Port Williams, Nova Scotia Canada

Discover Port Williams, Nova Scotia: A Rich Blend of History and Tourism

Port Williams, a quaint Canadian village in Kings County, Nova Scotia, is nestled on the north bank of the Cornwallis River. Named after Edward Cornwallis, the first governor of Nova Scotia, this charming village is home to a population of 1,110 as of 2021.

The Historical Roots of Port Williams, Nova Scotia

The village of Port Williams was once part of the Acadian settlement of Rivière-aux-Canards. The Acadians constructed dykes along the river beginning in the late 1600s, protecting the valuable farmland that is still used by the local agriculture industry today.

Port Williams, Nova Scotia in the 18th Century

Following the Expulsion of the Acadians in 1755, the area surrounding Port Williams was settled by the New England Planters in 1760 as part of Cornwallis Township. The Terry and Lockwood families established themselves at the site of Port Williams, which became known as Terry's Creek. The construction of a small wooden bridge in 1780, followed by a more permanent one in the 1830s, attracted more settlers to the area.

During the American Revolution, the local fortification, Fort Hughes, was decommissioned in 1780. In 1781, Major Samuel Bayard led a detachment of King's Orange Rangers from Halifax to Cornwallis to quell local Planters planning to erect a Liberty Pole. This show of force brought the locals back in line. The King's Orange Rangers were disbanded in the autumn of 1783.

The 19th Century Transformation of Port Williams, Nova Scotia

In the 19th century, Port Williams became a significant regional shipping point for lumber and agriculture. The village was renamed in honour of Sir William Fenwick Williams, who fought in the Siege of Kars. The arrival of the railway in 1869 with the construction of the Windsor and Annapolis Railway, later the Dominion Atlantic Railway, further boosted the village's growth.

Port Williams, Nova Scotia in the 20th Century

The 20th century saw Port Williams become a hub for the apple industry, with a large barrel-making factory and a processing plant for apple exporter W.H. Chase. The wharves were rebuilt to serve large steamships in 1930 and continued in use until the 1970s. Despite the decline of the apple industry after World War Two, several apple processing plants remained in Port Williams.

Demographics of Port Williams, Nova Scotia

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Port Williams had a population of 1,110 living in 473 of its 492 total private dwellings. This represented a change of -6.4% from its 2016 population of 1,186. With a land area of 2.93 km2 (1.13 sq mi), it had a population density of 378.8/km2 (981.2/sq mi) in 2021.

Tourist Attractions in Port Williams, Nova Scotia

Port Williams is home to several local attractions. The Port Williams Elementary School, located on Belcher Street, was built in 1966 to replace the previous one that burned down. The old wharf houses two restaurant/pubs, and the nearby Fox Hill Cheese Farm in Starrs Point is a popular destination. The Port Pub on Kars Street/Terrys Creek Road, founded by village residents, prides itself on using only local suppliers, some of whom are just 5 km away from the pub.