North Preston

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North Preston

Up Home, New Road Settlement[1]
Entrance to North Preston
Entrance to North Preston
North Preston is located in Canada
North Preston
North Preston
North Preston is located in Nova Scotia
North Preston
North Preston
Coordinates: 44°44′46″N 63°27′52″W / 44.74611°N 63.46444°W / 44.74611; -63.46444Coordinates: 44°44′46″N 63°27′52″W / 44.74611°N 63.46444°W / 44.74611; -63.46444
ProvinceNova Scotia
MunicipalityHalifax Regional Municipality
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−3 (ADT)

North Preston is a rural community in Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada.[2][3]

The community is populated primarily by Black Nova Scotians. North Preston is the largest Black community in Nova Scotia by population, and has the highest concentration of African Canadians of any community in Canada.[citation needed]


Historical populations
Source: Statistics Canada[Note 1]

The community traces its origins from several waves of migration in the 18th and 19th centuries. The American Revolution brought Black Loyalists to the Preston area. The 1790s brought a different group of Black settlers to the regions, the Maroons from Jamaica. While many Maroons later left for Sierra Leone, a number stayed in Preston and Guysborough County. These groups were joined shortly after by a third migration starting in 1813, of Black refugees from the War of 1812. The Black Refugees came to Nova Scotia mostly from the Southern US states, bringing with them a strong Baptist tradition. These three major waves of migrants were also periodically joined by runaway slaves. In recent times, lifelong residents have been joined by small numbers of migrants from Ontario, the Caribbean, Africa, and the United States – many of whom are married into families in North Preston.

In 1842, the First Preston Church was organized for the area. In 1854, the African Baptist Association was organized by Richard Preston and Septimus Clarke to band together the Baptist churches across Nova Scotia, whose members were primarily black. A second church was organized in North Preston in 1856. This second church was called the “South Church” until 1879, when the congregation erected a new building. The church was renamed St. Thomas Church after their first pastor, John R. Thomas.[4]

William Brown Sr. and William Arnold purchased land on the southern shore of Bedford Basin in the City of Halifax. In 1846, people migrated out of Preston (and Hammonds Plains) and began settling in the area, which gradually became known as Africville.

Present day[edit]

The road to North Preston. The settlement's water tower can be seen.

North Preston has a high home-ownership rate and a stable population, and has resisted gentrification through urban sprawl which has occurred in other Black Nova Scotian settlements. At $33,233, North Preston has a higher average income compared with the average of $31,795 for Nova Scotia.[5] The community remains relatively isolated from the rest of Halifax, in its rural setting.

North Preston Day is an annual community festival and parade occurring each July 4. Many members of the community attend; the event is free and guests from outside of the community attend. In 2010, television personality Debbie Travis made a guest appearance to film part of her show All for One, aired on CBC.[6]

North Preston is served by Nelson Whynder Elementary School. A number of community buildings, a day care, a medical centre, a volunteer fire department and several local businesses are located in North Preston.[7] Saint Thomas United Baptist Church forms the spiritual heart of the community.

There is some discrepancy about how many residents live in the community. The population estimates range from a low of 805 by the area's city Councillor, to a high of 4,100 by The Globe and Mail.[8][9]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Statistics Canada and City of Halifax planning Data


  1. ^ "Up Home". Nimbus. May 5, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "North Preston". Natural Resources Canada. October 6, 2016.
  3. ^ "Halifax". Statistics Canada. November 2, 2016.
  4. ^ Rock, Robert (January 1, 1970). "The Story of the Emerging Visibility of the Community of Black People, North Preston, Nova Scotia". Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 31, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Councillor David Hendsbee | District 2 | Preston - Chezzetcook - Eastern Shore".
  9. ^ "Racism's long history in quiet East Coast towns". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "North Preston's Custio Clayton looks to chase world title with new management | CBC News". CBC.
  12. ^ "Canada's Custio Clayton wins WBO International welterweight title | CBC Sports". CBC.
  13. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • A. Mohamed, Struggle for Development :The Black Communities of North & East Preston and Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia, 1784–1987, DAL Killam, 1988.