Waverley (2011 population: 2,468) is an suburban community located in the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada. It has a rich history in gold mining.


Waverley was first settled by Charles Pillsbury Allen who established a chair factory in the area. Waverley was named after the Waverley novels by Sir Walter Scott. Allen’s original land purchase included about 700 acres (2.8 km2) of land in 1847 for the price of 50 pounds. Although there have been extensive renovations since it was first built, his original house still stands today at 2550 Rocky Lake Drive as “An Olde Manor House Bed and Breakfast” near the junction of Lakes Thomas and William. A nearby high school, Charles P. Allen High School in the neighbouring town of Bedford carries his name.

Allen’s son-in-law, Cornelius Blois, is often credited with discovering gold in Waverley. Two major gold mining periods ensued between 1861 through the early 20th century. Waverley became a boom town with highly skilled gold miners coming from Germany and England. Saloons, hotels, camp followers and the usual trappings of a gold town sprang up quickly, and there were even instances of murders and riots. A third attempt to restart the gold industry occurred years later in the 1930s, but it proved unprofitable and lasted only a few years. Other industries in Waverley have included millworking and forestry. It is also worthy of note that the Shubenacadie Canal system runs through Waverley, between Lake William and Lake Thomas.

Many street names in Waverley reflect families that have been long established in the area. From the early 1930s until the mid-1980s, there existed in Waverley near the bridge, a service station operated and owned by Warren H. Isnor (deceased), and was up until the mid-1980s, the oldest existing service station with the same owner, in the province.
Modern day and landmarks

Modern-day Waverley is mostly a bedroom community. Major landmarks included one elementary school, newly built in September 2010, a post office, the Waverley Manor retirement home, the Waverley Heritage Museum; which is housed in the former St. John’s Anglican church, Charles P. Allen House, and the Waverley Gold Mining Manager’s House, which now operates as “The Adelaide Respite Care”. There is a gravel quarry in the area, as well as the Nova Scotia Firefighters School. There is also the Cheema Aquatic Club; a canoe and kayak club which consistently produces high caliber National and Olympic Team athletes.

Gold Rush Days

Each Labour Day weekend, Waverley holds a celebration at a park known as “The Village Green” called ‘Gold Rush Days’, to commemorate its gold-mining history. Highlights include the Gold Rush Days Parade, karaoke, an arts and crafts show, fireworks, and the Miss Waverley Gold Rush contest.

Gold Rush Gus

The mascot of Gold Rush Days is a cartoon character resembling Yosemite Sam called “Gold Rush Gus”. Until the amalgamation of Waverley into the HRM in 1996, all fire apparatus of the Waverley Fire Department had a picture of him painted on the side. WFD vehicles also had the distinction of being the only ones in the local fire district at the time of being painted yellow; an homage to the village’s gold mining history. Presently only those vehicles remaining in service from per-amalgamation with their original yellow paint still carry Gus’ image.

Halifax Regional Search and Rescue

Waverley is the original home of Halifax Regional Search and Rescue. On September 3, 1998, the organization undertook the largest Mutual Aid Search operation in Nova Scotia’s history. With the crash of Swissair Flight 111 off the coast of Nova Scotia, Halifax Regional Search and Rescue was charged with primary responsibility for all ground operations including military operations and other ground SAR teams. On November 5, 1998, 64 days later, volunteers had contributed 48,780 hours with 3,141 person days. The current headquarters of HRSR is located at 116 Lakeview Rd in the nearby community of Lakeview just over 4 kilometers from their original location.


The Duke William


The Duke William  was a ship which served as a troop transport at the Siege of Louisbourg and as a deportation ship in the Île Saint-Jean Campaign of the Expulsion of the Acadians during the Seven Years’ War. While the Duke William was transporting Acadians from Île St Jean (Prince Edward Island) to France, the ship sank in the North Atlantic on December 13, 1758, with the loss of over 360 lives. The sinking was one of the greatest marine disasters in Canadian history.

