Did you ever wonder how such a large contingent of Scottish people ended up settling in Nova Scotia? A few settlers were among the earliest arrivals to settle in Nova Scotia but major arrivals did not commence until 1773. A tall ship called “Hector” arrived in Pictou with a large group of Presbyterian Scots from the north east coast of Scotland. You can visit a replica of the ship there today. In 1775; Michael MacDonald moved to the western shore of Cape Breton from Prince Edward Island. Many of his relatives and friends soon joined him and settled the present day Inverness area of Cape Breton. The Roman Catholic Scots followed suit and settled in the Antigonish area. Others soon settled around the Bra D’or Lake region of Cape Breton by 1800.
Scotland; at this time, was extremely over populated. People left their homelands with the prospect of owning land; and not having to live under the whims of landlords. This all cemented their decisions to journey to new beginnings. After 1820; many Scots were forced to evacuate their homes during a time known as “The Clearances”. Landlords in Scotland were evicting their tenants in order to set up more profitable sheep farms. These farms were formed by consolidating many smaller properties into one large farm. This process continued up to 1840. It was over the course if these unsettling years that the Scots settle in Nova Scotia.
Naturally the Scots settled in areas where they had kin and their gaelic language was spoken. The Scots brought their culture to NS but their greatest asset was their enthusiasm to maintain it. Lively fiddle music, the bagpipes, the dance, the highland games and the storytelling through their music were part of all family and community gatherings. Visit here and you can experience and celebrate these wonderful traditions. Immerse yourself in the culture during the Celtic Colors Festival. During this fall celebration there are concerts sharing music and dance, taste the traditional foods and be part of a Ceilidh (kitchen party) and truely experience the Scottish hospitality. “Ceud Mile Failte” which means one hundred thousand welcomes to all visitors.
You know; Nova Scotia is the latin term for New Scotland. It was given this name in 1621 based on some of the earliest arrivals to the area. So you see; this is how the Scots settle in Nova Scotia in droves! We all have a much richer heritage because of it!
Check ou the Scots recipe for Bannoch in Mamma’s East Coast Kitchen. Yum!