Eastern Shore (Nova Scotia)

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For the provincial electoral district, see Eastern Shore (electoral district)

The Eastern Shore is a region of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is the Atlantic coast running northeast from Halifax Harbour to the eastern end of the peninsula at the Strait of Canso.

The Eastern Shore is a scenic, yet sparsely settled area, hosting dozens of small fishing harbours and communities; in recent decades the region has become home to a growing number of cottages and recreational properties, given the amount of unspoiled sand beaches and dramatic coastlines. The shore also hosts the majority of Nova Scotia's small islands.

The tourism industry is concentrated near popular beaches and provincial parks such as Lawrencetown, Clam Harbour, and Martinique, as well as the centrally-located service communities of Musquodoboit Harbour, Sheet Harbour, Sherbrooke, Canso, Guysborough and Mulgrave. Popular tourist attractions include the Liscombe Lodge resort and conference centre at Liscomb Mills and the Historic Sherbrooke Village at Sherbrooke.

The Battle at Jeddore (1722) is one of the many historic events to occur along the shore.

Politically the Eastern Shore is part of three federal ridings: Cape Breton—Canso in Guysborough, Central Nova, and Sackville—Eastern Shore at the western end. The provincial ridings include Eastern Shore, Guysborough-Sheet Harbour, as well as several ridings in the eastern part of HRM's urban core (south and east of Dartmouth).

In the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Eastern Shore is represented on Halifax Regional Council as District 1 Eastern Shore - Musquodoboit Valley and District 3 Preston - Lawrencetown - Chezzetcook.


The area between Dartmouth and Cape Breton is sparsely populated.[1]

The decline in the fishing industry has meant an outflow of people to larger urban areas and to other fishing villages in the province.[1] Guysborough & Sheet Harbour, with populations of 922 & 885 respectively, are the largest communities. There are more than 300 communities along the Eastern Shore, which vary in size.



Most of the Eastern Shore of N.S. consists of sandstone and shale bedrock, forming rolling hills (up to 75m high) & many offshore islands, of which the largest are Wolfes Island, Barren Island & Charles Island. In total, the Eastern Shore features well over 100 islands.[2] The Eastern Shore is heavily forested.

Eastern Shore Granite Ridge[edit]

Approximately 12 kilometers inland from the Atlantic is the Eastern Shore Granite Ridge. This expansive area of 350-million-year-old granite bedrock is over 80 km long, and about 10 kilometers wide. Running from Waverley to Tangier Grand Lake, it features exposed granite summits, some of which exceed 125 meters in elevation, and many lakes.[3] The tallest peak is Farquhar's Mountain, located a few kilometers east of Paces Lake, with an elevation of around 155 metres.

Water Bodies[edit]

Several major rivers flow into the coast along the Eastern Shore, including:

There are many lakes, ponds, flowages & other types of freshwater bodies along the Eastern Shore. The largest of which are:

The largest water formation by far is the Chedabucto Bay, at the eastern end of the Eastern Shore. There also numerous, albeit much smaller, bays, harbours & other coastal features along the Eastern Shore, including but not limited to: Musquodoboit Harbour, Jeddore Harbour, Ship Harbour, Sheet Harbour, Country Harbour, Tor Bay & Guysborough Harbour.


Tourism is becoming an increasingly active industry along the Eastern Shore.

There is a Fisherman's Life Museum in Jeddore Oyster Ponds.[4] There is trout fishing & Atlantic salmon serves as a sport in rivers along the coast. In Eastern Passage there is a Fishermen's Cove tourist attraction with a few stores.[5] There is a interactive museum located in Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia. It is called the Historic Sherbrooke Village & it depicts life around the 1900's in the village.[6]

The longest beaches on the Eastern Shore are Lawrencetown Beach, in Lawrencetown,[7] Martinique Beach, near Musquodoboit Harbour[8] & Taylor Head Beach, located in Spry Bay, within the boundaries of Taylor Head Provincial Park.[9]