Captain William Nichols of Norfolk, England, was the commander and co-owner of the Duke William when it sank. Nichols survived the sinking and received international attention when his journal recounting the tragic incident was published in popular print throughout the 19th century in England and America. Several years after the sinking of the Duke William, Nichols also received international attention when he was taken captive by American patriots during the American Revolution.

Noel Doiron (1684 – December 13, 1758) was one of over three hundred people aboard the Duke William who were deported from Île St. Jean. William Nichols described Noel as the “head prisoner” and the “father of the whole island”, a reference to Noel’s place of prominence among the Acadian residents of Île St. Jean. For his “noble resignation” and self-sacrifice aboard the Duke William, Noel was celebrated in popular print throughout the nineteenth century in England and America. Noel Doiron also is the namesake of the village of Noel in Hants County, Nova Scotia.

Jacques Girrard was a priest who also sailed on the fatal voyage. Girrard had been the parish priest for Noel Doiron and other Acadians who lived on Île St. Jean. He was one of the few who survived the sinking of the Duke William.

Louisbourg fell to the British on July 26, 1758 and within two weeks a deportation order was issued for the Acadians of Île St. Jean (Prince Edward Island). The English authorities had given up on their earlier attempts to assimilate the Acadians into the thirteen colonies and now wanted them returned directly to France.

On October 20, 1758, the Duke William left Île St. Jean for France with over 360 Acadians on board. The ship sailed in a convoy with nine other vessels, two of which were the Violet (with over 280 Acadians) and the Ruby (with approximately 310 Acadians). The ship sailed through the Canso Strait and moored off Canso, Nova Scotia, for almost a month because of foul weather. During the time in Canso, the Acadians helped the ship narrowly escape a raid by the Mi’kmaq.

On November 25, the Duke William sailed out of the bay of Canso. On the third day at sea there was a storm and the Duke William became separated from the other two ships. The Ruby ran aground in a storm on the island of Pico in the Azores, which caused the death of 213 of the Acadians on board.

Almost two weeks after the ships were separated, late in the day on December 10, the Duke William re-encountered the Violet. The Violet was sinking; during the night the Duke William sprung a leak and the Acadians assisted at the pumps. In the morning on December 11, after a brief squall, the Violet sank with all the Acadians on board.

The Acadians and crew on the Duke William tried for three days to pump the water from her. Captain Nichols recorded: “We continued in this dismal situation three days; the ship, notwithstanding our endeavours, full of water, and expected to sink every minute.” Captain Nichols reports that he gave up and announced to the Acadians and crew: “I told them we must be content with our fate; and as we sure certain we had done our duty, we should submit to Providence, to the Almighty will, with pious resignation.”

Despite this resignation, Captain Nichols dispatched both the long boat and cutter that were on board so that they might approach any passing vessels. On the morning of December 13, two English vessels were within sight of the Duke William. Captain Nichols records: “I went and acquainted the priest [Girard] and the old gentleman [Noel Doiron] with the good news. The old man took me in his aged arms, and cried for joy.” The ships did not stop. During the possible rescue, the Duke William almost got separated from the long boat and the cutter. As the long boat and cutter returned, a Danish ship appeared in the distance. Again those aboard thought they were saved, but the Danish ship, like those before, sailed away from them.
Noel Doiron’s decision

Ship’s boats in the 18th century were designed for work, not lifesaving.[8] Intended to load cargo and supplies as well as shuttle people ashore, the three small boats aboard Duke William could hold only a handful of those aboard.

Captain Nichols then recorded Noel Doiron’s decision:

About half an hour after, the old gentleman [Noel Doiron] came to me, crying; he took me in his arms, and said he came with the voice of the whole people, to desire that I and my men would endeavour to save our lives, in our boats; and as they could not carry them, they would on no consideration be the means of drowning us. They were well convinced, by all our behaviour, that we had done everything in our power for their preservation, but that God Almighty had ordained them to be drowned, and they hoped that we should be able to get safe ashore.

