Nova Scotia is part of the Appalachian region, one of Canada seven physiographic regions. The province is primarily a peninsula extending from the country’s mainland. At its northeastern end is Cape Breton Island. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Nova Scotia is separated from Prince Edward Island by the Northumberland Strait and from New Brunswick by the Bay of Fundy.

Nova Scotia includes over 3,000 lakes, as well as hundreds of streams and small rivers. Because of the general direction of the watersheds, the rivers are not long. However, with moderately heavy precipitation, normally no shortage of water occurs. The province’s largest lake, the 1,099 km2 Bras D’Or, was created when the sea invaded the area between the upland and lowland areas of Cape Breton. Saline and tideless, it is widely used for recreation. On the peninsula, the largest lake is Lake Rossignol. (See also Geography of Nova Scotia.)

As in the rest of Canada, Nova Scotia has experienced a marked shift from rural to urban living since Confederation. However, its rural population remains relatively high at 42.6 per cent of the total population (2016).

Halifax is both the capital and the largest urban centre in the province. In 2016, it had a population of 403,131, or roughly 44 per cent of the provincial population. The next most-populous centres range in size from just under 20,000 to about 46,000 and include Sydney,Truro,New Glasgowand Glace Bay. The remainder of the province’s communities have populations under 15,000.

In the 2016 census, the most-reported ethnic origins were Canadian, Scottish and English. The visible minority population was relatively small — 6.5 per cent of the total population — with Black, Arab and Chinese people making up the three largest communities within this group.

The vast majority of the population (91.9 per cent) reported English as their mother tongue, while those reporting French or a non-official language were 3.7 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively. The Acadian and francophone populations are concentrated in Halifax, Digby and Yarmouth on the mainland, and in Inverness and Richmond counties on Cape Breton Island. Legislation enacted in 1981 granted Acadians the right to receive education in their first language.



Immigration in Nova-Scotia

Business in Nova-Scotia