Windsor, Nova Scotia

Last updated
Windsor, Nova Scotia
Windsor NS seal.jpg
Windsor ns coat of arms.jpg
Coat of arms
Birthplace of Hockey
"E Terra Abundantia"  (Latin)
"Abundant Eastern Land"
Canada Nova Scotia location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Windsor, Nova Scotia
Location within Nova Scotia
Coordinates: 44°58′49″N64°7′45″W / 44.98028°N 64.12917°W / 44.98028; -64.12917 Coordinates: 44°58′49″N64°7′45″W / 44.98028°N 64.12917°W / 44.98028; -64.12917
CountryFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
ProvinceFlag of Nova Scotia.svg  Nova Scotia
Municipality Hants County
IncorporatedApril 4, 1878
  MayorAnna Allen
  Governing BodyWindsor Town Council
  MLA Chuck Porter (L)
  MP Kody Blois (L)
 (2016) [1]
  Total9.11 km2 (3.52 sq mi)
Highest elevation
32 m (105 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 (2016) [1]
  Density400.6/km2 (1,038/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-4 (AST)
Postal code
B0N 2T0
Area code(s) 902
Telephone Exchanges 306 321 472 790 791 792 798 799
Median Earnings*$24,502
NTS Map021A16
*Median household income, 2000 ($) (all households)

Windsor is a town located in Hants County, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is a service centre for the western part of the county and is situated on Highway 101.


The town has a history dating back to its use by the Mi'kmaq Nation for several millennia prior to European colonization. When the Acadians lived in the area, the town was raided by New England forces in 1704. The area was central to both Father Le Loutre's War and the Expulsion of the Acadians during the Bay of Fundy Campaign in 1755. The town promotes itself as the birthplace of ice hockey and was the home of Canada's first internationally best-selling author, Thomas Chandler Haliburton.


Having migrated from Port Royal, Nova Scotia, the Acadians were the first to settle in Pisiguit by the early 1680s. French census records dated 1686 list well established farms utilizing dyked marshlands.

Queen Anne's War

Raid on Pisiquid (1704)

During Queen Anne's War, in response to the Wabanaki Confederacy of Acadia military campaign against the New England frontier and the Canadian Raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, Benjamin Church led the Raid on Pisiquid (1704) and burned the village to the ground. In the Raid on Pisiquid, Church burned 40 houses along with out-buildings, crops and cattle. There was resistance and two Mi'kmaq were wounded. [2]

Father Le Loutre's War

Fort Edward - oldest remaining blockhouse in North America (established during Father Le Loutre's War) FortEdward2006.jpg
Fort Edward - oldest remaining blockhouse in North America (established during Father Le Loutre's War)

Despite the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, Nova Scotia remained primarily occupied by Catholic Acadians and Mi'kmaq. Father Le Loutre's War began when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports on June 21, 1749. [3] By unilaterally establishing Halifax the British were violating earlier treaties with the Mi'kmaq (1726), which were signed after Dummer's War. [4] The British quickly began to build other settlements. To guard against Mi'kmaq, Acadian and French attacks on the new Protestant settlements, British fortifications were erected in Halifax (1749), Dartmouth (1750), Bedford (Fort Sackville) (1751), Lunenburg (1753) and Lawrencetown (1754). [5]

Within 18 months of establishing Halifax, the British also took firm control of peninsula Nova Scotia by building fortifications in all the major Acadian communities: present-day Windsor (Fort Edward); Grand Pre (Fort Vieux Logis) and Chignecto (Fort Lawrence). (A British fort already existed at the other major Acadian centre of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Cobequid remained without a fort.) [5] Many Acadians left this region in the Acadian Exodus, which preceded the Expulsion of the Acadians.

French and Indian War

During the French and Indian War, Fort Edward and Windsor played a significant role in the deportation, particularly the Bay of Fundy Campaign (1755). Acadians were imprisoned in the fort as they were notified about the expulsion. Acadians numbering in the thousands were deported from mainland Nova Scotia. The deportees frequently were held onboard ships for several weeks before being moved to their destinations, thus exacerbating unhealthy conditions below decks and leading to the deaths of hundreds. Many hundreds more were lost through ship sinkings and disease onboard ships while en route to ports in Britain's American colonies, Britain, and France. The British also broke apart families and sent them to different places. Their justification for this was to more efficiently put people on the boats. This resulted in more loss of life as families could not survive without essential members. [6]

New England Planters

The Township of Windsor was founded in 1764 by New England Planters. The next year, its first Agricultural Fair was held. This fair is still continued today, and is the oldest and longest-running such fair in North America.

