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Nova Scotia (Nouvelle-Écosse in French, Alba Nuadh in Gaelic) is a Canadian province located on Canada's southeastern coast. It is the most populous province in the Maritimes, and its capital, Halifax, is the economic and cultural centre of the region. Nova Scotia is the second smallest province in Canada, with an area of only 55,284 km², and its population of 937,889 Nova Scotians (or, less formally, Bluenosers) makes it the fourth least populous province of the country. Its name is Latin for New Scotland.
Nova Scotia's economy is traditionally largely resource based, but has in recent decades become more diverse. Traditional industries such as fishing, mining, forestry and agriculture remain very important, and have been joined by tourism, technology, film production, music and other cultural industries.
The territory now known as Nova Scotia included several regions of the Mi'kmaq nation of Mi'gma'gi, which covered all of the Maritimes, as well as parts of Maine, the Gaspé, and Newfoundland. Nova Scotia was already home to the Mi'kmaq people when the first European colonists arrived. In 1604, French colonists established the first permanent European settlement north of Florida at Port Royal, founding what would become known as Acadia. The British Empire obtained control of the region between 1713 and 1760, and established the new capital at Halifax in 1749. Nova Scotia was one of the founding four provinces to join Confederation with Canada in 1867.
The government of Nova Scotia is a parliamentary democracy. Its unicameral legislature -- the Nova Scotia House of Assembly -- consists of 52 members. As Canada's head of state, Queen Elizabeth II is the Government of Nova Scotia's chief executive. Her duties in Nova Scotia are carried out by Lieutenant Governor, Myra Freeman. The government is headed by the Premier, Rodney MacDonald, who took office February 22, 2006. The Halifax Regional Municipality is home to the seat of government.
The province's revenue comes mainly from the taxation of personal and corporate income, as well as sin taxes, though increasingly, oil and gas royalty revenue is becoming a factor. Federal equalisation payments account for 21.23% of the provincial budget. While Nova Scotians have enjoyed balanced budgets for several years, the accumulated debt exceeds $12 billion dollars, resulting in slightly over $897 million in debt servicing payments in 2005/06. The province participates in the HST, a blended sales taxes collected by the Federal Government using the GST tax system.
Nova Scotia has elected both a Liberal and Conservative minority government over the last decade. The Conservative government of, initially, John Hamm, and now Rodney MacDonald, has required the support the New Democratic Party or Liberal Party since the election in 2003. Nova Scotia's politics are divided on regional lines in such a way that it has become difficult to elect a majority government. Rural mainland Nova Scotia has largely been aligned behind the Conservative Party, Halifax Regional Municipality has overwhelmingly supported the New Democrats, with Cape Breton voting for some Liberals and some Conservative members. This has resulted in a 1/3 split of votes on a Province wide basis for each party, and difficulty in any party gaining a majority. Conservative Premier Dr. Hamm announced his retirement in late 2005 and was replaced by Rodney MacDonald after MacDonald won a closely contested leadership convention, defeating former finance minister, and the race's frontrunner, Neil LeBlanc on the first ballot and Halifax businessman Bill Black on the second. MacDonald is the second youngest premier in Nova Scotia's history.
Halifax, Nova Scotia skyline at night
The province's mainland is a peninsula, connected to mainland North America by the Isthmus of Chignecto, and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, including numerous bays and estuaries. Cape Breton Island, a large island to the northeast of the Nova Scotian mainland, is also part of the province, as is Sable Island, a small island notorious for its shipwrecks, approximately 175 km (95 nm) from the province's southern coast. Nova Scotia is Canada's second smallest province in area (after Prince Edward Island), and no point in Nova Scotia is more than 56 km from the sea.
See also individual articles on Nova Scotia geography and below for a map.
Ten Largest Municipalities
Nova Scotia is the seventh most populated province in Canada with an estimated 938,116 residents as of October 1, 2005. It accounts for 3% of the population of Canada. The population density is approximately 17.2 persons/km². Roughly 60% of the population live in rural parts of the province.
Unemployment is 9.5% of the work force, as of February 2006.
Per capita income
In 2004, per capita income was $26,905 (Can).
Gross Domestic Product
Nova Scotia GDP is presently approximately $30 billion (Can) annually.
The lighthouse situated on Peggys Point, immediately south of Peggys Cove.
Nova Scotia is in the Atlantic Standard Time zone.
The schooner Bluenose, which appears on the back of the Canadian ten-cent piece (dime) and current Nova Scotia license plate was built in Lunenburg, a town on the South Shore.
500–1000 Nova Scotians today are fluent in Scottish Gaelic - nearly all live in Antigonish County or on Cape Breton Island. No native Nova Scotians speak Scots.
In 2004, Nova Scotia voted to invite Turks and Caicos Islands to join the province, should these Caribbean islands ever become part of Canada. This would bypass the problems with admitting Turks and Caicos as a separate province.
In November 1761, a furious storm sent the merchant ship Auguste to its doom, taking with it 114 people bound for France and all of their earthly possessions. One of seven survivors, Monsieur St. Luc de la Corne, made an epic trek of almost one-thousand miles in the dead of a Canadian winter back to his family in Montreal. Almost 250 years later, what is left of the Auguste and her valuable cargo of gold and silver lies on the bottom of Cape Breton's Aspy Bay. Underwater explorer, Joe Amaral, and his team have sifted through the sands of Aspy Bay looking for treasure and answers to what really happened during this devastating shipwreck. So far, they have found several cannon, lead sheathing from repairs to the ship, a few coins, and a spoon.
Halifax played a key role in the aftermath of the loss of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912, becoming the final resting place of many of her unclaimed victims. Three Halifax ships were involved in the grim task of recovering victims - many of whom were laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery. The Maritime Museum of Canada on the waterfront has a poignant exhibition of items recovered from the disaster, including the passenger list and one of the only deck chairs from the Titanic known to exist.
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