Nova Scotia Backgrounder

Tourism --
Welcoming the world

Nova Scotians have always known that their homeland was unique. Travellers from an increasing number of countries are now discovering a previously well-kept secret. In recent years, tourism has become one of the province s major industries. Today it s a multi-million dollar annual business and with good reason. With the exception per-haps of those committed to the atmosphere of the big city, there is truly something here for everyone. There is a more leisurely pace of life than in many other communities. Visitors discover a countryside and cities that are clean, safe and welcoming.

Just five hours by air from Europe and less from most parts of the United States, Nova Scotia offers activities and experiences to suit a wide range of individual tastes. It is often said that the scenery here is as varied as the moods of the sea. Almost every stretch of the 7,400-km (4,600 miles) shoreline reveals something different towering cliffs, spectacular views, sweeps of deserted beach, imposing headlands, sheltered coves and fishing villages, salt marshes full of wildlife. Typical of Canada, most is publicly owned and accessible.

With four distinct seasons, Nova Scotia is a year-round tourist destination, although most visitors traditionally come in the summer and autumn. Outdoor enthusiasts find hundreds of places to hike, cycle, backpack and camp. The Cape Breton Highlands, for example, challenge the fit and energetic and reward richly. Rivers, streams and over 1,000 lakes offer canoeists and fishing enthusiasts everything from white-water torrents to placid backwaters. Nova Scotia has some of the world s best salmon fishing. A well-developed outfitting industry caters to activities such as sea-kayaking, bicycle touring, sailing, windsurfing, golf, underwater exploration an almost endless list of activities. Nature tourism is a rapidly growing business. The scenery and accessible trails make cross country skiing a favourite winter activity. Many northern European visitors find that Nova Scotia s relatively long winter daylight hours allow more extended enjoyment of outdoor activities than they re used to at home.

Twice daily in the Bay of Fundy, 100 billion tonnes of water sweep into a funnel-shaped cleft between two land masses, creating the world s highest tides. These powerful tides scour fantastic shapes in the land and provide feeding grounds for an amazing range of birds, fish and marine mammals. Fossil-hunters, photographers, artists, naturalists in search of birds or whales discover a wonderland. Museums, heritage buildings and cultural centres throughout Nova Scotia provide a window on the past on the significant role played by immigrants, shipbuilding, farming, milling, mining and on the details of everyday life. The accurate restoration of Fortress Louisbourg and Sherbrooke Village offer a taste of life in colonial days. Festivals throughout the year celebrate a wide variety of national heritages and numerous special events with music, food and crafts.

With the help of trained tourism staff, visitors plan detailed itineraries or follow each day s impulse. They can go deluxe or simple. Major centres and many other areas offer luxury hotels. Many smaller hotels and motels provide a good, basic standard of accommodation. Country inns offer high quality in a more intimate setting. Bed & breakfasts and vacation farms allow tourists to meet and get to know Nova Scotians in their own homes. Camping is well developed and very accessible in federally or provincially-operated parks, and in private campgrounds. Most are spacious and offer a choice of tenting or serviced sites for camping vehicles. Restaurants are plentiful and many offer a wide range of foods. Fresh seafood, including lobster, is readily available year-round throughout the province.

The peace and quiet so rare in this world, the clean fresh air and the variety are just a few of the main attractions for visitors. But the hospitality is something on which most tourists comment. Nova Scotians are a warm, friendly people who enjoy sharing their land and their lives with visitors.


Value of tourism: $835 million in 1993, expected to exceed $1 billion by 1995
Number of visitors: 1.1 million in 1994
Tourism infrastructure: Well developed, with a wide range of accommodations, restaurants, entertainments and activities
National Parks: Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Kejimkujik National Park
Provincial Parks: 122 from small to large: 20 with overnight camping, 95 day-use, 46 shoreline parks, 16 with hiking trails, 3 wildlife parks
National Historic Sites: Grand Pré, Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Fortress of Louisbourg, Halifax Citadel, Grassy Island, Marconi s first TransAtlantic message, St. Peters Canal, Prince of Wales Martello Tower, York Redoubt, The Bank Fishery Age of Sail Exhibit, Fort Edward, Fort Anne, Port Royal Habitation
Museums: 16 sites in the Nova Scotia Museum Complex and numerous museums operated independently by historical societies and heritage groups