American Revolution

In the American Revolution, Windsor was an important British stronghold. Fort Edward was the headquarters in Atlantic Canada for 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants). A relief force was mustered at Windsor to crush the American-led siege at the Battle of Fort Cumberland in 1776.


Following the American Revolution, Windsor was settled by United Empire Loyalists.

Plaster War

Windsor developed its gypsum deposits, usually selling it to American markets at Passamaquoddy Bay. Often this trade was illegal; in 1820, an effort to stop this smuggling trade resulted in the "Plaster War," in which local smugglers resoundingly defeated the efforts of New Brunswick officials to bring the trade under their control. [7]


The University of King's College and its secondary school, King's Collegiate School, were founded in 1788-1789 by United Empire Loyalists as Anglican academic institutions. The college remained in the community until a disastrous fire on February 3, 1920. In 1922 it moved to Halifax, with the assistance of the Carnegie Foundation and continues to this day.

The King's Collegiate School continued operation on the campus and was joined by a sister girls school, 'Edgehill School', in 1890. In 1976 both institutions merged to form King's-Edgehill School, and remains the oldest independent (i.e. private) school in the Commonwealth outside of the United Kingdom.


Thomas Chandler Haliburton brought fame to Windsor during the 19th century with his writings about a clockmaker named Sam Slick.

Ships, rail and roads

Windsor and Annapolis Railway locomotive Gabriel, circa 1870 W&ARGabriel.jpg
Windsor and Annapolis Railway locomotive Gabriel, circa 1870

In 1878, Windsor was officially incorporated as a town. Its harbour made the town a centre for shipping and shipbuilding during the age of sail. Notable shipbuilders such as Bennett Smith built a large fleet of merchant vessels, one of the last being the ship Black Watch. As the port of registry for the massive wooden shipbuilding industry of the Minas Basin, Windsor was the homeport of one of the largest fleet of sailing ships in Canada. Notable vessels registered at Windsor included Hamburg, the largest three masted barque built in Canada, and Kings County, the largest four masted barque. Following the completion of the Nova Scotia Railway's line from Halifax in 1857, the town became an important steamship connection giving Halifax access to the Bay of Fundy shipping routes. The railway continued westward as the Windsor and Annapolis Railway in 1870, eventually connecting to Yarmouth as the Dominion Atlantic Railway in 1893. In 1901 the Midland Railway was built across Hants County, connecting Windsor with Truro.

No longer the railhead, Windsor's steamship connection diminished but the central location of Windsor on the railway fostered the growth of numerous factories such as textile mills, fertilizer plants and furniture factories. The home of one of the industrialist families of this era, the Shands, is preserved today in Windsor as the Shand House Museum.

Over the course of its history, Windsor was victim to two disastrous fires, on October 17, 1897, and January 6, 1924, both of which destroyed part of the town.

In 1970, the construction of a flood-control causeway carrying Highway 101 and the Dominion Atlantic Railway across the Avon River closed Windsor off from shipping and has affected navigation in the Avon River downstream from the causeway due to excessive siltation. Highway 101 is scheduled to be upgraded to a 4-lane expressway in the future and there have been discussions about replacing the causeway with railroad and highway bridges to improve water flow. Today, the Avon River on the upstream side of the causeway which is obstructed from freely flowing into the Bay of Fundy is called 'Lake Pisiquid'.

Sister city

The sister city of Windsor is Cooperstown, New York. This is due to Windsor being the birthplace of Ice Hockey and Cooperstown being the birthplace of Baseball. [8]


Situated at the junction of the Avon and St. Croix Rivers, it is the largest community in the District of the Municipality of West Hants and had a 2001 population of = 3,779 residents. Prior to the county being divided into separate municipal districts, Windsor had served as the shire town of the county. The region encompassing present day Windsor was originally part of Pisiguit, a Mi'kmaq term meaning "Junction of Waters". This name referred to the confluence of the Avon and St. Croix rivers, which flow into the Minas Basin.