I must acknowledge that such gratitude, for having done only our duty, in endeavouring to save their lives as well as our own, astonished me. I replied that there were no hopes of life, and, as we had all embarked in the same unhappy voyage, we would all take the same chance. I thought we ought to share the same fate. He said that should not be; and if I did not acquaint my people with their offer, I should have their lives to answer for.

The two boats on board were lowered into the English channel carrying only the Captain, his crew, and the parish priest Girrard. Upon lowering the life boats, Noel Doiron sharply reprimanded a fellow Acadian Jean-Pierre LeBlanc for trying to board a lifeboat while abandoning his wife and children. As Priest Girrard got in the lifeboat he saluted Noel Doiron. After Captain Nichols could no longer see the ship, four Acadians got into a third boat and arrived safely in Falmouth, England.

The Duke William sank about 20 leagues (97 km; 52 nmi) from the coast of France shortly after 4:00 p.m. on December 13, 1758. Noel Doiron, his wife, Marie, five of their children with their spouses and over thirty grandchildren were lost – 120 family members in total.
Acadian Remembrance Day

The Federation des Associations de Familles Acadiennnes of New Brunswick and the Société Saint-Thomas d’Aquin of Prince Edward Island has resolved that December 13 each year shall be commemorated as “Acadian Remembrance Day” to commemorate the sinking of the Duke William and the nearly 2,000 Acadians deported from Ile-Saint-Jean who perished in the North Atlantic from hunger, disease and drowning. The event has been commemorated annually since 2004 and participants mark the event by wearing a black star.

Bedford Magazine Explosion


Halifax, having been previously devastated by the Halifax Explosion, had emergency plans in place for such an incident, leading to an orderly and widespread evacuation of Halifax’s northern half. The damage resulting from this incident was far less than that of the Halifax Explosion, however the blasts shattered windows, crumpled roofs, and cracked structures. Very few injuries were reported, with none severe. Patrolman Henry Raymond Craig, a naval seaman on watch that night, was the lone casualty, having rushed to the pier upon noticing a fire, just prior to the initial barge explosion.

The community was still resentful towards the navy for the VE-Day Riots, however the efforts of voluntary firefighting by naval personnel at the ammunition depot helped to alleviate these lingering feelings.

The barge responsible for starting the explosion presently lies on the seabed near the eastern shoreline adjacent to the CFAD Bedford magazine dock.

Ring-necked Pheasant


The ring-necked pheasant found in North America has been described as a mongrel strain, molded by the harsh but efficient process of natural selection. This bird is a curious mixture of Chinese, Korean and Manchurian ring-necks, with a touch of Japanese green and the Caucasian blackneck. They are predominantly Chinese but their cosmopolitan blood lines have resulted in birds which have adapted well to the rigors of life in agricultural areas of this continent.

The original North American introduction took place around 1733 when several dozen blacknecks were introduced to Governor’s Island in New York harbour. this and several later attempts along the East coast were unsuccessful. but in 1881 a release of 21 Chinese ring-necked pheasants in the Williamette Valley of Oregon took hold. A host of introductions of several varieties followed throughout the United States and Canada wherever there was a ghost of a chance of their survival. By the early 1900s pheasants were well established throughout many of the mid-western and northeastern states as well as in the southern part of Canada’s prairie region.

In Nova Scotia the first attempt to introduce pheasants was made around 1856. A number of attempts followed but it was not until 1935 that ring-necks became established. During that year the Kings County Fish and Game Association obtained about 1,000 eggs. They sought the help of local farmers, who placed them under domestic setting hens. The Association obtained only 85 birds from the eggs, but there were liberated. From this and subsequent releases the population became established.

Numbers increased slowly, and in 1943 the first pheasant hunting season was established in Kings County. It was from October 25-31 with a bag limit of three cocks. A series of closures and openings followed. By 1948 a season was in place for Annapolis, Kings, Digby, Hants and Queens counties, and an open season has been in place in all subsequent years.

