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  • the most populous province in the Maritimes
  • second smallest province
  • nowhere in Nova Scotia is more than 67 km from the ocean
  • has 10,424 kilometres of shoreline
  • slightly smaller than Scotland, which it was named after
  • provincial capital Halifax
  • provincial bird Osprey
  • provincial tree Red Spruce
  • provincial flower Mayflower
  • in the Atlantic Time Zone

One of Canada’s Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia is located on its southeastern coast. The province’s 580 kilometre peninsula is surrounded by four bodies of water – the Atlantic Ocean, with Newfoundland to the north and east; the Bay of Fundy, with New Brunswick across the bay to the east; the Northumberland Strait, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Prince Edward Island to the north; and the Gulf of Maine and the USA to the south and west.

With an area of 55,491 square kilometres, its average width of 128 km means that no part of the province is far from the sea. Nova Scotia is a montage of craggy headlands, quiet harbours and beautiful ocean beaches. Cape Breton Island, a large island to the northeast of the Nova Scotia mainland, is also part of the province, as is Sable Island, a small island notorious for its shipwrecks, approximately 175 km (95 nautical miles) from the province’s southern coast.

Geography – Nova Scotia is framed by the rocky Atlantic Uplands, the Cape Breton Highlands and the wooded Cobequid Hills. The agricultural areas are predominantly lowlands. When the glacial ice withdrew from coastal Nova Scotia 15,000 years ago, the ocean flooded ancient river valleys and carved out hundreds of small protected harbours which became fishing ports.

Climate – Nova Scotia lies in the northern temperate zone and, although the province is almost surrounded by water, the climate is continental rather than maritime. The temperature extremes are moderated by the ocean. Nova Scotia’s continental climate is comparable to that of northern Europe. The southwestern and southern shores of Nova Scotia have both milder and wetter climates than the rest of the province.

Because of the ocean’s effect on the weather, Nova Scotia is the warmest of the provinces in the Atlantic region. The province also has a fairly wide but not extreme temperature range, a late and short summer, skies that are often cloudy or overcast; frequent coastal fog and marked changeability of weather from day to day.

As Nova Scotia juts out into the Atlantic, it is prone to tropical storms and hurricanes in the summer and autumn. There have been 33 such storms, including 12 hurricanes, since records were kept in 1871 – about once per four years.

National Parks of Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia Canada has three national parks. Cape Breton Highlands Park is home to the famous Cabot Trail, adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. Kejimkujik National Park is the only inland national park in the Maritimes. Sable Island National Park Reserve provides a home for the famous Sable Island wild horses, and the world’s biggest breeding colony of grey seals uses its extensive beaches.