The highest temperature ever recorded in Windsor was 37.8 °C (100 °F) on 19 August 1935. [9] The coldest temperature ever recorded was −32.5 °C (−26.5 °F) on 7 February 1993. [10]

Climate data for Windsor (Martock), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1871–2005
Record high °C (°F)18.5
Average high °C (°F)−1.0
Daily mean °C (°F)−5.5
Average low °C (°F)−9.9
Record low °C (°F)−29.4
Average precipitation mm (inches)147.1
Average rainfall mm (inches)71.9
Average snowfall cm (inches)75.2
Source: Environment Canada [9] [10] [11]


Historical population
[12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]

In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Windsor recorded a population of 3,648 living in 1,586 of its 1,715 total private dwellings, a change of


Windsor, NS is home to numerous attractions beginning with the claim to being the birthplace of hockey. Windsor is home to both the Cradle of Hockey which is home to Long Pond where hockey began beside Howard Dill's Farm. The town of Windsor is also home to the oldest agricultural fair in North America which is held on two separate weekends in September. [19] The first fair was held in Windsor in the year 1765 making their 250th anniversary in 2015. [19]

4H dairy display at Hants Co. Exhibition in 2014 Exhib 1.jpg
4H dairy display at Hants Co. Exhibition in 2014

Ice hockey

Windsor maintains a claim as the birthplace of hockey, based upon a reference (in a novel by Thomas Haliburton) of boys from King's Collegiate School playing "hurley", on the frozen waters of Long Pond adjacent to the school's campus during the early 19th century. [20] Students from King's-Edgehill School still play hockey on Long Pond, a pond proclaimed by some as the "Cradle of Hockey", located at the farm of Howard Dill. Windsor also boasts the oldest hockey arena in Canada, the Stannus Street Rink, which no longer hosts hockey games. The town's current arena is Hants Exhibition Arena. The town was also recently involved in the shooting of a television series called Road Hockey Rumble. The town of Windsor was also home to the historic Windsor Royals Jr. B Hockey Club, as well as the Avon River Rats Jr. C Hockey Club. The Windsor Royals Jr. B club ceased playing in the spring of 2012, but was ultimately replaced by the Valley Maple Leafs. Facing issues regarding their copyright, in June 2018 the River Rats revived the Royals brand. [21] However, the newly named team lasted just one season before relocating to Chester, Nova Scotia as the Castaways.

Surrounding area

Windsor is 66 km northwest of Halifax, approximately 20 km from the eastern end of the Annapolis Valley. Windsor used to be a railway junction for the Dominion Atlantic Railway where a route to Truro joined with the mainline between Halifax and Yarmouth. The community of Falmouth, Nova Scotia and town of Hantsport are located a few kilometres to the west.

Today the community is a local service centre and nucleus of the West Hants Municipal District.

Fundy Gypsum, a mining company operating gypsum mines just east of town at West Hants and Hantsport, was a major employer in the region. The gypsum company closed in 2011, resulting in the loss of 50 jobs and 40% of the area's tax revenues. [22] Minor activity has continued since, mainly consisting of removal of residual gypsum stocks and maintenance crews fulfilling care and maintenance obligations that are in effect until 2021. [23]

Southwestern Nova Scotia's only alpine ski hill is located 3 km up the Avon River valley from Windsor at Martock. It is home to the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta.

Windsor is also home to the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. The theatre supports a touring troupe, which performs locally and internationally, as well as many children's theatre programs.

Pumpkin Regatta

The world's very first pumpkin regatta was held in Windsor in 1999 where people carve out the giant pumpkins and race across lake Pisiquid. [19] This weird regatta now includes a motorized class where a motor is attached to the pumpkin with a flotation device. [19]

Notable residents

Municipal government

The town operates under a Council/Manager system of local government consisting of current elected Mayor Anna Allen, current Deputy Mayor Laurie Murley, three elected Councillors, Dave Sealey, Liz Galbraith, and John Bergante and a Chief Administrative Officer, Louis Coutinho.


See also

Related Research Articles

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Ezra Churchill : Nineteenth-century industrialist, investing in shipbuilding, land, timber for domestic and foreign markets, gypsum quarries, insurance companies, hotels, etc. As a politician he held positions in the Nova Scotia legislature and was appointed a Canadian Senator for the Province of Nova Scotia. Churchill was also a Baptist lay preacher.