The population was centered in the Annapolis Valley, and the peak occurred from 1950 to 1955, when hunter harvest ranged between 3,000 and 4,500 cocks. typically, this high population was followed by a dramatic decline.

In an effort to reverse the decline, the government undertook intensive stocking of game farm bird. During 1959 and 1960 over 10,000 birds were stocked throughout the province, with over 5,500 liberated in the Valley alone. In other years lower numbers were released, but the stocking effort failed and the population continued to decline. The small game biologist of the day concluded that these large numbers of game farm birds may have displaced wild birds and thus actually reduced overall production. His studies suggested that the stocked birds contributed little to breeding success.

In the early 60s stocking was virtually discontinued. Pheasants reached a low in 1964, when the Valley harvest was only 649 birds. Despite the lack of stocking (or perhaps because of it) the population began to recover, reaching a high level in the mid-1970s. Although considerable annual variation exists, this healthy population remains relatively high to the present day. Individuals and groups still undertake stocking, but these efforts are unlikely to contribute significantly to our established wild base.

The present wild population is centered in the eastern Annapolis valley, but reasonable numbers exist throughout the rest of the valley as well as along the coastal areas of Digby, Yarmouth and Lunenburg counties. Smaller numbers exist in the agricultural areas of Hants, Halifax, Colchester, Cumberland and Pictou counties. Isolated pockets of pheasants in other areas of the province are usually a product of continual releases of small numbers of birds by local clubs or individuals.

Male pheasants are one of th most conspicuous members of Nova Scotia’s bird community. Weighing about three pounds (1.3 kg) and sporting a tail which may be over 18 inches (45 cm) long, the cock ring-neck can only be described as gaudy. The head and upper neck are covered largely in feathers shot through with iridescent blues, blacks and greens, while the crown is metallic green with short black ear tufts. The bare face patches or wattles are a vivid crimson. below its white neck ring are copper breast feathers with violet iridescence and black tips. The back is marked in a beautiful and complex pattern of rusts, blacks and creams merging into a saddle with delicate hues of bluish-green. A truly colorful bird!

The female by contrast is smaller, with a shorter tail and a drab mixture of browns and greys with buffy underparts. She is well camouflaged and superbly adapted to the task of being inconspicuous while incubating eggs.

Breeding activity begins in April, with cocks setting up territories which they loudly proclaim. Standing erect, they crow lustily while rapidly beating their wings to produce a fluttering, booming sound. The crowing is a strident “cuh-aw-w-w-cawk” that sounds like a rusty gate hinge and can be heard for a mile (1.6 km) on a still morning. Beginning at daybreak each cock announces his territory. During the peak of the breeding season they crow every two minutes, with the frequency dropping off as the sun rises.

Territories are vigorously defended and fighting is frequent and often prolonged. Battling cocks are often so intent on their task that they can be closely approached; fights on the road may hold up traffic until the outcome is decided.

Each cock attempts to attract as many females to his harem as he can, and it isn’t unusual for a wild cock to have six or eight mates. In the courtship ritual the male’s colorful plumage is fully utilized. Approaching a hen, he spreads and lowers one wing while spreading his tail and fluffing his feathers in her direction. With his ear tufts erect, wattles a brilliant scarlet and head held low, he struts before the hen with an exaggerated bobbing motion. Always careful to keep the hen on the side he is displaying, he attempts to impress her with the size and brilliance of his plumage. Cocks who have lost their tails to accidents are at a severe disadvantage in these displays. In one study, it was observed that over half of the full-tailed cocks had hens with them but only 7% of cocks with no tails had hens.

Hens seek a grassy area in which to construct a simple nest of dry grass. Usual locations include hayfields, apple orchards, marsh edges, roadside ditches or weedy fence rows. They prefer relatively open areas with good ground cover.

