For centuries, Nova Scotians have set sail from their ‘sea-bound coast’…in search of fish, and on the winds of trade…answering the silent but persuasive call of the ocean.
Few are the families that have not seen fathers, sons, brothers or uncles go to sea. .. ‘far away on the briny ocean tossed’. And it was this same restless, adventuresome spirit which led the earliest fishermen and settlers to the shores of Nova Scotia.
As early as the fifteenth century, Basque fishermen knew of Cape Breton…a rugged and irregularly-shaped island named for Basque Cap Breton in France.
The French came in the 1600s to build new lives on the ‘sea-bound coast’ of Acadia.
Living in harmony with the Micmacs, they fished and farmed…and introduced the fragrance and beauty of apple orchards to the Annapolis Valley,
The kingdom of Scotland granted the first charter for ‘New Scotland’ in 1621. But it was not until the 1800s that large numbers of Scottish, Welsh and Irish settlers arrived, bringing their proud traditions and values to the glens and highlands of Nova Scotia.
Starting in 1753, German-speaking settlers arrived from the Montbéliard district of France and Switzerland and from southwestern Germany. They settled in the Lunenburg area…and introduced their unique foods and culinary heritage to the new world.
From south of the border came settlers from New England…and (following the American Revolution) the Loyalists, 20,000 strong. Their stout allegiance to the Crown, proud work ethic, and customs still flavour the heritage of Nova Scotia.
Today, the traditions of Nova Scotia are a blending of many different nationalities and cultures…as evidenced by its hearty meals and tasty desserts. Many a homesick sailor, faced with his daily rations, ‘heaved a sigh and a wish’ for a home-cooked meal.
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