Windsor, Nova Scotia

Last updated

Windsor NS seal.jpg
Windsor ns coat of arms.jpg
Birthplace of Hockey
"E Terra Abundantia"  (Latin)
"From the Land, Abundance"
Canada Nova Scotia location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Nova Scotia
Coordinates: 44°58′49″N64°7′45″W / 44.98028°N 64.12917°W / 44.98028; -64.12917
Province Nova Scotia
Municipality West Hants Regional Municipality
IncorporatedApril 4, 1878
AmalgamatedApril 1, 2020
  MLA Melissa Sheehy-Richard (PC)
  MP Kody Blois (L)
 (2016) [1]
  Community9.11 km2 (3.52 sq mi)
10.50 km2 (4.05 sq mi)
Highest elevation
32 m (105 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 (2016) [1]
  Density400.6/km2 (1,038/sq mi)
  Urban density500/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-4 (AST)
Postal code
B0N 2T0
Area code 902
Telephone Exchanges 306 321 472 790 791 792 798 799
Median Earnings*$24,502
NTS Map 21A16 Windsor
*Median household income, 2000 ($) (all households)

Windsor is a community 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 community 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.

On April 1, 2020, the Town of Windsor amalgamated with the District of West Hants to become the West Hants Regional Municipality. [2]


Having migrated from Port Royal, Nova Scotia, the Acadians were the first Europeans 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. [3]

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. [4] By unilaterally establishing Halifax the British were violating earlier treaties with the Mi'kmaq (1726), which were signed after Dummer's War. [5] 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). [6]

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.) [6] 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 on board 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 on board 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. [7]

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. [8]


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

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.

Railway bridge over the Avon River,1897 Land of Evangeline, Dominion Atlantic Railway (1897) (14586291188).jpg
Railway bridge over the Avon River,1897

Windsor was victim to a disastrous fire on October 17, 1897 which destroyed about eighty percent of the downtown and displaced about 2,500 people. [9] Rebuilding took several years.

In 1901 the Midland Railway was built across Hants County, connecting Windsor with Truro. 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.

Windsor was affected by another major fire on 6 January 1924, which destroyed part of the town.

The Windsor and Hantsport Railway took over operations from the Dominion Atlantic in 1993, making Windsor its headquarters. Rail service continued until 2011 when a crash in the gypsum market ended gypsum shipments and the railway was mothballed. [10]

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'.


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. [11] The coldest temperature ever recorded was −32.5 °C (−26.5 °F) on 7 February 1993. [12]

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 [11] [12] [13]


Historical population
[14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]

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

Arts and culture

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. [21] This weird regatta now includes a motorized class where a motor is attached to the pumpkin with a flotation device. [21]

Windsor is the location of 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.[ citation needed ]


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. [21] The first fair was held in Windsor in the year 1765 making their 250th anniversary in 2015. [21]


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. [22] 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. [23] However, the newly named team lasted just one season before relocating to Chester, Nova Scotia as the Castaways.


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.

Notable people

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. [24]

See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fort Vieux Logis</span>

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Outline of Nova Scotia</span> Overview of and topical guide to Nova Scotia

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  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. "How council landed on the new name West Hants Regional Municipality | SaltWire".
  3. Boston News-Letter No. 16, Mon. July 31 – Mon. Aug. 7, 1704, p. 2
  4. 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
  5. Wicken, p. 181; Griffith, p. 390; Also see Archived 2013-05-14 at the Wayback Machine
  6. 1 2 John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Oklahoma University Press.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Morris-Underhill, Carol (12 October 2022). "Windsor, N.S., 'rose from the ashes' — remembering the Great Windsor Fire as 125th anniversary approaches". Chronicle Herald. Saltwire Network. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  10. "windsor", Dominion Atlantic Railway Digital Preservation Initiative
  11. 1 2 "August 1935". Canadian Climate Data. Environment Canada . Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  12. 1 2 "Windsor". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010 (in English and French). Environment Canada. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  13. "Windsor Kings College". Canadian Climate Data. Environment Canada . Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  14. Census 1881-1901
  15. , Censuses 1871-1931
  16. , Census 1941-1951
  17. Census 1956-1961
  18. , Census 1961
  19. Archived 2013-10-05 at the Wayback Machine , Censuses 1981-2001
  20. "I:\ecstats\Agency\BRIAN\census2" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
  21. 1 2 3 4 "Visitors - Town of Windsor, N.S." Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  22. birthplace of hockey
  23. (June 21, 2018) "Former Avon River Rats adopt new name, draw on Windsor's history" Hants Journal. Windsor, NS
  24. "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.

Further reading