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Official seal of Hantsport
Motto: "The Haven of Hospitality"
Hantsport is located in Nova Scotia
Location of Hantsport, Nova Scotia
Coordinates: 45°5′0″N 64°11′0″W / 45.08333°N 64.18333°W / 45.08333; -64.18333
Country  Canada
Province  Nova Scotia
Municipality Hants County
Founded 1789
Incorporated April 25, 1895
 • Mayor Robbie Zwicker
 • MLA Chuck Porter (PC)
 • MP Scott Brison (L)
 • Total 2.13 km2 (0.82 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 1,159
 • Density 544.6/km2 (1,411/sq mi)
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
Postal code B0P 1P0
Area code(s) 902
Telephone Exchange 684
Median Earnings* $49,283
NTS Map 021H01
Website hantsportnovascotia.com
  • Median household income, 2005 ($) (all households)

Hantsport is a rural Canadian town and seaport located in the western part of Hants County, Nova Scotia. Hantsport is located just south of the county boundary with Kings County, and sits on the west bank of the Avon River in a tidal estuary.The town is best known for its history of shipbuilding, its high-speed tidal gypsum terminal and as the resting place of Victoria Cross winner William Hall. Hantsport distinguished itself in 2008, becoming the first municipal unit in Nova Scotia to offer a free wireless high speed Internet service for the community.


The area around Hantsport was known to the Mi'kmaq as Kakagwek meaning "place where meat is sliced and dried" and the town is still home to a small reserve known as the Glooscap First Nation or Pesikitk.[1][2]

Although no Acadians are known to have lived on the lands within the boundary of Hantsport proper, the area was part of the Acadian parish of Paroisse de Sainte Famille (established in 1698). Etienne Rivet and his progeny farmed the nearby marshlands of the Halfway River (currently the boundary between the town and the community of Mount Denson, Nova Scotia) and his son, Etienne, operated a mill on the river near where the marshlands meet the uplands on the town's southern boundary.[3][4]

After the Expulsion of the Acadians, the Acadian region of Piziquid was formed into the Township of Falmouth. These lands were granted to New England Planters, and officers of the British army. Colonel Henry Denny Denson, a retired British officer, was granted an extensive tract of land (Mount Denson), which included the lands lying north of the Halfway River and south of the Horton Township boundary. In 1789, after Denson's death, his consort and heir, Martha Whitfield, sold Lots Three & Four (the area of Hantsport) to an Edward Barker.

Edward Barker (born at Lowdham, Nottinghamshire, England, 1745) was a British soldier, having arrived in Halifax in 1769 as a member of the 59th Regiment of Foot. In the early 1770s he mustered out of the army and by 1774 was at Falmouth, having married Rebecca Chadwick of Newport, Rhode Island. He appears to have either worked on Abel Mitchener lands or rented farm lands until 1788 when he purchased land in Falmouth. A year later Baker purchased the Hantsport lots and soon thereafter moved his family to Hantsport. Barker's arrival marks the beginning of the settlement which was initially known as "Halfway River" being the point halfway between Grand-Pré and Windsor.[3]:p24-36[5]

Shipbuilding emerged as a major industry in the 19th century and the town produced a large number of wooden sailing vessels and some steam vessels before the decline of wooden shipbuilding in the late 1800s. Notable vessels included the barque Hamburg, the largest three masted barque ever built in Canada, and the barque Plymouth, famous for the diaries of Alice Coalfleet, who raised a family aboard her.

The arrival of the Windsor and Annapolis Railway in 1869 stimulated a number of local manufacturers. Gypsum exports emerged as a major employer in the 20th Century, followed by the mills of the Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company established by the Jodrey family.

William Hall, an African-Canadian mariner born near Hantsport, won the Victoria Cross in 1857 and is buried at a monument at the Hantsport Baptist Church.

Artifacts from the town's history are preserved at Churchill House, Hantsport, the restored mansion of the Churchill shipbuilding family (see Ezra Churchill) which serves as a community centre and museum.


The Hantsport train station was built in the Craftsman style and is a registered heritage building. It is no longer in use as a passenger facility.

The port most recently was used for shipping gypsum which was quarried at two locations east of Windsor and shipped to Hantsport using the Windsor and Hantsport Railway. The loader used to move gypsum from the storage building to waiting ships was one of the fastest ship-loaders in the world, necessitated by the fact that the extreme tides in the Minas Basin require ships to enter and leave the port within a four to five hour period. Operations at Fundy Gypsum Company's ship loading facility were idled in early 2011, with the facility permanently closed later in 2011.

The largest employer is CKF Inc., which produces Royal Chinet paper plates, as well as egg cartons, cup carriers and other molded pulp products at its plant in Hantsport.

On November 1, 2012, Minas Basin Pulp & Power, which had been in operation in Hantsport for more than 85 years, announced it would cease all operations at its paper mill in December 2012. Closure of this mill affected 135 jobs.

In the wake of the closures, Hantsport town councilors voted on April 16, 2014 to dissolve the town on April 25. The town will join either Kings County or West Hants.


  1. ^ Glooscap First Nation 2006 Census
  2. ^ Rand, Rev. S.T. A first Reading Book in the Micmac Language: Comprising the MicMac Numerials, and the Names of the different kinds of Beasts, Birds, Fishes, Trees, &c, of the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Also, some of the Indian Names of Places, and many Familiar Words and Phrases, Translated Literally into English. Halifax Printing Company, Halifax, 1875.
  3. ^ a b Robertson, Allen B. Tide & Timber - Hantsport , Nova Scotia, 1795-1995. Lancelot Press, Hantsport, 1995
  4. ^ MacMechan, Archibald, ed. Nova Scotia Archives II, A Calendar of Two Letter-Books and One Commission-Book in the Possession of the Government of Nova Scotia, 1713-1741. Herald Printing House, Halifax, NS. 1900.
  5. ^ Nova Scotia Archives: Place Names of Nova Scotia, "Hantsport", p. 78-79

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Coordinates: 45°04′N 64°11′W / 45.067°N 64.183°W / 45.067; -64.183