East Preston

Discover East Preston, Nova Scotia: A Rich History and Vibrant Community

East Preston, Nova Scotia, is a sprawling rural Black Nova Scotian community nestled in the eastern part of the Halifax Regional Municipality. As of the 2016 census, this Atlantic Canadian gem was home to 869 residents.

The Geography of East Preston, Nova Scotia

East Preston is conveniently located within the Halifax Regional Municipality, to the east of another rural area known as Preston. The community is easily accessible via Trunk 7 or No 207 on Marine Drive, with routes through Ross Road or Mineville Road.

The History of East Preston, Nova Scotia

The roots of East Preston date back to the 19th century. The community's name is believed to have been inspired by either Preston, Lancashire, England, or Thomas Preston, a British army officer involved in the Boston Massacre during the American Revolution.

Contrary to popular belief, the community was not named after Rev. Richard Preston, a renowned African Nova Scotia leader and minister. In fact, the community was established long before his arrival. After escaping American slavery, Rev. Preston arrived in search of his mother, who had previously escaped and settled in Preston. He was so taken with the community that he adopted its name as his surname. Rev. Preston went on to establish two churches in the region, which still stand today.

Originally, the communities of East and North Preston were unified, known simply as Preston. Over time, they began to identify themselves separately, adding the North and East prefixes. East and North Preston are well-known across the Maritimes and together form the largest indigenous black community in Canada founded before the 20th century.

In its early days, East Preston was a significant source of market garden produce, with small farm holdings playing a crucial role. The area is also home to numerous popular lakes used for recreation. Over the years, the boundaries of the Prestons have continually shrunk, once stretching from Porters Lake to the East, to well into the current confines of Dartmouth. The current boundaries have been in place since the mid-1970s.

The Culture of East Preston, Nova Scotia

East Preston was predominantly a Black Canadian community in its early days, descended from Black Loyalists who were relocated here by the Crown following the American Revolutionary War. The community has largely retained this traditional culture, with the local Recreation Centre and Black Baptist Church serving as focal points for many Black families. Today, North Preston has a nearly 100% Black population, while East Preston has a Black population of about 80%. A road directly connects the two villages.

Just east of East Preston, the area around Porters Lake has seen an influx of new residents and businesses. This community serves as a shopping district for East Preston and other surrounding communities.

Sources