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Nova Scotia Travel & Holidays Guide

Capital City: Halifax

Nova Scotia's European settlement dates from the original French colonists in 1604. Control of the region passed to Britain in the 1700's and it became a favoured destination for Scottish immigrants who are still the largest ethnic group in the province.

Many of the coastal towns bear testimony to the a flourishing fishing industry during the 20th century. As a result of over-fishing the industry went into decline and the region suffered many years of economic stagnation. As recently as 1995, the province had the lowest per capita earnings of all the Canadian provinces. 

Times have changed and due to a strong small-business sector that now makes up 92% of the provincial economy, Nova Scotia now has one of the fastest-growing economies in Canada. On-shore and off-shore natural resources now play an important part in the province's economy.

Visitors to Nova Scotia will find a region full of reminders of Canada's early European settlement. The occupations of the French, Scottish and British are all evident throughout the province.  Nova Scotia is a centre for artistic and cultural excellence and the capital city of Halifax has emerged as the leading cultural centre in the Atlantic region. The city is an education and high tech center with numerous post-secondary institutions.

The province has always had strong ties with traditional music, mostly celtic in style and influence, and has long been a favoured home for all types of artists, traditional crafting, writing and publishing and a flourishing film industry.

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Things To See & Do

  • Annapolis Valley: A wonderful sight in May when the fruit trees are covered in blossoms.

  • Annapolis Royal: The first capital of Nova Scotia and the site of the first permanent French settlement in Canada

  • Fort Anne National Historic Site: The place where so many battles were fought in the past. The old fortifications, the powder magazine and the ramparts are all open to visitors.

  • Cape Breton Island: The highest mountains in Nova Scotia and a charming blend of sea and land rich in coal deposits.

  • Cape Breton Highlands National Park: Numerous self guided hiking and biking trails, including the Cabot Trail, wind through spectacular scenery in this wildlife and bird habitat. The site of some of Canada's most spectacular fall (autumn) colours.

  • Louisbourg: The site of Fortresse de Louisbourg, an historic French military base and now one of the most visited historical sites in Canada.

  • Celtic Colors Festival: Plan your visit to the Cape Breton area for October to coincide with this world famous celebration of all things Celtic, but especially the toe-tapping traditional music.

  • Take a whale watching tour off the top end of Cape Breton island with sightings virtually guaranteed.

  • Try the unique experience of riding a raft on the tidal bore wave of the highest tides in the world.

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