Discover Windsor, Nova Scotia: A Rich Blend of History and Culture

Windsor, a vibrant community in Hants County, Nova Scotia, Canada, serves as a hub for the western part of the county. Nestled on Highway 101, Windsor boasts a rich history dating back to its use by the Mi'kmaq Nation for several millennia prior to European colonization. Today, it is known as the birthplace of ice hockey and the home of Canada's first internationally best-selling author, Thomas Chandler Haliburton. On April 1, 2020, the Town of Windsor amalgamated with the District of West Hants to become the West Hants Regional Municipality.

The Historical Journey of Windsor, Nova Scotia

The Acadians, having migrated from Port Royal, Nova Scotia, were the first Europeans to settle in Pisiguit, now known as Windsor, by the early 1680s. French census records from 1686 reveal well-established farms utilizing dyked marshlands.

Windsor, Nova Scotia during Queen Anne's War

During the time of the Acadians, the town was raided by New England forces in 1704. The area was central to both Father Le Loutre's War and the Expulsion of the Acadians during the Bay of Fundy Campaign in 1755.

Windsor, Nova Scotia during Father Le Loutre's War

Despite the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, Nova Scotia remained primarily occupied by Catholic Acadians and Mi'kmaq. Father Le Loutre's War began when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports on June 21, 1749. The British quickly began to build other settlements, including present-day Windsor (Fort Edward). Many Acadians left this region in the Acadian Exodus, which preceded the Expulsion of the Acadians.

Windsor, Nova Scotia during the French and Indian War

During the French and Indian War, Fort Edward and Windsor played a significant role in the deportation, particularly the Bay of Fundy Campaign (1755). Acadians were imprisoned in the fort as they were notified about the expulsion. The British also broke apart families and sent them to different places, resulting in more loss of life as families could not survive without essential members.

Windsor, Nova Scotia: Home of the New England Planters

The Township of Windsor was founded in 1764 by New England Planters. The next year, its first Agricultural Fair was held. This fair is still continued today, and is the oldest and longest-running such fair in North America.

Windsor, Nova Scotia during the American Revolution

In the American Revolution, Windsor was an important British stronghold. Fort Edward was the headquarters in Atlantic Canada for 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants). A relief force was mustered at Windsor to crush the American-led siege at the Battle of Fort Cumberland in 1776.

Windsor, Nova Scotia: A Haven for Loyalists

Following the American Revolution, Windsor was settled by United Empire Loyalists.

Windsor, Nova Scotia and the Plaster War

Windsor developed its gypsum deposits, usually selling it to American markets at Passamaquoddy Bay. In 1820, an effort to stop this smuggling trade resulted in the "Plaster War," in which local smugglers resoundingly defeated the efforts of New Brunswick officials to bring the trade under their control.

Windsor, Nova Scotia: Home of Kings

The University of King's College and its secondary school, King's Collegiate School, were founded in 1788-1789 by United Empire Loyalists as Anglican academic institutions. The college remained in the community until a disastrous fire on February 3, 1920. In 1922 it moved to Halifax, with the assistance of the Carnegie Foundation and continues to this day.

Windsor, Nova Scotia and Thomas Chandler Haliburton

Thomas Chandler Haliburton brought fame to Windsor during the 19th century with his writings about a clockmaker named Sam Slick.

Windsor, Nova Scotia: A Hub for Ships, Rail, and Roads

In 1878, Windsor was officially incorporated as a town. Its harbour made the town a centre for shipping and shipbuilding during the age of sail. Notable shipbuilders such as Bennett Smith built a large fleet of merchant vessels, one of the last being the ship Black Watch. As the port of registry for the massive wooden shipbuilding industry of the Minas Basin, Windsor was the homeport of one of the largest fleet of sailing ships in Canada.

The Geography of Windsor, Nova Scotia

Situated at the junction of the Avon and St. Croix Rivers, Windsor is the largest community in the District of the Municipality of West Hants. The region encompassing present-day Windsor was originally part of Pisiguit, a Mi'kmaq term meaning "Junction of Waters". This name referred to the confluence of the Avon and St. Croix rivers, which flow into the Minas Basin.

The Climate of Windsor, Nova Scotia

The highest temperature ever recorded in Windsor was 37.8 °C (100 °F) on 19 August 1935. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −32.5 °C (−26.5 °F) on 7 February 1993.

The Demographics of Windsor, Nova Scotia

In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Windsor recorded a population of 3,648 living in 1,586 of its 1,715 total private dwellings, a change of -3.6% from its 2011 population of 3,785. With a land area of 9.11 km2 (3.52 sq mi), it had a population density of 400.4/km2 (1,037.1/sq mi) in 2016.

Arts and Culture in Windsor, Nova Scotia

The world's very first pumpkin regatta was held in Windsor in 1999 where people carve out The Giant Pumpkins and race across lake Pisiquid. Windsor is the location of the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. The theatre supports a touring troupe, which performs locally and internationally, as well as many children's theatre programs.

Attractions in Windsor, Nova Scotia

Windsor, NS is home to numerous attractions beginning with the claim to being the birthplace of hockey. Windsor is home to both the Cradle of Hockey which is home to Long Pond where hockey began beside Howard Dill's Farm. The town of Windsor is also home to the oldest agricultural fair in North America which is held on two separate weekends in September. The first fair was held in Windsor in the year 1765 making their 250th anniversary in 2015.

Parks in Windsor, Nova Scotia

  • Falls Lake Provincial Park
  • Victoria Park
  • Windsor Playland Park
  • Windsor Waterfront Skatepark

Ice Hockey in Windsor, Nova Scotia

Windsor maintains a claim as the birthplace of hockey, based upon a reference (in a novel by Thomas Haliburton) of boys from King's Collegiate School playing "hurley", on the frozen waters of Long Pond adjacent to the school's campus during the early 19th century. Students from King's-Edgehill School still play hockey on Long Pond, a pond proclaimed by some as the "Cradle of Hockey", located at the farm of Howard Dill. Windsor also boasts the oldest hockey arena in Canada, the Stannus Street Rink, which no longer hosts hockey games. The town's current arena is Hants Exhibition Arena.

Sister City of Windsor, Nova Scotia

The sister city of Windsor is Cooperstown, New York. This is due to Windsor being the birthplace of Ice Hockey and Cooperstown being the birthplace of Baseball.