How Nova Scotia Got Its Name

The Scottish Side of "New Scotland" Canada

Nova Scotia. Google Images

The province of Nova Scotia is one of the ten provinces and three territories that make up Canada. Located on the far southeastern coast of the country, it is one only three Canadian Maritime provinces. Currently nicknamed "Canada’s Festival Province," the name Nova Scotia originates from Latin, meaning "New Scotland."

Nova Scotia's Early Scottish Settlers

Founded in 1621 by Sir William Alexander of Menstrier, who appealed to King James of Scotland that a "New Scotland" was needed to expand national interests alongside New England, New France, and New Spain, Nova Scotia became an ideal territory for early Scottish settlers.

Nearly a century later, after the United Kingdom gained control over the area, there was a massive Scottish immigration spark. Adventurous Highlanders rushed to emigrate from all over Scotland to settle throughout Nova Scotia.

By the mid-1700s, British military officer, general and acting governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence, invited American New England residents to relocate to Nova Scotia. This was largely due to the expulsion of the Acadians that left large land vacancies and created yet another Scottish population surge.

The new settlers were comprised of Scots that had fled to New England in the last century to gain religious freedom. These descendants formed a major part of the life and development of Nova Scotia and many early residents remain there to this day.

Nova Scotia Today

Today, the Scottish are the third largest ethnic group in Canada, and their heritage is celebrated throughout the providence. Community events such as Tartan days, clan gathering, and showings of Highlander-based films such as Braveheart, Trainspotting and Highlander reaffirm ancient Scottish pride.

The kinship between Scotland and Canada is incredibly strong and there is a Scottish website dedicated to the "Celtic connections" by bringing the historical cultures together after centuries apart.

Visitors to Nova Scotia looking for an authentic cultural experience are invited to wear a kilt, enjoy the skirl of the bagpipes from a marching band, and see the cabar being tossed at one of the province's many Highland Games events, according to Tourism Nova Scotia's Gaelic and Highlander cultural information website, Gaelic Nova Scotia.

Sampling traditional Scottish dishes like haggis, porridge, kippers, black pudding, shortbread, cranachan, and clootie dumplings with a Canadian twist at local favorites like The Loose Cannon and Molly McPherson's Pub is also a great way to honor the Highland heritage and your stomach.

And a trip to the Highland Village Museum/An Clachan Gàidhealach, a living history museum and cultural center that celebrates the Gaelic experience in Nova Scotia is also a must for visitors looking for a more refined way to celebrate and learn about the early Canadian Scots.