Origin of the Name
All of Nova Scotia, as well as parts of Quebec, New Brunswick and Maine, was originally known as Acadia and mainly settled by the French. Fur trader Pierre de Monts established the first successful agricultural settlement in Canada at Port-Royal (now Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia) in 1605. For the next century, the British and the French fought over the area. Control passed back and forth until 1713, when all of Acadia, except Île Royale (now Cape Breton Island), was ceded to the British under the Treaty of Utrecht.
After the Seven Years War, Nova Scotia included Saint John's Island (as Prince Edward Island was then known), Cape Breton Island and the area now known as New Brunswick. In 1769, Saint John's Island separated from Nova Scotia. In 1784, after a great influx of loyalist refugees from the United States, Nova Scotia was partitioned to create the colonies of New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island. However, Cape Breton again became part of Nova Scotia in 1820.
Coat of Arms
The crest above the shield features two hands, one armed and the other bare, supporting a laurel and a thistle. One interpretation of this has the armed hand and the thistle representing the vow of the King of the Scots to protect his subjects, and the bare hand and the laurel sprig representing the conquest of hardships to be met in Nova Scotia. The laurel sprig is a symbol of peace, triumph and conquest.
The shield is supported by a crowned unicorn, part of Scotland's royal coat of arms, and an Aboriginal man, representing the province's native Indian population.
A royal helmet — facing forward — rests on the shield. A unique feature of the Nova Scotia coat of arms is that the motto is placed above the arms, a common practice in Scotland.
Nova Scotia is the only province to have had a coat of arms annulled. When the province joined Confederation, it was assigned a new coat of arms, as were the other new provinces. Unlike the other provinces, however, Nova Scotia had already been granted one. After the First World War, there was a movement to restore the province's original arms. This change received royal approval in 1929.
MUNIT HAEC ET ALTERA VINCIT (One defends and the other conquers)
The mayflower, also known as trailing arbutus, blooms in the forest glades of early spring, often amid the last remaining snows of winter. The pink flowers are delicately scented and grow on stems from 15 to 30 centimetres long. The mayflower derives its name from the Massachusetts pilgrims who saw it as the first flower of spring and named it after the ship that brought them to Plymouth Rock.
Other Provincial Symbols
- The Nova Scotia Tartan
- Red Spruce (Picea rubens)
- Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Dog
- Wild Blueberry
- Acadian Flag