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Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

History of Yarmouth

Settlement of what is now the County of Yarmouth started 5000 years ago. Archaeological investigation of the Bain site in Cheggogin has yielded stone wood-working tools and other evidence that show it to have been a prime fishing site for the indigenous native people. In 1759 the Township of Yarmouth was proclaimed. The date of the earliest European exploration of South West Nova Scotia remains controversial. But, early in the 17th century the coastline was surveyed by the great French explorers, De Monts and Champlain, who were responsible for naming Cape Forchu (the Forked Cape) in 1604.

Some of the Acadians deported to the American colonies in 1755, began to return to Nova Scotia in about 1766. Having lost their rich agricultural land, many started over in the neighboring townships of Clare and Argyle. The Yarmouth economy has traditionally been tied to the sea. But during the nineteenth century, the shipbuilding and shipping industries developed hand-in-hand and brought unprecedented prosperity. The success of wooden shipbuilding was made possible in part by the availability of local lumber and a skilled workforce. Yarmouth’s ships could be found transporting their own fish, lumber and shingles to the Caribbean, returning with rum, sugar, molasses, and raw cotton. They sailed to Europe, South America and the Orient, with cargoes of lumber, coal, and salt fish. The ships would load and unload a variety of goods en route, bringing home tea, spices, china, textiles and citrus fruit.

The prosperity of the time is can be seen in the handsome nineteenth-century residences of merchants, ship-owners and sea captains scattered throughout the town, in the number and scale of churches, and in the commercial blocks of Main St. Architecture in Yarmouth represents the best of what the Victorian era had to offer.

Things to See and Do in Yarmouth

  • Cape Forchu Lighthouse: Explore the rugged landscape and take in the breath taking views and sunsets
  • Sandford Drawbridge: One of the smallest drawbridges in the world, it was built so that the fisherman and visitors could cross from one side of the Sandford wharf system to the other without having to travel back on the road
  • Paddling Excursions: Join The Song of the Paddle on one of their paddling excursions and see some of the best scenery that Nova Scotia has to offer
  • W. Laurence Sweeney Fisheries Museum: Learn how the fishing industry developed in Yarmouth and Acadian Shores and explore the replicated buildings, trawler, and wharf

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Places to Eat in Yarmouth

  • Rudder’s Seafood Restaurant: Located in a historic sail lot on the Yarmouth Waterfront, and Brew Pub specializes in fresh seafood and houses a ten-barrel gravity flow brewery on site. Enjoy a large outdoor patio overlooking picturesque Yarmouth Harbour.
  • Sip Café: A European style coffee shop with over 100 loose teas and other great treats such as their homemade gelato.
  • The Shanty Café: With a focus on serving great meals that are flavourful and affordable and featuring a variety of dishes inspired by local and international  - specializing in Cuban - cuisine, this is the perfect location for a relaxing breakfast, a delicious lunch or just a friendly gathering.
  • Old World Bakery: Specializing in homemade baked goods and soups and breakfast, this is a great place to enjoy a meal or to purchase a fresh loaf of bread baked in a stone oven.


  • BEST WESTERN Mermaid Yarmouth: only a 5 minute drive from the Yarmouth International Ferry Terminal.
  • The Rodd Grand Yarmouth Hotel: Located in the downtown core of Yarmouth, enjoy one of the many guestrooms featuring the breathtaking scenery of the Yarmouth Waterfront
  • MacKinnon-Cann Inn: Victorian mansion (c 1887), lovingly restored to 1890s style. Licensed fine restaurant and occasions facility
  • Comfort Inn Yarmouth: Conveniently located near Yarmouth Mall, the Comfort Inn was voted as the best hotel/motel within Yarmouth and Acadian Shores

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