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Fort Edward (Nova Scotia)

Fort Edward is a National Historic Site of Canada in Windsor, Nova Scotia, and was built during Father Le Loutre's War (1749-1755). The British built the fort to help prevent the Acadian Exodus from the region. The Fort is most famous for the role it played both in the Expulsion of the Acadians (1755) and in protecting Halifax, Nova Scotia from a land assault in the American Revolution. While much of Fort Edward has been destroyed, including the officers quarters and barracks, the blockhouse that remains is the oldest extant in North America. A cairn was later added to the site.

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Pisiguit is the pre-expulsion-period Acadian region located along the banks of the Pisiquit River from its confluence with the Minas Basin of Acadia, which is now Nova Scotia, including the St. Croix River drainage area. Settlement in the region commenced simultaneous to the establishment of Grand-Pré. Many villages spread rapidly eastward along the river banks. These settlements became known as Pisiguit or. The name is from the Mi'kmaq Pesaquid, meaning "Junction of Waters". In 1714, there were 351 people there.

Siege of Grand Pré

The Siege of Grand-Pré happened during Father Le Loutre's War and was fought between the British and the Wabanaki Confederacy and Acadian militia. The siege happened at Fort Vieux Logis, Grand-Pré. The native and Acadia militia laid siege to Fort Vieux Logis for a week in November 1749. One historian states that the intent of the siege was to help facilitate the Acadian Exodus from the region.

Father Le Loutres War colonial war between Britain and France

Father Le Loutre's War (1749–1755), also known as the Indian War, the Micmac War and the Anglo-Micmac War, took place between King George's War and the French and Indian War in Acadia and Nova Scotia. On one side of the conflict, the British and New England colonists were led by British Officer Charles Lawrence and New England Ranger John Gorham. On the other side, Father Jean-Louis Le Loutre led the Mi'kmaq and the Acadia militia in guerrilla warfare against settlers and British forces.

Outline of Nova Scotia Overview of and topical guide to Nova Scotia

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Nova Scotia:


  1. 1 2 3 "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Nova Scotia)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  2. Boston News-Letter No. 16, Mon. July 31 – Mon. Aug. 7, 1704, p. 2
  3. Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008; Thomas Beamish Akins. History of Halifax, Brookhouse Press. 1895. (2002 edition). p 7
  4. Wicken, p. 181; Griffith, p. 390; Also see Archived 2013-05-14 at the Wayback Machine
  5. 1 2 John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Oklahoma University Press.
  6. See Stephan Bujold (2004). L'Acadie vers 1550: Essai de chronologie des paroisses acadiennes du bassin des Mines (Minas Basin, NS) avant le Grand derangement. SCHEC Etudes d'histoire religieuse, 70 (2004), 59-79.
  7. Smith, Joshua (2007). Borderland Smuggling: Patriots, Loyalists, and Illicit Trade in the Northeast, 1780-1820. Gainesville, FL: UPF. pp. passim. ISBN   0-8130-2986-4.
  8. "Windsor, N.S. and Cooperstown, N.Y. are Twin Towns". City of Windsor, Nova Scotia. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-08-02.
  9. 1 2 "August 1935". Canadian Climate Data. Environment Canada . Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  10. 1 2 "Windsor". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010 (in English and French). Environment Canada. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  11. "Windsor Kings College". Canadian Climate Data. Environment Canada . Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  12. Census 1881-1901
  13. , Censuses 1871-1931
  14. , Census 1941-1951
  15. Census 1956-1961
  16. , Census 1961
  17. Archived 2013-10-05 at the Wayback Machine , Censuses 1981-2001
  18. "I:\ecstats\Agency\BRIAN\census2" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
  19. 1 2 3 4 "Visitors - Town of Windsor, N.S." Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  20. birthplace of hockey
  21. (June 21, 2018) "Former Avon River Rats adopt new name, draw on Windsor's history" Hants Journal. Windsor, NS
  22. Demont, John; Lambie, Chris (November 14, 2011). "Windsor-area gypsum mine closes". The Chronicle-Herald . Halifax.
  23. Thompson, Ashley (August 23, 2014). "Gypsum sale linked to activity at closed Hantsport plant". Hants Journal. Windsor, NS.

Further reading