One of the coolest things about living in Nova Scotia is all the history that exists here. Throughout the province you can find structures and landmarks that are hundreds of years old. Even in the middle of the city, at Point Pleasant Park, you can find ruins of forts and turrets built to defend the harbour.
We looked across all of Nova Scotia to find the coolest remains of towns long deserted, and learned about the history behind why these communities were abandoned. In some cases the answer was obvious, but in others it still remains a mystery...
Broughton was one of Canada’s first planned towns, built in Cape Breton to accommodate up to 10,000 residents. When mining operations in the area began to fail at the start of the first world war, the town slowly began to shrink. People still live in the area but the town itself no longer exists.
This town started as a community of saw mills, lumber camps and shipyards built by the Eaton family in the mid nineteenth century. Eatonville was founded in Cumberland County on some very unique geology – the mythical “Three Sisters” stone formation exists here. The town was abandoned in the 1940’s after one of the mills was destroyed by a fire. Cabins still exits in the area, and now The Eatonville Road acts a seasonal wilderness public road for off road vehicles.
Nelson Nickerson struck gold here in 1861, and after that the town grew slowly as a small forestry and mining community. Goldenville lived up to its name, and between 1862 and 1941 it was the most prosperous site for mining gold in Nova Scotia. Located just outside Sherbrooke the town still has a small population of inhabitants, and is now home to the Goldenville Gold Mining Interpretive Centre.
4. New France
New France was founded in 1892 by a French family called the Stehelin’s and was abandoned about thirty years later following the economic decline of the First World War. The settlement was established for logging purposes, and a damn was built which generated electricity. The town is now maintained as a natural park, and was purchased by the Province of Nova Scotia.
5. New Yarmouth
Now part of the Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, New Yarmouth started as a farming and forestry community in 1785. The town is situated on a plateau above West Advocate, overlooking Advocate Bay which is part of The Bay Of Fundy. The decline in lumber prices led to the towns demise, and by 1950 very few people still resided in New Yarmouth.
Located in East Hants, Renfrew was formerly home to some of the most successful gold miners in the Maritimes, with over 600 residents. Now the town is fully forested.
Just outside Paradise, Nova Scotia, Roxbury was founded in the late seventeenth nineteenth century as a logging community. The town disbanded after a massive forest fire ripped through the region in 1903.
8. Shannon Park
Shannon Park is a former military community on the eastern shore of the Halifax Harbour. Originally built to house military families in 1950’s, but was closed in 2004 after military budgets were cut. The CFL might build a stadium here should Nova Scotia get a football team.
Photo cred - Jack MacNab
9. Bayer’s Lake Mystery Walls
A series of stone structures and walls outlining a five-sided building exist mysteriously on the slope of a hill overlooking Bayers Lake Park. Archeologists are unsure of the exact age and purpose of the ruins, but suspect it was likely a military fort of some kind. It was likely built in the late eighteenth century.
10. Aspotogan Sea Spa
The Aspotogan Sea Spa was a luxury hotel built on the Aspotogan Peninsula. Construction on the project ceased in the mid 1990’s when German investors fell through. The abandoned spa remained in Aspotogan for twenty years before being demolished recently.