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Town of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

Founded by hard-working Scottish immigrants and shaped by years as the industrial heart of Nova Scotia, New Glasgow has forged itself into the metropolitan hub of the Northumberland Shore.

History of the Town of New Glasgow

As its name suggests, the town of New Glasgow was born with the arrival of Scottish immigrants in the late 18th century. In 1784, Deacon Thomas Fraser moved his family from the Scottish settlement at Pictou and settled them along the western side of the East River, where fresh inland waters met those of the ocean. Over the following years, others would join them and, as the number of houses and people grew, it became a distinct village that the inhabitants would name New Glasgow, in honour of Glasgow, Scotland.

New Glasgow Transportation & Industry

New Glasgow’s settlers were from the same industrious people who settled in Pictou, sharing both their traits and the area’s natural resources. Nearby coal deposits fuelled the town’s factories and made it an important hub for the area’s rail lines. In 1829, a horse-drawn tramway was built between nearby Stellarton and New Glasgow which was the first use of standard gauge rails in Canada. Ten years later in 1839 the Albion Railway began running along the town’s west bank, marking the first use of iron rails and the second railway to be powered by steam in Canada.

The town’s location on the East River also made it an ideal launch point for ships both old and new. George MacKenzie, known as the father of Nova Scotia shipbuilding, established a shipbuilding business in New Glasgow in 1840 that would contribute to the hundreds of ships that were built along the town’s bustling waterfront. As the Age of Sail gave way to the 20th century, New Glasgow continued to act as a centre for transportation and industry.

Steel forged in the town and at nearby Trenton (site of the first steel manufacturing in Canada) found its ways into factories both at home and abroad, and construction of the nearby Trans Canada Highway helped connect the area to new markets and people. The New Glasgow of today reflects this past, while continuing to evolve with new industries and commercial enterprises that reinforce its role as the hub of northern Nova Scotia.

New Glasgow Hotels and Accommodations

New Glasgow is home to a number of bed and breakfasts, hotels and motels located throughout the town. Travellers will appreciate that a few of the full-service hotels located just off the Trans Canada Highway. If you’re looking for accommodations in close proximity to the town, there are also campgrounds and cottages nearby. Find a list of accommodations in New Glasgow.

New Glasgow Restaurants and Nearby Places to Eat

New Glasgow has a range of dining options in and around town, including a number of Celtic pubs and family restaurants. You might also hear locals talk fondly about their pizza, which is garnished with a sauce you won’t find elsewhere in the region. Find a list of places to eat in New Glasgow.

Popular Tourist Attractions in New Glasgow

The New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee

Every year since 1995, the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee has welcomed local and international musicians to its stage for three days of family entertainment. Held over the first of August long weekend, the Jubilee features rock, blues, folk, country and the best East Coast music from new and established artists. There’s also a children’s Jubilee, buskers and lots of food and drink!

Nova Scotia Museum of Industry

If you have children who prefer a bit of fun with their history, head to the Museum of Industry, just off the Trans Canada Highway in nearby Stellarton. Open year round, the museum takes visitors on a journey through Nova Scotia’s industrial past through hands-on exhibits, photographs, videos and examples of the area’s industrial contributions – from things as small as printing type, to as large as a full-size locomotive.

Things to do in New Glasgow

New Glasgow owes its existence to the river bisecting the town, with some of its original buildings still standing on its shores. The best way to admire the town is on foot, either strolling past historical buildings on Provost Street or taking a leisurely walk on riverside trails. For an even better look at New Glasgow’s past, visit the Carmichael Stewart House Heritage Museum on Temperance Street, formerly the home of one of New Glasgow’s famous shipbuilders that now houses a number of exhibits on the area’s history. Those looking to cool off on a hot summer day will definitely want to head to nearby Melmerby Beach Provincial Park. In addition to a long, sandy beach, change houses and a canteen, ‘the Merb’ (as locals like to call it) is on the Northumberland Strait, which has some of the warmest waters in Atlantic Canada – perfect for a dip!