In Nova Scotia the average date for nest initiation is May 1 and the average clutch size is 13, with nine to 15 being the most common. One egg per day is laid and once the clutch is complete, incubation begins and lasts for about 23 days. The female has sole responsibility for incubation of eggs and care of chicks.

Relying heavily on their drab plumage to keep them invisible, incubating hens are normally reluctant to leave the nest even if closely approached. It is not unusual for a hen to be killed by a mowing machine as she relies on her camouflage to protect her from this noisy “predator”. Eggs may also be lost to skunks, raccoons, foxes or the weather. Prolonged cold, wet weather may saturate nests to the point where the female cannot provide enough heat and the embryos will die. Females who lose their first clutch during egg laying or incubation will normally make a second attempt. In years with a cold, wet spring it may be these second nests which make up the bulk of production.

Eggs which survive to hatch produce young which are well developed and ready to leave the nest to feed on their own as soon as they are dry. To develop properly the chicks require an abundance of protein-rich insects such as grasshoppers and ants. The hen provides warmth during cold or wet weather and is constantly on the look-out for predators. When threatened the chicks normally “freeze”, while the female uses the old broken-wing ruse to lure enemies away.

Prolonged cold, wet weather can decimate these young birds and in some years may severely reduce production. Predators such as raccoons, foxes and house cats may also take their toll; but if habitat and weather are favorable, predation losses are unlikely to have much impact.

Under good conditions the young strengthen quickly, and by two weeks of age are able to fly fairly well, although they are only a quarter the size of the hen. by three months of age the broods begin to break up and the young have to fend for themselves. Young cocks first start to develop their post-juvenile colored feathers at about two months. by five months their plumage is nearly identical to that of adult birds.

Although adult pheasants rely on seeds as a staple diet, they are also fond of many different types of fruit. In the spring and summer they may be tempted by insects and the succulent green growth of a variety of plants. They seem to be particularly fond of the young spinach in my garden and follow this up by a quick trip to the strawberry patch. Food becomes much scarcer in the winter, and this is when pheasants rely most on seeds, particularly those of grain and weeds. Unlike our native ruffed grouse, pheasants don’t normally eat buds, and are therefore much more susceptible to periods of heavy snow when their food may be covered.

When stressed by lack of food, pheasants readily approach human habitations where they feed on manure piles or seeds placed there by sympathetic people. Feeding pheasants is extremely popular among bird fanciers and those with substantial numbers soon learn that the economic and nutritious alternatives include “chicken scratch” and corn. During periods of deep snow, grit should also be provided in the form of small pebbles or a commercial alternative such as that sold for chickens. Like all birds, pheasants lack teeth and must break up seeds in their muscular gizzard using small stones for grinding.

Roosting cover is another important habitat requirement for pheasants. These birds are not active at night and seek out dense stands of vegetation to provide shelter from the weather and predators. they normally roost on the ground in cattails, high grass or low shrubs and they may also spend the night in trees, particularly when cold and wind are not a problem.

Pheasants are best adapted to agricultural areas, and in North America reach their highest concentrations in the wide-open, grain-growing prairies. In Nova Scotia they are most abundant in the eastern Annapolis Valley where substantial acreage is in grain. But they also do fairly well in areas where agriculture is less intensive. For instance, our western coastal areas, which offer light snow cover, hayfields, small gardens and plenty of fairly open habitat with wild rose and other fruiting and seed-bearing plants, also provide adequate habitat.

Ring-necked pheasants were originally introduced to provide another game bird and they have thrived in this role. The male’s ability to breed with several hens leaves surplus cocks available to hunt, with no danger to the population. The extreme color differences between the sexes makes it relatively easy for hunters to tell them apart and, in most jurisdictions a cock-only harvest is the norm.

In Nova Scotia we keep track of the health of the pheasant populations by using spring cock-crowing counts, winter sex ratios and hunter harvest. If we continue to provide a reasonable amount of good habitat for them, they should remain a valued member of our bird community for all future generations of Nova Scotians.

