Discover Lockeport, Nova Scotia: A Historical and Cultural Gem
Lockeport, Nova Scotia, is a charming town and port nestled in Shelburne County, Canada. This traditional Nova Scotian fishing town is situated on a peninsula in Allendale Bay and is connected to the mainland by the Crescent Beach causeway. The area surrounding the bay, known as the "Ragged Islands," is steeped in history and culture.
The Rich History of Lockeport, Nova Scotia
In 1762, two families from Massachusetts ventured to Nova Scotia in search of a new colony closer to the rich fishing grounds of the Grand Banks. Upon discovering the sheltered Allendale Bay, they knew they had found a gem. The town they established, halfway between the New England colonies and the fishing grounds, became a hub for both fishing and trade.
Jonathan Locke and Josiah Churchill, the patriarchs of these pioneering families, became the area's industry captains. Churchill was the first mayor of the Township of Locke's Island, registered in Liverpool in 1764. The area experienced a period of booming industry, with the construction of hotels, trade warehouses, and multiple fish plants. Large trade ships sailed from Locke's Island to the West Indies, trading lumber and salt cod for molasses and salt.
However, the golden age of the Ragged Islands came to an end with a fish market collapse in the 1890s, followed by devastating fires. In 1907, the community decided to incorporate as the Town of Lockeport to stimulate the economy. The funds received from the provincial government were used to construct a ferry linking the town with a nearby rail line. Although this action stimulated the declining economy, it could not restore the town to its former glory.
Lockeport, Nova Scotia: A Snapshot of Demographics
According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Lockeport had a population of 476 living in 234 of its 307 total private dwellings. This represented a change of -10.4% from its 2016 population of 531. With a land area of 2.32 km2 (0.90 sq mi), it had a population density of 205.2/km2 (531.4/sq mi) in 2021.
Festivals and Culture in Lockeport, Nova Scotia
Lockeport is home to several annual festivals that celebrate the heritage and culture of the Ragged Islands area. The Lockeport Sea Derby is a popular, family-oriented festival that celebrates the area's rich fishing heritage. The Annual Canada Day festivities are renowned for fostering a strong sense of local pride. Lockeport also hosts the Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women & Song, a popular women's music and arts festival that celebrates the independence of women on the South Shore.
Sporting History of Lockeport, Nova Scotia
Lockeport is one of the most sport-infused communities in Nova Scotia, and perhaps Canada. Since 1950, the local High School has accumulated 44 provincial championships in basketball, soccer, and track and field. The town has produced notable athletes, including Marjorie Turner-Bailey, a sprinter who represented Canada at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Walter Nickerson, the most successful dory-rowing athlete in Canada, and Ian MacMillan, a well-known basketball coach in Nova Scotia who spent time as an assistant coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Sporting events still attract large numbers of spectators, and Lockeport boasts several indoor and outdoor recreational areas where youth continue to gather and play.
The Lillian Benham Library in Lockeport, Nova Scotia
Located at 35 North Street in Lockeport, the Lillian Benham Library is one of the 10 branches of Western Counties Regional Library. It joined the Western Counties Regional Library on June 5, 1969, but it did not have a physical location in Lockeport until the first branch opened on April 13, 1973. The branch relocated to its present site on September 1, 1981, and underwent an expansion, re-opening on August 22, 1987.