Our History and Culture

Northumberland History & Culture

While the passage of time marked in millennia is found in the fossils like the ones you can see in the sedimentary rock along the shores of Arisaig Provincial Park, the human history of our region begins with the Mi'kmaq people and the created tales of their mythic Man-God, Glooscap. History here encompasses the struggle between the British and the French for control of a young continent, the strength of the Scottish settlers holding fast to their language and culture while making a new life in a new world, and the remarkable ingenuity and perseverance of early industrialists and shipbuilders.

Each of the towns along the Northumberland Shore has its own remarkable history to share. In Pictou, the largest town in our region, you can visit the Hector Heritage Quay and step aboard a replica of the Ship Hector that carried the first wave of Scottish immigrants to Nova Scotia in fall of 1773. The 161 settlers who survived the crossing to set foot in New Scotland were followed over a 30 year period by 50,000 Scottish Highlanders who would lend the music and language of the home they left behind to the world they found here.

The historic streets of Amherst, graced with charming Victorian and Edwardian architecture, were home to a remarkable of four of the original 36 Fathers of Confederation. Pugwash , where the modern peace movement was first founded in 1957, is home to The Thinkers' Lodge, a National Historic Site, . The town of Antigonish has hosted the Antigonish Highland Games celebrating the food, music, dance and, of course, games of the Gales for 149 summers in a row. Stellarton, where coal was first discovered in 1798 and mined up until this generation, is home to the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry housing interactive displays and expansive collections of trains, vehicles and machinery from industrial past. There are four museums from the network of Nova Scotia Museums to visit on the Northumberland Shore and many heritage sites and community museums like Creamery Square in the waterfront of the historic town of Tatamagouche. Creamery Square houses amazing exhibits including 290 million year old fossils from the Brule Fossil Collection and resources for the most avid history buff in the Resource Centre for historical and genealogical research.

From Acadian dykelands to shipyards built by Loyalist industrialists to delightful villages like Malagash proudly bearing Mi'kmaq names, you can delve into the past with a passion on your visit to the Northumberland Shore.