Nova Scotia, on Canada’s Atlantic Coast, is also called “Canada’s Ocean Playground”. The Province is steeped in a rich and varied history, as its original Mi’kmaq people were joined by French Acadian settlers, British Loyalists, Scottish Highlanders, German and French Protestants, Irish peasants fleeing famine and later by Italian and Polish miners.
The Province boasts many firsts, including the first responsible government (as opposed to British colonial government) in Canada, the first free press in Canada and the oldest university outside Britain in the former British Empire. Nova Scotians have a rich maritime history having built the world’s largest wooden ship and the North Atlantic’s fastest fishing schooner. Samuel Cunard, founder of the Cunard Steamship Company was born in Halifax. Fortress Louisburg and the Halifax Citadel are excellent restorations which portray life two hundred, or more, years ago.
Nova Scotia also has a rich and varied railway history, boasting one of the earliest railways in Canada to use steam locomotives (at the Albion Mines in Pictou County) and what was once North America’s most intensively worked coal railway (the Sydney and Louisburg RR). “The Ocean Limited” was introduced in 1904 by the Intercolonial Railway to provide first-class passenger service between Halifax and Montreal. Remarkably, history can still be experienced today in Nova Scotia. Now thoroughly modernized, VIA Rail’s “Ocean” continues to provide this service and is perhaps unique in being a named passenger train that has run for over a century.
The Nova Scotia Railway Heritage Society is delighted to help introduce you to some of the railway history of Nova Scotia and to some of the museums in which you can relive past railway glories of one of Canada’s most history-rich provinces. Kindly browse through the remainder of this site to learn about these museums.