Discover Digby, Nova Scotia: A Blend of History and Tourism
Introduction to Digby, Nova Scotia
Digby is a charming town nestled in southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada. It is part of the historical county of Digby and operates as a separate municipality from the Municipality of the District of Digby. The town is strategically located on the western shore of the Annapolis Basin, near the entrance to the Digby Gut, which connects the basin to the Bay of Fundy. Named after Admiral Robert Digby, the town is renowned for its scallop fishing fleet. The MV Fundy Rose ferry service connects Digby to Saint John, New Brunswick, enhancing its accessibility.
The Rich History of Digby, Nova Scotia
Known as Oositookun, meaning "ear of land," by the Mi'kmaq, Digby has a rich history. The town was initially settled by a small group of New England Planters in the 1760s, who named it Conway. However, Digby was formally established and surveyed as a town in June 1783 by the United Empire Loyalists under the leadership of Sir Robert Digby.
In the 19th century, Digby developed a significant shipping fleet. One of its famous vessels was the brigantine Dei Gratia, which discovered the mystery ship Mary Celeste in 1872. The town became an important regional transportation center in the 1890s with the arrival of the Dominion Atlantic Railway. The Admiral Digby Museum, located facing the harbour in the historic Woodrow/Dakin home, preserves and interprets Digby's history.
Tourism in Digby, Nova Scotia
Tourism has played a crucial role in Digby since the 20th century, with the establishment of railway and steamship links that made the town an easy-to-reach destination for larger urban centers in eastern North America. A significant landmark in this industry was the construction of the Digby Pines Resort on the town's outskirts. The resort, built in 1905 and later purchased in 1917 by the Dominion Atlantic Railway, provided a focal point for the local tourism industry. The annual Scallop Days Festival, held the first week of August, brings the fishing and tourism industries together to showcase the town's history and heritage to tourists.
The Wharf Rat Rally in Digby, Nova Scotia
Since 2004, Digby has been the destination of the largest motorcycle rally in Atlantic Canada, the annual Wharf Rat Rally. The event attracts many times the town's population, with the town of 2,000 residents swelling to 50,000 people, including 25,000 motorcycles. The Wharf Rat Rally event is held the weekend of Labour Day in August/September each year.
Fishing in Digby, Nova Scotia
Fishing has been a vital economic activity since the town's settlement. Digby's schooner fishery reached its peak in the early 1900s, documented by Frederick William Wallace. Later, trawlers, especially those harvesting scallops, became the mainstay.
Shopping and Services in Digby, Nova Scotia
Digby offers a variety of shopping and services, including two grocery stores, Atlantic Superstore and Sobeys, and several franchises such as Tim Hortons, Dairy Queen, Subway, Pizza Delight, KFC, and McDonald's. The town also has locally owned shops and restaurants, most of which serve seafood dishes with a high concentration on scallops. Banks located in Digby include RBC Royal Bank, CIBC, and Scotiabank.
Geography of Digby, Nova Scotia
Digby is approximately 105 km (65 mi) from Yarmouth, and about 230 km (140 mi) from Downtown Halifax.
Demographics of Digby, Nova Scotia
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Digby had a population of 2,001 living in 1,030 of its 1,133 total private dwellings, a change of -2.9% from its 2016 population of 2,060.
Public Library in Digby, Nova Scotia
The town is home to the Isaiah W. Wilson Memorial Library.
Parks in Digby, Nova Scotia
Digby boasts several parks, including Annapolis Basin Provincial Park, Central Grove Provincial Park, Digby Campground and Fun Park, Digby Parks & Recreation, and Lake Midway Provincial Park.