated on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbor.
Truro showing street scenes
Come to a town in central Nova Scotia to witness some of the highest tides in the world and to ride on powerful river waves. 
Pictou which includes a house and general coastal views
Known as the Birthplace of New Scotland, this seaside town charms with its waterfront cafés, island excursions and replica of an historic ship.