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Welcome to Nova Scotia



Nova Scotia is one of the 10 provinces of Canada. It has been an important trading centre since it was discovered by English adventurer John Cabot in 1497. Nova Scotia extends into the Atlantic Ocean from eastern North America and is virtually surrounded by the sea. Its early history was immeasurably shaped by its location and by its plentiful resources.

Fishing, shipbuilding, defence and international commerce have always been central to the economy. But the face of Nova Scotia business has greatly diversified over 500 years. Today, the province continues to enjoy the benefits of its unique location, resourceful people and role within Canada.  Some of the world’s largest companies have established here, complementing animpressive community of homegrown exporters.

Nova Scotia is a 580-kilometre (360 mile) peninsula along the southeast corner of Canada. It is strategically situated between Europe and North America, within a two-hour flight to Montreal, Toronto, Boston or New York.

The 45th parallel passes directly through Nova Scotia. This places it on the same latitude as Maine, Oregon and southern France.  Its length stretches between W60° and W66° longitude, due north of Bermuda and Barbados.

View map of Nova Scotia

The total area of Nova Scotia is 55,500 sq km (21,400 sq mi). By comparison, it is slightly larger than Denmark, somewhat smaller than Scotland about twice the size of Massachusetts. No part of Nova Scotia is more than 56 kilometres (35 miles) from the sea.

Nova Scotia has over 7600 km (4700 miles) of craggy, scenic coastline, characterized by numerous headlands, inlets and islands.  Some of the largest and deepest ice-free harbours in the world are hemmed in from the sea on all sides of the province. They continue to represent one the greatest natural and commercial advantages possessed by Nova Scotia.

Time Zone
Atlantic (UTC– 4). This is one hour ahead of the heavily populated Eastern time zone, making it easier to conduct business with the US and Europe on the same business day.

921,727 (2011) – 7th largest among the 10 Canadian provinces.

Median Age
42 (2006)

Languages Spoken
English: 93 %
French: 4 %  
Non-official languages: 3 %

Nova Scotia is home to 11 universities, 13 community college campuses and more than 100 high schools - more per capita than in any other region of Canada.  University enrolment is 43,000, with 4500 international students from 140 countries also studying in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia has been officially designated “Canada’s warmest province”. It lies in the northern temperate zone where the influence of the sea moderates the climate and helps Nova Scotia escape much of the coldest winter weather. The summers are comfortably warm and the autumns beautiful.

Nova Scotia's culture has deep roots within several "founding cultures" – the Míkmaq First Nation, French, Scottish, English, Irish and African. These were later supplemented by Loyalist settlers from the United States and, in recent times, by immigrants from around the world. The result is a fascinating blend of people known for their honesty, enterprise and good nature – qualities that also characterize the Nova Scotia business community.

Nova Scotia was one of the four provinces which founded Canada on July 1, 1867. It is now represented in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa by 11 elected representatives in the House of Commons and by 10 senators.

Provincial Government
The Nova Scotia parliamentary system of government consists of a lieutenant governor, a cabinet composed of a premier and ministers and an elected legislature. All citizens 18 years of age and older may vote. Elections are held every four years, unless a government is defeated or the premier dissolves the legislature.

The lieutenant governor now fulfills a largely ceremonial role. The Premier holds real power as the leader of the political party with a majority of seats in the legislature. He or she leads the legislative agenda and also appoints cabinet members to head various departments.

Halifax: Capital City
The capital of Nova Scotia is Halifax, population 390,096 (2011).  When founded in 1749, it was the first British town in Canada. It has the second largest natural harbour in the world and one of the busiest in Canada.

Halifax is the major economic centre in eastern Canada with a large concentration of government services and private sector companies. It is the largest Canadian city east of Montreal and is a vibrant business, banking, government and cultural centre. Almost 25 per cent of Halifax’s labour force has a university degree.