North Preston, Nova Scotia Canada

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

North Preston, Nova Scotia, is a unique community nestled within the Halifax Regional Municipality in Canada. Known for its rich history and vibrant culture, North Preston is primarily populated by Black Nova Scotians. It holds the distinction of being the largest Black community in Nova Scotia by population and boasts the highest concentration of African Canadians of any community in Canada.

The Historical Journey of North Preston, Nova Scotia

The history of North Preston, Nova Scotia, is a tale of several waves of migration during the 18th and 19th centuries. The American Revolution brought Black Loyalists to the Preston area, followed by the Maroons from Jamaica in the 1790s. While many Maroons later migrated to Sierra Leone, a significant number stayed in Preston and Guysborough County.

In 1813, a third wave of migration brought Black refugees from the War of 1812, primarily from the Southern US states. These refugees brought with them a strong Baptist tradition. Over time, these groups were joined by runaway slaves and, in recent times, by migrants from Ontario, the Caribbean, Africa, and the United States.

The First Preston Church was organized in 1842, followed by the African Baptist Association in 1854, which united the Baptist churches across Nova Scotia. A second church, St. Thomas Church, was established in North Preston in 1856.

In 2014, a multi-purpose community centre was opened on Simmonds Road, serving 5,000 residents. An RCMP detachment was built adjoining the community centre, and a $300,000 Olympic-sized basketball court was constructed in 2019, thanks to the fundraising efforts of North Preston resident Shaquille Smith.

North Preston, Nova Scotia: A Snapshot of the Present

Today, North Preston, Nova Scotia, is a thriving community with a high home-ownership rate and a stable population. The community has successfully resisted gentrification through urban sprawl, which has affected other Black Nova Scotian settlements.

With an average income of $33,233, North Preston surpasses the Nova Scotia average of $31,795. Despite its rural setting, the community remains relatively isolated from the rest of Halifax.

North Preston Day, an annual community festival and parade, is held every July 4. The event is free and attracts both community members and guests from outside the community.

The community is served by Nelson Whynder Elementary School and boasts several community buildings, a day care, a medical centre, a volunteer fire department, and local businesses. Saint Thomas United Baptist Church forms the spiritual heart of the community.

North Preston, Nova Scotia in Popular Culture

North Preston, Nova Scotia, has been represented in popular culture in various forms. The 2008 children's picture book, "Up Home," written by Shauntay Grant, depicts places and people in the community.

In 2010, television personality Debbie Travis visited the community on North Preston Day to film an episode for her show "All for One" on CBC.

The 2015 film "Across the Line," directed by Director X, was largely filmed in North Preston and is loosely based on the events surrounding the 1989 Cole Harbour District High School race riots.

The legal drama television series "Diggstown" centres around North Preston, where the show's main character Marcie Diggs is from. The first season premiered on CBC Television on March 6, 2019.