Nova Scotia Archives

'Canada's Ocean Playground'

The Tourism Industry in Nova Scotia, 1870-1970



What Will We Do?

There's always been a reason to visit Nova Scotia! From the beginning, the outdoor experience has been fundamental — field and stream, woods and water, seacoast and sunshine, breath-taking scenery, fresh air and the tang of salt. In the early days there was also the mystique of 'The British Province by the Sea' — Nova Scotia has always been just a little bit different, and the warmth of its welcome has always brought visitors back.

The province's modern tourism industry is built on all of these key strengths. Early visitors came in search of the superb hunting and fishing. Over the years this expanded into adventure tourism — deep-woods experiences with canoeing, campfires and professional guides; rustic fishing lodges to lure salmon anglers; and, during the first half of the 20th century, the thrill of deep-sea sport fishing for tuna.

As more people began to travel, Nova Scotia responded by positioning itself as an interesting destination with a rich history and culture, initially built around the legend of Evangeline and the beauty of the Annapolis Valley. This marketing strategy was later expanded and broadened to emphasize the province’s multicultural diversity, its variety of sight-seeing opportunities and, by the 1960s, the wealth of community-based festivals and special events available each year for tourists to experience and enjoy.

The 'modernity' of the 20th century, the arrival of the automobile, and the greater emphasis on family life after World War II brought significant changes to tourism. Swimming and sunbathing became popular and literally opened up the province’s beaches — by the 1930s Nova Scotia was indeed 'Canada's Ocean Playground'. Resort holidays, golfing, fine dining and even landscape painting attracted the well-to-do, while picnics, outdoor camping and fun in the sun were the new objectives for every family with a motor vehicle and a tent.

Scroll through the exhibit presented below to look back on the way we were and to explore people enjoying their Nova Scotia experiences.


Results 1 to 15 of 71 from your search: What Will We Do?

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''Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Garrison City by the Sea''
Date: 1903
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F107 H12 no. 5a

''Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Garrison City by the Sea''
Date: 1904
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F107 H12 no. 5b

''View from Evangeline Bluff, Showing Blomidon, Hantsport, NS''
Date: ca. 1906
Reference no.: A.W.H. Eaton Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-309: Hantsport

''Dam and Fishing Pool, Musquodoboit Harbour, From Below''
Date: ca. 1912
Photographer: Notman Studio
Reference no.: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1983-310 no. 21345

''Scene from Musquodoboit Harbor''
Date: ca. 1912
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Annabel Siteman Ells Album 77: no. 102

Woodland Caribou
Date: 1912
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Photo Collection: Sports: Cariboo Hunting

Peeps at Nova Scotia. Robinson's Tours
Date: ca. 1913
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 8

Halifax, Canada, A Tourist Guide
Date: ca. 1913
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F107 H12 no. 6b

West River, Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: ca. 1919
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-169

West River, Kedgemakooge Lodge
Date: ca. 1919
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-171

''Harry S. Wilson and Col. T.F. Huston, Red Lake"
Date: ca. 1919
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-375 no. 6-404

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Date: 1920s
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: V/F vol. 365 no. 17

''Cooey Coffre Famous Fishing Resort, Canso, NS''
Date: ca. 1920
Reference no.: Betty Grover Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1981-508 no.1

Man and Woman Showing Off Their Catch of Four Large Fish
Date: ca. 1900
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Historic Restoration Society of Annapolis County Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1988-269.1 no. 60

Fisherman Showing Off Large Catch
Date: ca. 1920s
Photographer: Paul Yates
Reference no.: Historic Restoration Society of Annapolis County Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1988-269.1 no. 163
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