Discover Kentville, Nova Scotia: A Rich Blend of History and Tourism
The Historical Roots of Kentville, Nova Scotia
Kentville, an incorporated town in Nova Scotia, is the most populous town in the Annapolis Valley. As of 2021, the town's population was 6,630, with a census agglomeration of 26,929. The town owes its location to the Cornwallis River, which downstream from Kentville, becomes a large tidal river at the Minas Basin. The riverbank at the current location of Kentville provided an easy fording point, making the area an important crossroads for other settlements in the Annapolis Valley.
Acadian Settlement in Kentville, Nova Scotia
The area was first settled by Acadians, who built many dykes along the river to keep the high Bay of Fundy tides out of their farmland. These dykes created the ideal fertile soil that the Annapolis Valley is known for. The Acadians were expelled from the area in the Bay of Fundy Campaign (1755) by the British authorities because they would not swear allegiance to the British king. The area was then settled by New England Planters and United Empire Loyalists during the American Revolution.
English Settlement and Growth of Kentville, Nova Scotia
Originally known as Horton's Corner, the town was renamed Kentville in 1826 after Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent. Despite being smaller than other valley towns with better harbours such as Canning and Wolfville, Kentville's crossroads location attracted early shopkeepers and several stagecoach inns. The town developed a reputation for rowdy drinking and horse races in the early 19th century, earning the nickname "The Devil's Half Acre."
Kentville began to thrive when the Windsor and Annapolis Railway (later named Dominion Atlantic Railway) established its headquarters in the town in 1868 and began shipping Annapolis Valley apples to British markets. The railway not only employed a large number of people but also attracted other industries such as mills, dairies, a large foundry, and a carriage works.
Post-War Challenges and Demographics of Kentville, Nova Scotia
Kentville faced serious challenges after World War II. The dominant apple industry suffered severe declines due to the loss of its British export market. The nearby military training base at Camp Aldershot was significantly downsized and the town's major employer, the Dominion Atlantic Railway, suffered serious declines. Despite these challenges, the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada reported a population of 6,630 living in Kentville.
Industries and Economic Activities in Kentville, Nova Scotia
Despite the post-war loss of commerce to other valley communities, Kentville remains the professional centre of the Annapolis Valley. The town is home to numerous professional services such as lawyers offices, doctors, and investment firms. Agriculture, especially fruit crops such as apples, remain a prominent industry in the Kentville area. The town is also home to one of the largest agricultural research facilities in Nova Scotia, known to the locals as The Research Station.
Community Events and Climate in Kentville, Nova Scotia
Kentville is known for its Apple Blossom Festival, founded in 1933 to celebrate the blossoming of the local apple industry. Other annual festivals and events hosted in Kentville include the Pumpkin People Festival, Devil's Half Acre Motorcycle Rally, Open Street Chalk Art Festival, Kentville Multicultural Festival, Kentville Harvest Festival, and KBC's Great Big Country Fair. The town experiences a humid continental climate, with the highest temperature ever recorded being 37.8 °C (100 °F) on 12 August 1944 and the coldest temperature ever recorded being −31.1 °C (−24 °F) on 1 February 1920.
Recreation and Sister Cities of Kentville, Nova Scotia
Kentville boasts a number of high-quality recreational facilities, including the Kentville Centennial Arena, a large indoor soccer arena, numerous outdoor baseball and soccer fields, and playgrounds for local children. The town also has two sister cities: Camrose, Alberta, Canada, and Castel di Sangro, Abruzzo, Italy.