Nova Scotia Archives

'Canada's Ocean Playground'

The Tourism Industry in Nova Scotia, 1870-1970



Travel Literature

Travel books have always been popular, and a long tradition exists of authors describing their adventures in Nova Scotia, right back to the earliest European visitors. Campbell Hardy's Sporting Adventures in the New World (1855), Charles Dudley Warner's Baddeck, and that sort of Thing (1874) and Albert Bigelow Paine's The Tent Dwellers (1908) are typical, and in their time helped to create interest in the province and its potential as a vacation destination.

Travel for personal interest and recreation became do-able and affordable for the general public in the late 1800s; new kinds of travel literature appeared to attract this market. For example, guidebooks like Osgood's Maritime Provinces (first published in 1875) provided information about where to stay, what to do, and what to expect when visiting Nova Scotia.

Railway and steamship timetables expanded into marketing brochures, and then into full-size glossy booklets promoting the province's natural beauty, history, hospitality, healthy climate, modern amenities and attractions. Hotels, businesses and trade associations followed with promotional material designed to keep visitors in a specific area of the province over several days, with a variety of things to do.

By the 1920s tourism had grown into a service industry with potential to significantly benefit the economy. Based on decentralized small-business development, it was perfectly adapted to the skills, resources and aspirations of small-scale entrepreneurs. As regional and local tourist associations were formed across Nova Scotia, they looked to the provincial government for support through leadership, central planning and coordination. Accordingly, the role of government from that time forward has been to promote the industry by helping to build its infrastructure. (See 'Government Gets Involved in Tourism, 1923-1970' for more detail.)

The most visible legacy of this has been government's aggressive print-marketing program, dating from 1926. Nova Scotia / Canada's Playground appeared that year — early 'branding' was evident in the use of W.R. MacAskill's marine photography — and in 1931 it was joined by the Nova Scotia Official Tour Book. The two publications were soon integrated and are the antecedents of today's annual Doers' and Dreamers' Travel Guide. Companion literature promoting hunting, fresh and salt-water angling, camping and other outdoor activities soon followed, with the addition in the 1960s of material advertising annual festivals and events.

Scroll through the following exhibit to explore the wealth of promotional literature produced about Nova Scotia from the 1850s to the 1970s. Most items have been digitized in their entirety — click on the cover to open the booklet or guide and then examine the visual detail and tourist information inside. Covers for almost every Nova Scotia Tour Book published up to 1971 are also included, so you can explore how visual presentation ('branding') has changed over the years. Lastly — if you're still looking for more! — single images for many other tourist pamphlets and travel timetables can be found scattered elsewhere throughout this Website.


Results 1 to 15 of 88 from your search: Travel Literature

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The Start of It All — Sporting Adventures in the New World or, Days and Nights of Moose-hunting in the Pine Forests of Acadia
Date: 1855
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F92 H21 Sp6

Forest Life in Acadie, Sketches of Sport and Natural History in the Lower Provinces of the Canadian Dominion
Date: ca. 1869
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: mfm 3402

Baddeck, and that Sort of Thing
Date: 1874
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: CIHM no. 50780

Osgood's Maritime Provinces: A Handbook for Travellers
Date: 1875
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F128 SW3

Illustrated Guide: The Land of Evangeline
Date: 1894
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 3

Beautiful Nova Scotia
Date: 1894
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 4

Beautiful Nova Scotia
Date: 1895
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 4

Beautiful Nova Scotia
Date: 1897
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 4

Beautiful Nova Scotia
Date: 1898
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 4

Beautiful Nova Scotia 1899
Date: 1899
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 4

A Tripod Trip along the South Shore of Nova Scotia
Date: 1899
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 35

Nova Scotia by Canadian Pacific
Date: n.d.
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 1

''Summer Time-Table, 1900. The Yarmouth Line''
Date: 1900
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives RG 28

Evangeline Land
Date: n.d.
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: V/F vol. 365 no. 18

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