11 Oldest Towns in Nova Scotia, Canada

Nova Scotia is home to a wealth of historical towns and villages, each with its unique charm and storied past. These settlements, all at least 50 years older than Halifax, are nestled in some of the province’s most beautiful surroundings. From the oldest European settlement at Annapolis Royal to the scenic coastal community of Eel Bay, these towns offer a glimpse into the rich history and diverse heritage of Nova Scotia, surrounded by stunning landscapes that have captivated residents and visitors for centuries.
Shelburne waterfront
Shelburne, Nova Scotia's Waterfront

11. Shubenacadie (1699)
Shubenacadie, formerly Chibenakadie, was established in 1699. The area is notable for its Mi’kmaq heritage and the Shubenacadie River, which played a vital role in transportation and trade. Visit the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park to experience diverse wildlife and natural beauty.

10. Amherst (1672)
Amherst, known as Les Planches when founded in 1672, is located near the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border. It has a rich industrial history and played a key role during the Acadian Expulsion. Explore the historic Amherst Point Bird Sanctuary.

9. Yarmouth (1650s)
Yarmouth, originally Cap-Fourchu, was settled in the 1650s. It developed into a significant shipbuilding and fishing hub in the 19th century, known for its large fleet of wooden sailing ships. Don’t miss the Cape Forchu Lighthouse, an iconic landmark offering stunning coastal views.

8. Shelburne (1650s)
Shelburne, initially called Port-Rasoir, was established in the 1650s. It became a major settlement for Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution and is known for its historic architecture. Visit the Shelburne Waterfront for a glimpse into the town’s rich maritime heritage.

7. Pubnico (1653)
Pubnico, known as Pobomcoup at its founding in 1653, is the oldest Acadian community still inhabited mainly by Acadians. It has preserved much of its unique Acadian culture and heritage. Experience Acadian culture at the Historic Acadian Village of Nova Scotia.

6. Round Hill (1630s)
Round Hill, originally called Rosette, was established in the 1630s. This community is known for its agricultural history and its early settlement by French colonists. Be sure to visit nearby Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens.

5. St. Peters (1630s)
St. Peters, formerly Saint Pierre, dates back to the 1630s and is known for its strategic location along the Bras d’Or Lakes. It was a key site for trade and transportation in the early colonial period. Visit the St. Peter’s Canal National Historic Site to learn about the area’s rich history.

4. Guysborough (1634)
Guysborough, originally called Chedabouctou, was established in 1634. It is known for its scenic coastal views and its history as a French and later British settlement. Discover the charming Guysborough Waterfront.

3. Liverpool (1632)
Liverpool, formerly known as Port-Rossignol, was founded in 1632 and has a rich history connected to privateering and shipbuilding. The town was an important port during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Visit the Queens County Museum to explore the local history. Why not try a stay in one of Nova Scotia’s oldest inns, Lane’s Privateer Inn, on the River Mersey, built in 1798.

2. Eel Bay (1620)
Eel Bay, originally called Cap Negre by the French, was established in 1620. This small community, founded by Charles De La Tour, is notable for its early settlement and its history tied to the fishing industry. Visit the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre nearby to learn about the region’s rich history.

1. Annapolis Royal (1605)
Annapolis Royal, formerly known as Port-Royal, was founded in 1605 and is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. It played a significant role in the early history of Canada as the site of the first permanent French settlement. Explore the historic Fort Anne National Historic Site to delve into the town’s storied past. Try a stay at the oldest inn in Atlantic Canada, the Bailey House Inn on the Annapolis Royal harbour, built in 1770.

Fort Anne arch
Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia's Fort Anne
Exploring these historic towns provides not only a journey through time but also an opportunity to experience the natural beauty that defines Nova Scotia. From the rugged coastlines and vibrant Acadian culture to the tranquil rivers and historic architecture, each town tells its own story set against a backdrop of breathtaking scenery. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking to appreciate the charm and beauty of Nova Scotia, these towns offer a unique and enriching experience.
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Bailey House Inn
150 Saint George Street,
Annapolis Royal, NS B0S 1A0

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 •  150 Saint George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

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