Arisaig, Nova Scotia

Coordinates: 45°45′36″N 62°09′45″W / 45.76000°N 62.16250°W / 45.76000; -62.16250
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The beach at Arisaig

Arisaig (/ɛrɪsɛɡ/), (Scottish Gaelic: Àrasaig) is a small village in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia, Canada.[1] It is located on the north coast of eastern mainland Nova Scotia, on the Northumberland Strait, and is connected to the town of Antigonish to the southeast and to New Glasgow to the west by Route 245, the "Sunrise Trail". Nearby communities include Doctors Brook, Malignant Cove, Knoydart, and McArras Brook.

The community was founded c. 1785 by Scottish immigrants who named it after their home, Arisaig, on the west coast of Scotland.[2]

Arisaig Lighthouse
Arisaig Lighthouse

There is a government wharf and recently rebuilt lighthouse situated at Arisaig Harbour. The Roman Catholic church is dedicated to St. Margaret of Scotland. The present church was constructed in 1878 and the parish itself was established in 1792. Two cairns are situated in the community - one near the wharf marking the approximate site of the original log cabin church, and a second near the present church commemorating the centennial of its construction.

Despite being a member of the Nova Scotia branch of the Free Church of Scotland, the poet Iain mac Ailein, a highly important figure in both Scottish Gaelic literature and in that of Canadian Gaelic, felt able to build a very close friendship with Fr. Colin P. Grant, the Roman Catholic priest assigned to St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Arisaig.[3] So close was their friendship that Iain Mac Ailein composed a work of Canadian Gaelic praise poetry in honor of Fr. Grant.[4]

Arisaig Park, which borders on the Northumberland Strait, features significant fossil deposits.[5]


  1. ^ "Arisaig". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  2. ^ Fergusson, C. Bruce (1967). Place-Names and Places of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS: Public Archives of Nova Scotia. p. 19. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Biography – MacGHILLEATHAIN, IAIN – Volume VII (1836-1850) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography". Retrieved 2021-08-14.
  4. ^ Edited by Natasha Sumner and Aidan Doyle (2020), North American Gaels: Speech, Song, and Story in the Diaspora, McGill-Queen's University Press. Page 291.
  5. ^ "Arisaig Sea Cliffs". Archived from the original on 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2013-07-27.

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45°45′36″N 62°09′45″W / 45.76000°N 62.16250°W / 45.76000; -62.16250