Grand Pre and Nova Scotia History

My wife inherited the Stewart House, which has been in her family since it was built, so we like to get the local Grand Pre history correct. The story of the Acadians has, over the years, been as much about myth as history.  It was popularized by an American writer who never actually came to Nova Scotia.  The basic story line is:  the French settled Nova Scotia through land grants to Seigner d’Aulnay de Charnisay and Charles de la Tour.  A fortress village was constructed at Port Royal, near the town of Annapolis Royal.  Despite the harsh winters, the peasants […]

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Acadians – A Mini Primer

Many people know the name Acadian or Acadia, but probably would be hard-pressed to be sure who they were talking about.  When you visit Nova Scotia, it’s good to have the basics so you can better enjoy the various Acadian cultural artefacts and events. In the 1600s 500 French settlers colonized Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, calling the area Acadie, and prospered and, in the 1750s, their numbers were about 14,000. Unfortunately, the British had claimed Nova Scotia as its colony.  In 1755, Acadians were rounded up for an unwilling deportation.  Over 6000 Acadians were put on boats bound for elsewhere, […]

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Postcard from Tatamagouche

What’s going on in this town? They grow giant women …Anna Swan, giantess, who joined the P.T. Barnum Circus was born here – a wee 18 pounds – she has her own (large) museum. Real men wear Liederhossen …Oktoberfest, the largest beer and sausage party east of Kitchener Ontario. Sleeping on a train gets you nowhere …Sleep in a parked caboose or the Station Master’s residence at the Train Station Inn, (hay and hobo extra). Watching the women leave town is entertainment …A hit CBC reality show was filmed here, proving that when the women leave town there’s lots of […]

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A Quick Stop for Anne Murray fans!

I’ve always loved Anne Murray’s voice and sang along to her songs! She’s been a famous part of Canadian music for decades. (Remember Snowbird?) If you’re an Anne Murray fan and touring north-western Nova Scotia, her hometown of Springhill is worth a stop. In between Amherst (about 32 km away) and Truro (about 89 km away), Springhill is situated in the Cobequid Mountain Range. Originally Springhill was a flourishing mining town until too many accidents finally led to mine closures. It’s remembered especially for its “big bump” accident in 1958 that claimed 75 lives. If you want to learn more […]

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Down North

Sense of direction can be a little confusing in Cape Breton for those “from away”. Cape Bretoners talk about Down North – diametrically contrary to most people who go “down south” and “up north”. After all, the world spins sort of upright with the top being north and the bottom, south, doesn’t it? Things become stranger when you hear them talking about going “down to Sydney” and “up to Halifax”. To get to either city you have to drive east or west on Highways 104 and 105 West! How does that fit? OK. Let’s overlook the finer points of the […]

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