  • Duncan MacMillan High School (7-12); Sheet Harbour (DMHS)
  • Sheet Harbour Consolidated School (P-6); Sheet Harbour (SHCS)
  • Eastern Shore District High School; Musquodoboit Harbour
  • Oyster Pond Academy (P-9); Jeddore Oyster Ponds (OPA)
  • Gaetz Brook Junior High School; Gaetz Brook
  • Porters Lake Elementary; Porter's Lake
  • O'Connell Drive Elementary School; Porter's Lake
  • Lakefront Consolidated School (P-6); Tangier (LCS)
  • Eastern Consolidated School (P-5); Moser River (ECS)
  • Sherbrooke Academy; Sherbrooke

There is a possibility that both schools in Sheet Harbour, Eastern Consolidated School (Moser River) & Lakefront Consolidated School (Tangier) will be closed & merged in to one P-12 school in the next few years.[10]


The Marine Drive (Nova Scotia) runs along:

The following highways run for part or all of their length through the Eastern Shore:

There are many side roads along the Eastern Shore. Most lead to the coast or wrap around it where the main highways move slightly inland. There are also numerous hauling roads along the Eastern Shore.


The Eastern Shore is home to numerous historic gold mining areas near Port Dufferin, Tangier, Sherbrooke, and Goldboro, as well as Nova Scotia's most historic seaport, the town of Canso. Canso predates Halifax, Lunenburg and Annapolis Royal as one of North America's earliest settlements.

At Sherbrooke, the St. Mary's River empties into the Atlantic and is one of the province's famed Atlantic Salmon runs. Numerous lumber mills operated here during the early 1900s as Nova Scotia entered the 'industrial revolution'.

A railway had been proposed during the 1880s to run east from Dartmouth, however the sparse settlement and lack of industrial economic activity saw the railway line swing north up the Musquodoboit River at Musquodoboit Harbour to access the fertile agricultural district of the Musquodoboit Valley. Another railway project was proposed to run between Pictou and the village of Guysborough and on to Canso during 'the age of sail', when Canso rivalled Halifax as the most important first port of call in Nova Scotia for westbound trans-Atlantic vessels. (Canso is roughly the same distance by rail from the New Brunswick- Nova Scotia border as Halifax).

A rail line was eventually graded and bridges constructed between Pictou and Guysborough during the 1930s, however tracks were never laid and the project was abandoned, leaving most of the Eastern Shore without rail service.

During the post-war period, the provincial government upgraded local roads, resulting in the present alignment of Trunk 7. During the 1980s-1990s, when the rail line was abandoned, the controlled-access Nova Scotia Highway 107 was built from Burnside Industrial Park in Dartmouth to Musquodoboit Harbour, to assist commuters and truck traffic travelling to rural HRM and to Hwy. 102 via Hwy. 118.

A 1990s regional development project saw the port of Sheet Harbour redeveloped into an important regional deep-water port; the facility is most heavily used during the winter months when the Northumberland Strait port of Pictou is iced in and industrial shippers from Pictou County truck shipments to Sheet Harbour. A large sawmill and industrial greenhouse operation are also located near Sheet Harbour.[12]

Beaver Harbour is home to a trans-Atlantic cable station which was operated by Teleglobe, but is now decommisioned.



  1. ^ a b "Eastern shore Geography". Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  2. ^ http://www.novascotia.ca/natr/meb/download/mg/map/htm/map_2000-001.asp
  3. ^ http://www.novascotia.ca/nse/protectedareas/wa_tangierlake.asp
  4. ^ https://fishermanslife.novascotia.ca
  5. ^ http://www.fishermanscove.ns.ca
  6. ^ https://sherbrookevillage.novascotia.ca
  7. ^ http://www.novascotia.com/see-do/outdoor-activities/lawrencetown-beach-provincial-park/1939
  8. ^ http://www.novascotia.com/see-do/outdoor-activities/martinique-beach-provincial-park/1745
  9. ^ http://www.novascotiaparks.ca/brochures/taylorhead.pdf
  10. ^ http://www.hrsb.ca/sites/default/files/hrsb/Downloads/pdf/review/2012-13/Sheet-harbour-response.pdf
  11. ^ This list of highways is using the Nova Scotia Doers & Dreamers Companion Map's outline of the Eastern Shore, which includes all of rural Halifax Regional Municipality & all of Guysborough County
  12. ^ http://www.portofsheetharbour.ca/

Coordinates: 44°55′N 62°20′W / 44.917°N 62.333°W / 44.917; -62.333