New Waterford is a Canadian urban community in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Take a look below for 28 fun and amazing facts about New Waterford, Nova Scotia, Canada.
1. Formerly known as Barrachois (from barachois, meaning small port, lagoon or pond), its present name is likely derived from the Irish seaport Waterford, from which many early settlers came.
2. Coal mining in the vicinity began as early as 1854 at Lingan and later at Low Point in 1865.
3. New Waterford is located northeast of Sydney, Nova Scotia.
4. It is located near the ocean and is bordered on one side by cliffs.
5. New Waterford has a rather flat terrain and has several fresh water lakes located nearby.
6. New Waterford is a fishing port and former coal-mining community that has been in economic decline in recent years.
7. There are ongoing efforts to revitalize the area’s economy including a slow but steady increase in jobs in the technology sector.
8. Many residents had been reliant on the coal and steel industries, which are now closed.
9. The last local mine closed in 2001.
10. Senior citizens make up a disproportionate number of town residents due to a long running unemployment problem and the economic development plans of the government which focused on propping up older declining industries.
11. This had the effect of worsening employment prospects for younger workers resulting in a large migration of these younger workers from New Waterford to other areas of the country where opportunities were available.
12. At 8:30pm every day the local fire department sets off its siren.
13. This has a long history, and continues in tradition to this day. The original intent of the whistle was for curfew.
14. The first inhabitants of the area were the Mi’kmaq whose lifestyle was centred around hunting and fishing.
15. The historical industry in New Waterford has been coal mining. The creation of steam powered machines during the industrial revolution led to a demand for the coal deposits of Cape Breton and northern mainland Nova Scotia.
16. Mining in the area started as early as 1854.
17. The Dominion Coal Company began operating in New Waterford in 1907 drawing in many workers mainly from Irish and Scottish Catholic backgrounds. The name likely comes from the Irish city of Waterford.
18. New Waterford was incorporated as a town in 1913.
19. On July 25, 1917, 65 people were killed in a coal mine explosion at New Waterford’s No. 12 Colliery.
20. Demand for coal peaked during the Second World War after which it competed with oil and has been in sharp decline ever since. As a result the coal industry in New Waterford has declined and many of its residents have moved elsewhere in the country to look for work.
21. On the morning of July 25, 1917, an explosion erupted in the Dominion Company No.12 Colliery in New Waterford. The explosion occurred about 2000 feet below the surface. At the time 270 miners were working inside the mine.
22. The town was the setting for the 1999 comedic coming-of-age film New Waterford Girl.
23. New Waterford Girl is a dark comedy about Moonie Pottie, a gifted teenager, who dreams of life beyond her small town. She becomes inspired when a 15-year-old girl from New York moves in next door. Starring many local actors and mostly Canadian talent, it is set in the mid 1970s. Most of the scenes in the movie were actually filmed in the town of North Sydney.
24. Canadian author Ann-Marie MacDonald set her #1 bestseller “Fall on Your Knees” in New Waterford, set in the early 20th century.
25. The song ‘Auction Days’ by Canadian artist Jon Brooks is set in New Waterford and describes the social collapse caused by the loss of so many men to war and the mines.
26. Coal Dust Days is a week-long community celebration that takes place approximately the third week of July. The Coal Dust Days parade, Plummer Avenue Day, the tavern tour, and fireworks display are some of the many events that take place during the week.
27. Davis Day is a commemoration of the death of a Cape Breton miner, and father of 10, William Davis. He was shot dead by the coal company security force at Waterford Lake during a mining strike on June 11, 1925. Davis was not participating in the protest, which took the form of a march from the company power plant (by Waterford Lake) and ended by the railroad tracks between Daley Road and May Street. He was shot along with two other men, who survived. Davis Day is also known as Miners Memorial Day.
28. New Waterford is the site of the annual Coal Bowl Classic basketball tournament, which brings in teams from all across Canada to compete in a week long event. The tournament, first held in 1982, takes place at Breton Education Centre in early February. In 2009, the Breton Education Centre Bears won the tournament for the first time lifting the “Coal Bowl curse”.