Nova Scotia Archives

'Canada's Ocean Playground'

The Tourism Industry in Nova Scotia, 1870-1970



Where Will We Stay?

'Ciade Mile Failte ~ One Hundred Thousand Welcomes' is the traditional Gaelic greeting extended to everyone arriving in search of Nova Scotia's old world charm. We’ve been welcoming visitors for a long time, and because their needs and expectations keep changing, the province's tourist accommodation industry also keeps adapting, growing and re-inventing itself.

The sportsmen who explored Nova Scotia's woods in the 1870s slept under canvas until a small tourist trade developed around them — Keedgemakooge (Kedge) Lodge and Milford House (still operating today) were built on the road between Annapolis Royal and Liverpool, late in the century. Their rustic beauty is displayed below and Jim Morrison's article, 'American Tourists in Sportsmen's Paradise, 1871-1940,' revisits them through the memories of their employees.

In the late 19th century, 'modern' transportation brought an entirely different kind of visitor to Nova Scotia, seeking new places to explore and things to do. Most of these tourists stayed in large, rambling wooden hotels built by the steamship and railway companies. At about the same time, small summer hotels and boarding houses began to appear along the province's South Shore, capitalizing on strong American interest in Chester and in healthy saltwater and fresh-air vacations generally. Tourist literature also appeared, promoting these hotels and supplying information about local attractions.

The 1920s and 30s were the golden age for large and stylish hotels — the Nova Scotian and Lord Nelson (Halifax), the Isle Royale (Sydney), the Cornwallis Inn (Kentville) and the Digby Pines (Digby) all date from these years. The Pines, Lakelawn Lodge (Yarmouth), Pictou Lodge (Northumberland Strait) and White Point Beach (Hunt's Point) were also built at this time, in response to a new client market — visitors in search of extended vacations in modern but rustic luxury.

The newer resorts offered swimming, boating, golfing, magnificent natural settings, sight-seeing, fine cuisine, and all the other amenities required for a memorable Nova Scotia holiday. Cape Breton's Keltic Lodge is perhaps the most distinguished of these 'signature resorts.' Built as a private summer estate in the early 1900s, it was purchased by the Province of Nova Scotia in 1938 as part of direct government support for the tourism industry.

By the 1940s, most visitors to Nova Scotia were travelling in their own vehicles and on their own timetables. Tourism operators responded to this challenge with another type of accommodation — cabins, cottages and motels perfectly suited to overnight and weekend visits. Click through the images below for your own tour of 'Where to Stay in Nova Scotia' across a century, from roughing it in the bush to luxury resort living....


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''The Meander Inn''
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Photo: Places: Brooklyn

Hackmatack Inn, Chester, Nova Scotia
Date: ca. 1905
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: V/F vol. 5 no. 14

Summer Resorts along the Road by the Sea
Date: ca. 1906
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: V/F vol. 234 no. 24

''The American House, Middleton, NS''
Date: 1906
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Photo: Postcards: Middleton

Breck's Cabin, Milford, NS
Date: 1909
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 8-157

Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: 1910
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-158

Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: 1910
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-173

Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: 1910
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-610

Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: 1910
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-611

Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: 1910
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-612

Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: 1910
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-614

Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: 1910
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-616

Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: September 1910
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 8-121

Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: September 1910
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 8-123

Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: 1910
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-609
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