Arthur Bruce “Art” McDonald


Arthur Bruce “Art” McDonald, (born August 29, 1943) is a Canadian astrophysicist and the Director of Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Institute. He also holds Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He was jointly awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, together with Takaaki Kajita.

Early life

Born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, McDonald graduated with a B.Sc. in Physics in 1964 and M.Sc. in Physics in 1965 from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. He completed his Ph.D. in Physics in 1969 from the California Institute of Technology.

Academic career

McDonald worked as a research officer at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories northwest of Ottawa from 1970 to 1982. He became professor of physics at Princeton University from 1982 to 1989, leaving Princeton to join Queen’s University. He is currently the University Research Chair at Queen’s University and a board member at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Physicists have been investigating whether or not neutrinos have mass. Since the late 1960s, experiments have hinted that neutrinos may have mass. Theoretical models of the Sun predict that neutrinos should be made in staggering numbers. Neutrino detectors on the Earth have repeatedly seen fewer than the expected number of neutrinos. Because neutrinos come in three varieties (electron, muon, and tau neutrinos), and because solar neutrino detectors have been primarily sensitive only to electron neutrinos, the preferred explanation over the years is that those “missing” neutrinos had changed, or oscillated, into a variety for which the detectors had little or no sensitivity. If a neutrino oscillates, according to the laws of quantum mechanics, then it must have a mass.

In August 2001, a collaboration at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), a detector facility located 6,800 feet (2,100 m) underground in a mine outside Sudbury, Ontario, led by McDonald, checked in with a direct observation suggesting that electron neutrinos from the Sun really were oscillating into muon and tau neutrinos. SNO published its report in the August 13, 2001, issue of Physical Review Letters, and it is widely considered as a very important result. McDonald and Yoji Totsuka were awarded the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics “for discovering that the three known types of elementary particles called neutrinos change into one another when traveling over sufficiently long distances, and that neutrinos have mass”.

Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour

Port Royal Nova Scotia
Port Royal Nova Scotia

Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour, the French King’s appointed Governor of Acadia from 1631–1642 and again from 1653–1657, was born in France in 1593 and died at Cap de Sable (present-day Port La Tour, Nova Scotia) in 1666. The communities of Port La Tour, Nova Scotia and Upper Port La Tour, Nova Scotia are named after Charles La Tour.

Early history

In 1610, at the age of 17, Charles arrived at Port-Royal in Acadia with his father, Claude de Saint-Étienne de la Tour, in an expedition that was led by Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt who had been one of the original settlers in 1604 at Saint Croix and 1605 at Port-Royal. The habitation had been previously abandoned in 1607 by Biencourt de Poutrincourt and others due to financial troubles. The 1610 expedition also included Poutrincourt’s 19-year-old son Charles de Biencourt de Saint-Just, and a Catholic priest who set about himself the task of baptizing the local Mi’kmaqs, including their chief Membertou.

Battle of Port Royal (1613)

In 1613, the settlement, or habitation, at Port Royal was attacked by colonists from Virginia led by Captain Samuel Argall. Several settlers were killed, others taken prisoner and the fort and goods were destroyed. Poutrincourt who had wintered in France to gather supplies returned to Port Royal the next spring. He was forced to return to France with the surviving settlers. The young Biencourt and Charles de la Tour remained, living amongst the Mi’kmaq, engaging in the fur industry. At this time, la Tour migrated from Port Royal to establish himself at both Cap de Sable (present-day Port La Tour, Nova Scotia) and Saint John, New Brunswick.

Battle of Castine (1626)

In 1625, Charles married an Abenaki Indian, from one of the local First Nations’ tribes and the family built a trading fort at the mouth of the Penobscot River in present-day Castine, Maine. In 1626, the fort was attacked and destroyed by New England colonists. Charles returned to Port-Royal.

In 1631, Charles had become governor of Acadia and moved to the mouth of the Saint John River in present-day Saint John, New Brunswick where he built a new fort. In 1635, he was formally granted a seignory.

