Discovering New Minas, Nova Scotia: A Blend of History and Modernity

New Minas, Nova Scotia, is a charming village nestled in the eastern part of Kings County in the Annapolis Valley. As of 2011, this quaint village was home to 5,135 residents.

The Geography of New Minas, Nova Scotia

New Minas is strategically located, bordering the town of Kentville to the west and the unincorporated community of Greenwich to the east. The town of Wolfville lies further east, beyond Greenwich. Approximately 100 km northwest of Halifax, New Minas is situated along the south bank of the Cornwallis River, occupying the lower slopes of the South Mountain. Nova Scotia's Highway No. 1 runs through the village, forming its main street.

The Rich History of New Minas, Nova Scotia

New Minas was founded in 1682 by Acadians from the Grand Pré area. The settlement was known as Les Mines or Minas, named after the French copper mines explored at Cape d'Or at the entrance to the Minas Basin in the 1600s. As the Minas settlement grew, families moved westward up the Cornwallis River, founding a new settlement known to English surveyors as "New Minas". The Acadians referred to their settlement as St. Antoine.

The settlement was built beside a tidal island in the bend of the river, later known as Oak Island. The Acadians connected dykes to Oak Island, transforming tidal marshland into productive farmland. The settlement grew to include a mill, chapel, and burial ground at Oak Island. However, the Acadians were expelled, and the settlement was destroyed during the Bay of Fundy Campaign of the Acadian Expulsion in 1755.

New England Planters resettled the area in the 1760s as part of Horton Township, building their farms further from the river along the Old Post Road, later known as Nova Scotia's Highway No. 1. New Minas was the site of one of the first accounts of a UFO sighting in North America on October 12, 1796.

New Minas remained a predominantly farming and agricultural community between the towns of Kentville and Wolfville. The Dominion Atlantic Railway operated a gravel quarry at Oak Island in New Minas and served a growing number of food and bulk feed plants at New Minas in the mid 19th Century. However, development increased with the construction of the Highway 101 expressway in the 1970s.

New Minas, Nova Scotia: A Modern Retail Hub

Since the early 1970s, New Minas has transformed into a major shopping mall destination. The village's low tax rate and its location between the population centres of Kentville and Wolfville led to the establishment of a shopping centre and numerous big box retail outlets and fast food shops, making New Minas the retail centre for the eastern Annapolis Valley.

Over the past decade, New Minas has witnessed a commercial boom, with many large retail outlets setting up shop and pre-existing retailers expanding into larger venues. Despite the heavy concentration of minimum-wage, service industry jobs, the village continues to thrive.

Recent Developments in New Minas, Nova Scotia

New Minas has been working on improving its infrastructure in recent years. The village has been lobbying the Province of Nova Scotia to focus on repairing its notoriously poor side-roads. In addition, a rotary was installed in the middle of New Minas to accommodate the increasing number of businesses and the new highway off-ramp from the nearby Highway 101, which was completed in 2018.

New Minas also played host to the film crew of the popular television show Call Me Fitz. The filming took place in the old home of the local Kia Motors, which was converted into Fitzpatrick Motors after the local branch moved to the other end of the town.

Despite its modern developments, New Minas, Nova Scotia, remains a village steeped in rich history, offering a unique blend of the past and the present.