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Nova Scotia travel guide

About Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia isn’t quite an island, but it feels like one, with its alluring coastline, fascinating cultural heritage and exquisite seafood.

Mellow coves, sandy beaches and fossil-rich cliffs punctuate the 7,400km (4,600-mile) seashore. You can catch back-flipping humpback whales riding the waves or launch a kayak and weave among gambolling seals and porpoises. Equally thrilling is a bumpy raft ride on the tidal bore at the Bay of Fundy, home to the world’s highest tides, where 160 billion tonnes of water barrel in and out twice a day.

Sampling some of the delicious sea produce is a must, whether pan-fried scallops in Digby or fresh-from-the-ocean lobster at Hall’s Harbour Pound.

For the ultimate road trip, cruise the 300km (186-mile) Cabot Trail around Cape Breton Island, where gorgeous beaches and dreamy highlands lure you out of your car. In fact, why not take your time and do the whole thing by bike?

There are no prizes for guessing which nation Nova Scotia takes its name from. If your Latin has failed you, the ubiquity of kilts, energetic Highland dancers and boot-stomping fiddle bands might give it away. Not to mention the province’s very own Gaelic college.

It’s not just the Scots who’ve made this their home though. Early French settlers left their mark too, and you can practise your français in pretty Acadian villages in the southwest of the province. Alternatively, paddle a canoe through waterways used for thousands of years by the Mi’kmaq aboriginal people in Kejimkujik National Park.

Thirsty? Halifax claims more pubs per capita than anywhere else in Canada and the craic is second-to-none. So grab a pew, order a pint of Alexander Keith’s, and get blethering.

Key facts

Area:

55,284 sq km (22,345 sq miles).

Population:

923,598 (2016).

Population density:

17.4 per sq km.

Capital:

Halifax.

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Fighting the tide in Nova Scotia

Tidal bore rafting is testament to the timeless appeal of mindlessness. Gavin Haines reports from the brutal Bay of Fundy.