Historian M. A. MacDonald writes about La Tour’s possession at the mouth of this river:

Down this river highway came fleets of canoes, bringing the richest fur harvest in all Acadia to Charles La Tour’s storehouses: three thousand moose skins a year, uncounted beaver and otter. On this tongue of land his habitation stood, yellow-roofed, log-palisaded, its cannon commanding the river and bay. (p. 183)

In 1632, Isaac de Razilly the new Lieutenant-general of all New France and governor of Acadia, arrived in Port-Royal, sent by his cousin Cardinal Richelieu. La Tour and Razilly agreed to divide control of Acadia, the latter controlling the south-western corner of Nova Scotia and the territory along the Saint John River]]. Razilly died in 1636, and his successor, Charles de Menou d’Aulnay, began a series of violent and costly confrontations.

During these confrontations, La Tour was accused of treason and crimes against Acadia.

Acadian Civil War

Battle of Port Royal (1643)

In the Spring of 1643, La Tour led a party of English mercenaries against the Acadian colony at Port Royal. His 270 Puritan and Huguenot troops killed three, burned a mill, slaughtered cattle and seized 18,000 livres of furs.

Battle of St. John (1645)

D’Aulnay was able to retaliate in 1645 by seizing all of La Tour’s possessions and outposts, especially Fort La Tour at Saint John and Cape Sable. In the Battle of St. John (1645), La Tour’s second wife, Marie Jacquelin La Tour, defended the fort for three days. On April 17, despite losing thirty-three men, d’Aulnay took control of the fort. La Tour’s men were sent to the gallows. Madame La Tour was taken prisoner and died three weeks later. Meanwhile, La Tour was in the English port city of Boston, drumming up more support for his cause. Nicolas Denys’ letters and journals give vivid descriptions of the drama.

In 1645, while La Tour was in Boston seeking reinforcements, d’Aulnay attacked Fort La Tour. La Tour sought refuge at the Chateau Saint-Louis in Quebec City. D’Aulnay became governor-general and seigneur of Acadia.

In 1650, d’Aulnay died when his canoe capsized. His widow, Jeanne Motin was heavily in debt. La Tour, hearing of the death of d’Aulnay, returned to France and was rehabilitated, going on to become governor of Acadia once again.

On February 24, 1653, Charles La Tour married a third time, to Jeanne Motin, the widow of his former enemy, d’Aulnay. La Tour died at Cap de Sable (present-day Port La Tour, Nova Scotia) in 1666.



LaHave, once the capital of Acadia/ Nova Scotia, is located across the river from Riverport and approximately 15 kilometres from the town of Bridgewater. It is now a small scenic village located on Highway 331 at the mouth of the 97 km long LaHave River in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.

Mi’kmaq Settlement and French colony

La Have was an important centre for the Mi’kmaq people, who traded with Europeans. Messamouet, a well-known sakmow, or Chief, of the Mi’kmaq Nation, is reported to have been from the La Have area.

Samuel de Champlain called there in 1604 on his first trip to Acadia. Henry Hudson made landfall there in 1609 on his voyage on behalf of the Dutch East India company. Despite being shown hospitality by the Mi’kmaq, Hudson’s crew staged an unprovoked assault on the Mi’kmaq settlement. As a result, the Mi’kmaq staged a raid on the next Dutch ship to visit in 1611.

