Digby, Nova Scotia

Coordinates: 44°37′20″N 65°45′38″W / 44.62222°N 65.76056°W / 44.62222; -65.76056 (Digby)
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An aerial view of Digby
An aerial view of Digby
Official seal of Digby
"The Scallop Capital of The World"
Digby is located in Nova Scotia
Location of Digby, Nova Scotia
Coordinates: 44°37′20″N 65°45′38″W / 44.62222°N 65.76056°W / 44.62222; -65.76056
ProvinceNova Scotia
FoundedJune 1783
IncorporatedFebruary 25, 1890
Electoral Districts     

West Nova
 • TypeTown Council
 • MayorBen Cleveland
 • Governing BodyDigby Town Council
 • MLAGordon Wilson (L)
 • MPChris d'Entremont (C)
 • Total3.16 km2 (1.22 sq mi)
Highest elevation
152 m (499 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 • Total2,001
 • Density634.0/km2 (1,642/sq mi)
 • Change (2016-21)
 • Dwellings
1,133 (1,030 occupied)
Time zoneUTC-4 (AST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-3 (ADT)
Canadian Postal code
B0V 1A0
Area code902
Telephone Exchange245
Median Earnings*28,551
Websitewww.digby.ca footnotes = *Median household income, 2005 (all households)

Digby is an incorporated town in southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada. It is in the historical county of Digby and a separate municipality from the Municipality of the District of Digby. The town is situated on the western shore of the Annapolis Basin near the entrance to the Digby Gut, which connects the basin to the Bay of Fundy.

Named after Admiral Robert Digby, the town has a scallop fishing fleet. The MV Fundy Rose ferry service connects the town to Saint John, New Brunswick.


Digby in 1906.

Digby is called Oositookun, meaning ear of land, by the Mi'kmaq. A small group of New England Planters settled in the area of the town in the 1760s naming it Conway.[2] However Digby was formally settled and surveyed as a town in June 1783 by the United Empire Loyalists under the leadership of Sir Robert Digby.

The town developed a sizable shipping fleet in the 19th century. One famous Digby vessel was the brigantine Dei Gratia, which discovered the famous mystery ship Mary Celeste in 1872. The town became an important regional transportation centre in the 1890s with the arrival of the Dominion Atlantic Railway. Trains connected with a series of steamships such as the City of Monticello and later the SS Princess Helene.

Digby's history is preserved and interpreted by the Admiral Digby Museum, located facing the harbour in the historic Woodrow/Dakin home, one of oldest houses in the town.


The Admiral Digby Museum.

Tourism has played an important role in Digby during the 20th century beginning with the establishment of railway and steamship links that opened the town and surrounding communities as an-easy-to-reach destination for larger urban centres in eastern North America. A landmark in this industry was the construction of the Digby Pines Resort on the town's outskirts. Built in 1905 and then purchased in 1917 by the Dominion Atlantic Railway, the resort provided a focal point to the local tourism industry with a large expansion in 1927. The Pines attracted notable visitors including early film star Theda Bara who spent her honeymoon there in 1921.[3] Expanded several times since, it was bought by the Government of Nova Scotia after the Dominion Atlantic sold its hotels. About 20 additional motels, inns and bed and breakfast operations are based in Digby making tourism an important employer.[4]

The annual Scallop Days Festival, held the first week of August, brings the fishing and tourism industries together to showcase the town's history and heritage to the tourists. The festival offers a variety of themed activities for all ages, including scallop shucking contests, a parade, and an exhibition of local artists.[5]

Wharf Rat Rally[edit]

Since 2004, Digby has become the destination of the largest motorcycle rally in Atlantic Canada, the annual Wharf Rat Rally. It attracts many times the town's population; the town of 2,000 residents grows to 50,000 people, including 25,000 motorcycles. So many that schools and some roads have to close for the day due to crowds and motorcycle traffic.[6] The Wharf Rat Rally event is held the weekend of Labour Day in August/September each year.[7]


Fishing has been an essential economic activity since the town's settlement. Digby's schooner fishery reached its peak in the early 1900s, documented by Frederick William Wallace. Later, trawlers, especially those harvesting scallops became the mainstay.


