Amherst, Nova Scotia Canada

Discover Amherst, Nova Scotia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Amherst, Nova Scotia, is a charming town nestled in the northeastern end of the Cumberland Basin, an arm of the Bay of Fundy. It's situated 22 km south of the Northumberland Strait and 65 km southeast of the city of Moncton. The town's unique location on a height of land at the eastern boundary of the Isthmus of Chignecto and Tantramar Marshes offers breathtaking views and a rich history.

The Historical Journey of Amherst, Nova Scotia

The history of Amherst, Nova Scotia, is deeply rooted in the indigenous Micmac tribe, who named the area Nemcheboogwek, meaning 'going up rising ground'. The Acadians, who settled here in 1672, called the village Les Planches. Later, Colonel Joseph Morse renamed the village Amherst in honor of Lord Amherst, the commander-in-chief of the British Army in North America during the Seven Years' War.

The town was first settled in 1764 by immigrants from Yorkshire following the expulsion of the Acadians. The original settlement was located 3 km southwest of the present town on the shore of the Bay of Fundy. These settlers were joined by United Empire Loyalists, who fled the American colonies during the American Revolution. A mill was built on the current townsite, prompting residents to move closer to work.

Amherst, Nova Scotia, became an important regional center for shipbuilding and other services to outlying communities during the 19th century. The town's significance in Canadian history is evident with its four Fathers of Confederation: Edward B. Chandler, Robert B. Dickey, Jonathan McCully, and Sir Charles Tupper.

Victorian and Edwardian Influence in Amherst, Nova Scotia

The late 19th century saw the construction of many fine Victorian and Edwardian homes along Victoria Street East in Amherst, Nova Scotia. This district has been home to many notable residents, including Sir Charles Tupper and Senator Thomas R. Black. The town also gained brief notoriety during this period as the location of the alleged poltergeist phenomena afflicting resident Esther Cox, known as the Great Amherst Mystery.

Industrialization and Economic Shifts in Amherst, Nova Scotia

The late 1870s brought unprecedented industrialization to Amherst, Nova Scotia, with the construction of the Intercolonial Railway of Canada's main line from Halifax to Quebec through the town. This economic boom lasted through World War I, leading to the opening of numerous foundries, factories, and mills, earning the town the nickname "Busy Amherst".

However, the town's prosperity began to decline during the 1910s due to failed economic policies and the impact of World War I. The Amherst Internment Camp for prisoners of war and enemy aliens was set up at Malleable Iron Foundry in Amherst from April 1915 to September 1919. Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was incarcerated there for one month after his arrest in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in April 1917.

Modern Amherst, Nova Scotia

Today, Amherst, Nova Scotia, is home to a modest-sized industrial park constructed during the 1960s when the Trans-Canada Highway was being developed. The majority of the town's major employers are located there, including Emmerson Packaging and IMP Aerospace.

The town is currently served by Via Rail's Halifax-to-Montreal train Ocean. In 2002, the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre opened on the outskirts of the town, replacing the older Highland View Regional Hospital on Pleasant Street.

Climate and Demographics of Amherst, Nova Scotia

Amherst, Nova Scotia, experiences a humid continental climate. The highest temperature ever recorded was 34.4 °C on 18 August 1935, and the coldest was −37.2 °C on 18 February 1922.

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Amherst had a population of 9,404 living in 4,480 of its 4,799 total private dwellings. The town has a land area of 12.07 km2, resulting in a population density of 779.1/km2 in 2021. The African Nova Scotian community, which has lived in the area since 1783, is largely settled around the south end of the town in an area called Sand Hill.