LaHave was the capital of Acadia from 1632, when Isaac de Razilly settled on a point of land at the mouth of the LaHave River, until his sudden death in 1636. Razilly established a colony of 300 and built Fort Ste. Marie de Grace. Razilly reported that the fort was capable of standing against all enemy action, and that he had the military supplies necessary to withstand a six-month siege. There was also a chapel, a store and houses for the workmen in the village. Within twelve months of Razilly’s arrival, La Have was a thriving trading post, the centre for a small farming community in the area, and a major port of call for the large fishing fleet. At one point there were five hundred transient fishermen in the settlement. Upon de Razilly’s death, the new Governor Charles de Menou d’Aulnay moved the Acadians from LaHave to Port Royal, Nova Scotia, which had been given up by the Scottish also in 1632 . His wife Jeanne Motin, “daughter of Louis Motin, Sieur de Courcelles, who in addition to owning shares in the Razilly-Condonnier Company, was the controller of salt stores located at one of France’s colonies, perhaps in the Caribbean”, was of great strategic value in the subsequent struggle with La Tour. Ironically, she became Lady La Tour in 1653 after d’Aulnay’s death and La Tour’s triumphant return with Letters Patent as governor of Acadia. Nicholas Denys and his brother Simon, who had come over with de Razilly, in 1632, set up a “wood working plant” near present day Riverport, Nova Scotia and a fishing station at Port Rossignol (now Liverpool, Nova Scotia). They stayed neutral in the war between d’Aulnay (at Port Royal) and La Tour (at Fort La Tour on the Saint John River).

In 1652, LaHave was still a trading post and was raided by Emmanuel Le Borgne.

During Queen Anne’s War, New Englanders raided the community taking 3 Acadians prisoner (1705).

During King Georges War, two French officers, in a letter from Quebec, reported to the Comté de Maurepas that “the English do not dry any fish on the east coast of Acadia since the war, through fear of being surprised there and killed by the Micmacs.” This fear was well founded as these same officers also advised “… a boat belonging to an English merchantman having landed at La Hève for wood and water, these Indians killed 7 of the crew and brought their scalps to Sieur Marin,…”.

The site of Fort Sainte-Marie de Grace was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924.

Ship building

It was, at one time, the economic centre of fishing, trade and shipbuilding for the surrounding area. The many vessels built in the area include a famous clipper, the barque Stag.

In 1874 LaHave Light Station was built and assisted ships navigating into the LaHave River until the 1950s, when a new lightkeeper’s house was built to replace the aging light station. The light was decommissioned in the 1960s and replaced by a mechanical light on the opposite side of the river. In 1969, the Lunenburg County Historical Society was established to manage this historic site and turned the vacant lightkeeper’s house into a community museum and gift shop. In 2006, the society completed a Renaissance Project, which included the construction and attachment of a new building resembling the original 1874 LaHave Light Station, to the lightkeeper’s house. The new museum is heated and cooled by a geothermal system, one of the first museums in Canada to utilize this technology. The Museum hosts many community events during the year, including the Acadian Mi’kmaq Festival, the LaHave River Folk Festival and a wide range of artistic exhibits.

Lahave River cable ferry

Since the late 19th century, LaHave has been connected to East LaHave, located on the opposite side of the LaHave river, via a cable ferry.

Today LaHave is home to a 14 car cable ferry that crosses the LaHave River from LaHave to East LaHave. The Ferry is Operated by The Province of Nova Scotia and costs $5.50 for a one-way ticket. The trip lasts about five minutes one way.

On Friday, January 3, 2014, the Ferry broke free from its cable and drifted towards the open ocean, running aground at Oxners Beach.


A volunteer LaHave and District Fire Department provides fire and first responder service to LaHave and the surrounding areas. A federal post office, Saint James Anglican Church and LaHave Seafoods are all located in LaHave.

A longstanding turn of the 20th century riverside chandlery landmark, has in recent years become the LaHave Bakery, which operates as a year-round bakery and cafe. The bakery houses a Craft Co-Op during the summer, where local artists sell their crafts. It is also home to a small custom manufacturer, Homegrown Skateboards.

Further down Highway 331, one will find Crescent Beach, a 2 kilometer long beach (only beach in NS that allows you to drive your car on the sand the length of the beach as if it were a road), the LaHave Islands and Risser’s Beach Provincial Park.

The LaHave Islands Marine Museum (c. 1913), located on the LaHave Islands, is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.