The town council consists of a mayor and four councillors. The offices of Digby County are located immediately adjacent to the town. Digby is represented provincially by the riding of Digby-Annapolis and federally by the riding of West Nova. Numerous provincial and federal services for the county and western Nova Scotia such Access Nova Scotia[8] and the Department of Community and Social Services are located in Digby.[9]

Shopping and services[edit]

There are two grocery stores located in Digby, both Atlantic Superstore and Sobeys. There is also a Walmart, a Canadian Tire, a Home Hardware, a Dollarama, a Shoppers Drug Mart, a Maritime Travel, a Telus and a Bell Aliant.

Restaurants include franchises such as two Tim Hortons locations, Dairy Queen, Subway, Pizza Delight, KFC, and McDonald's along with several other locally owned restaurants filling the downtown Water Street area. Most of the locally owned restaurants serve seafood dishes with a high concentration on scallops. Many restaurants close during the winter months due to the slow tourism during that time.

Downtown also has locally owned shops.

Irving Oil and Circle K, Ultramar, Shell, and Esso have gas stations located in Digby.

There is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) station located on Victoria Street.[10]

The Digby General Hospital, located on Warwick Street, provides medical care to the residents, including primary care, inpatient, restorative care, ambulatory, day surgery.[11] Although they note on the website they provide emergency care, it is only available when a physician is available. Currently, the DGH is closed most Wednesdays (8 am to 8 pm) and Fridays (8 am to 8 pm). During those periods, patients are redirected to the CEC (collaborative emergency centre) in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia or Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in the case of an emergency.[12] In October 2018, the base cost for a walk-in visit to the clinic at the hospital for a non-Canadian visitor was $900 Canadian; that fee excluded any doctor's charges, tests, or medicines. Similar charges applied at walk-in clinics located in Annapolis Royal, Yarmouth and other nearby towns.

Banks located in Digby are RBC Royal Bank, CIBC, and Scotiabank, while the Ultramar has a Toronto-Dominion Bank ATM.


Digby is located approximately 105 km (65 mi) from Yarmouth, and about 230 km (140 mi) from Downtown Halifax.[13][14]


Historical population

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Digby had a population of 2,001 living in 1,030 of its 1,133 total private dwellings, a change of -2.9% from its 2016 population of 2,060. With a land area of 3.16 km2 (1.22 sq mi), it had a population density of 633.2/km2 (1,640.1/sq mi) in 2021.[17]

Notable residents[edit]

Public library[edit]

  • Isaiah W. Wilson Memorial Library; Digby


  • Annapolis Basin Provincial Park
  • Central Grove Provincial Park
  • Digby Campground and Fun Park
  • Digby Parks & Recreation
  • Lake Midway Provincial Park

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Nova Scotia)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  2. ^ C. Bruce Fergusson, "Digby", Place-Names and Places of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Archives (1967), p. 169
  3. ^ Lorna Innis, "Hollywood’s link with province long, varied", Chronicle Herald (Halifax), February 26, 2012
  4. ^ "Town of Digby Tourism - Where to Stay". Archived from the original on 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
  5. ^ "Digby Scallop Days - Digby, Nova Scotia".
  6. ^ Leanne Delong,"Wharf Rat Rally revving engines for fifth year", Digby Courier September 4, 2009
  7. ^ "Wharf Rat Rally". Wharf Rat Rally website.
  8. ^ Service Nova Scotia Office Location Digby
  9. ^ Nova Scotia Dept. of Community and Social Services, Western District
  10. ^ "Detachments". Archived from the original on 2009-02-11.
  11. ^ "Roseway Hospital - South West Health". Archived from the original on 2010-03-27. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
  12. ^ "Saltwire | Nova Scotia".
  13. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps.
  14. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps.
  15. ^ Census 1956-1961 Archived August 22, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "I:\ecstats\Agency\BRIAN\census2" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
  17. ^ a b "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), Nova Scotia". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved March 12, 2022.

External links[edit]

44°37′20″N 65°45′38″W / 44.62222°N 65.76056°W / 44.62222; -65.76056 (Digby)