Culture and Heritage

The UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve may be rich in biodiversity but the culture and heritage of the region is equally, if not more, plentiful.

The region has been home to Mi’kmaq communities for thousands of years and southwest Nova Scotia’s name is actually Kespukwitk meaning ‘Land’s End’. Today, two large self-governing Mi’kmaq communities live in the region – Bear River and Acadia First Nations. For more information, see the Mi’kmaq webpage and associated links!

French explorers began arriving and settling in the area as early as AD 1605 with the construction of Port Royal until their deportation in AD 1755. For more information, see ‘The Acadians‘ webpage and associated links!

The Acadian Metis are decended from early French Acadian settlers and local Mi’kmaq. For more information, see ‘The Acadian Metis‘ webpage and associated links!

Beginning in 1759, an abundance of Mayflower descendant re-settled the area arriving from New England. For more information, see ‘The Pre-Loyalists or Planters‘ webpage and associated links!

In 1783, 1500 Black Loyalists arrived and settled in the community of Birchtown – outside Shelburne. For more information, see ‘The Black Loyalists‘ webpage and associated links!

1783 also marked mass migration of British loyalists following the end of the American Revolution with many arriving in Kespukwitk. For more information, see ‘The United Empire Loyalists’ webpage and associated links!