Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia
Sherbrooke is a rural community on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada, in Guysborough County. It is located along the St. Mary's River, a major river in Nova Scotia. The community is named for Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, a colonial era Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. Sherbrooke had a gold rush in the 1860s which lasted two decades. The community is the site of an open-air museum called "Sherbrooke Village" which depicts life in the later 1800s in the wake of the gold rush era.
Sherbrooke is nestled between Sherbrooke Lake and St. Mary's River. The river was named for Fort Saint Marie, a French-built fort which was later taken over and destroyed by the British, and is renowned for its angling and its run of wild Atlantic salmon. Over the past decades the population of Atlantic salmon has decreased dramatically, and fishing of Atlantic salmon is strictly prohibited, as is catch and release.
The St. Mary's River is home to hundreds of different wildlife species, from the smallest insects to the many different predators. The St. Mary's River has a length of over 200 kilometres (120 mi) and has three main branches, the east branch, the west branch, and the north branch. The branch feeds into the main river located by Sherbrooke, which then gets transported out to the Atlantic Ocean. The St. Mary's River is home to the famous Atlantic Salmon, but as listed above they are no longer allowed to be fished due to their critically low population.
The river is also home to bald eagles which make their home on old dead trees along the St. Mary's River, because of the food that await in the water below. If you are lucky, you may get to see one perched on an old tree as you drive along the St. Mary's River. Other common birds to see along the river are Osprey, Great-horned owls, and a wide range of hawks. Another resident of the St. Mary's River is the wood turtle, which is a protected species. Surveys have been done along the St. Mary's River to learn the wood turtle population, their diet, habitat, and breeding grounds. A common species of fish to see in the river and its many estuaries is the Speckled Brook Trout, which as makes its home in sheltered waters and underneath logs that have fallen in the brooks. The brook trout is also a food source for many of the birds along the St. Mary's River.
The community takes its name from Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, a colonial era Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. His name can also be found throughout other communities in Canada. Fishing, lumbering and shipbuilding were early industries. In the 1860s, Sherbrooke and surrounding communities benefited from one of several gold rushes. Miners came from all over Canada and the United States to stake a claim in the gold of Wine Harbour, Goldenville, Sherbrooke, and Cochran Hill. Goldenville, being the most popular for miners, was a boom town; previously no bigger than it is today, overnight it boomed to hundreds, probably even thousands of people. Goldenville was named for the gold rush, the brooks running through Goldenville is said to shine of gold. It has been estimated that only 20% of the gold in this area was extracted as early miners did not have the technology to break up the rock completely to get all of the gold in it. The gold still in the rocks would be sent down brooks where, after being broken apart by the water, it would settle in deposits throughout the brooks. Because of this, panning for gold throughout the area grew considerable over the years, attracting a wide range of people.
Like any of the gold rushes throughout Canada and the United States, gold mining lasted for only 20 years and the boom town settlements that emerged were soon reduced in size. Following the gold rush era, the economy for the area turned from gold mining to fishing, tourism, and lumber.
Sherbrooke has a Chinese/Canadian restaurant, a Shoppers Drug Mart, an Irving gas station, an RBC bank, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police station, a Nova Scotia Liquor Commission liquor store, and St. Mary's Memorial Hospital, which serves the District of St. Mary's. Saint Marys Education Centre/Academy (SMECA) is located in Sherbrooke. It serves grades primary-12 and covers the entirety of St. Mary's. The school was constructed in 2013, from the amalgamation of St. Mary's Academy (SMA) and St. Mary's Education Centre (SMEC).
Sherbrooke is the site of an important regional heritage site and tourist attraction known as Sherbrooke Village, an open-air museum depicting village life in the late 19th century. Founded in 1969 and part of the Nova Scotia Museum system, Sherbrooke Village employs a significant number of local residents, estimated to around 100 full-time and seasonal workers. There are approximately 30 historic buildings including a working blacksmith shop, a pottery shop, a water powered lumber mill, which is located off site, a tea room (restaurant), and several animal barns which contain sheep, horses, cow, chickens, turkeys, and peafowl or peacocks. Sherbrooke village is the largest component of the Nova Scotia Museum complex. It is open in the summer months from June to October and at select times during the rest of the year.
In the winter, around the end of November there is a Christmas tree lighting, called "An Old Fashioned Christmas" that takes place in the Village and after the tree is lit a walk down the main street of Sherbrooke follows which leads down through Sherbrooke Village towards the ball field. Local groups throughout the St. Mary's Municipality decorate the doors of the buildings in the village. A community group also decorates the remaining parts of Sherbrooke Village.
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- "Sherbrooke Village - History", Nova Scotia Museum
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