Amherst is a town in northwestern Nova Scotia, Canada located at the northeast end of the Cumberland Basin, an arm of the Bay of Fundy, and 22 km (14 mi) south of the Northumberland Strait. Take a look below for 28 fun and fascinating facts about Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada.
1. The town sits on a height of land at the eastern boundary of the Isthmus of Chignecto and Tantramar Marshes, 3 km (1.9 mi) east of the interprovincial border with New Brunswick and 65 kilometres (40 mi) southeast of the city of Moncton.
2. It is 60 km (37 mi) southwest of the New Brunswick abutment of the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island at Cape Jourimain.
3. Amherst is the first town in Nova Scotia, the shire town of Cumberland County, and the largest population centre in the region.
4. According to Dr. Graham P. Hennessey, “The Micmac name was Nemcheboogwek meaning ‘going up rising ground’, in reference to the higher land to the east of the Tantramar Marshes.
5. The Acadians who settled here as early as 1672 called the village Les Planches.
6. The village was later renamed Amherst by Colonel Joseph Morse in honour of Lord Amherst, the commander-in-chief of the British Army in North America during the Seven Years’ War.”
7. The town was first settled in 1764 by immigrants from Yorkshire following the expulsion of the Acadians, with the original settlement being located 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) southwest of the present town on the shore of the Bay of Fundy.
8. These settlers were joined by United Empire Loyalists (Loyalists who fled the American colonies during the American Revolution).
9. A mill was built on the current townsite, and the residents moved there to be closer to work.
10. During the 19th century, Amherst became an important regional centre for shipbuilding and other services to outlying communities.
11. An indication of the town’s importance in Canadian history is seen with its four Fathers of Confederation: Edward B. Chandler, Robert B. Dickey, Jonathan McCully, and Sir Charles Tupper.
12. During the late 19th century, local industrialists and entrepreneurs constructed many fine Victorian and Edwardian homes along Victoria Street East, leading toward the farming hamlet of East Amherst.
13. Many notable residents have lived in this district, including Tupper, Senator Thomas R. Black, the Barker Family, the Lamy Family, the Pugsley Family and Mary (Molly) Simmons Critchley.
14. Amherst gained brief notoriety in the late 19th century as the location of alleged poltergeist phenomena afflicting Amherst resident Esther Cox in 1878 and 1879, which became known as the Great Amherst Mystery after the publication of a popular book on the affair.
15. Amherst experienced unprecedented industrialization in the late 1870s after the Intercolonial Railway of Canada constructed its main line from Halifax to Quebec through the town in 1872.
16. The location of the railway line away from the Bay of Fundy coast further consolidated the town at its present location as industry and commercial activity centred around this important transportation link.
17. The economic boom created by the arrival of the Intercolonial Railway lasted through World War I and numerous foundries, factories and mills opened, giving rise to the nickname “Busy Amherst”.
18. In 1908, the manufacturing output of Amherst’s industries was not exceeded by any centre in the Maritime Provinces.
19. Many of the fine old buildings along Victoria Street are considered industrial artifacts because they were constructed during a period of tremendous industry growth. Local contractors employed local craftsmen, who used local materials. Notice the emphasis on sandstone and brick, both locally produced and delightful detail which reflects the skilled craftsmanship prevalent in the 19th century.
20. During the Amherst general strike in 1919, worker unrest over social and economic conditions led to mass protests in sympathy with the Winnipeg general strike.
21. During the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy named a Flower-class corvette HMCS Amherst.
22. The town is currently served by Via Rail’s Halifax-to-Montreal train Ocean.
23. Amherst is the retail centre for the Cumberland region and the southeastern part of Westmorland County (New Brunswick). The town has several national retailers including Walmart, Sobeys, Atlantic Superstore, Canadian Tire, Kent Building Supplies, Giant Tiger and Dollarama in addition to fast food restaurants and auto dealerships.
24. The Amherst Centre Mall is home to retailers Coles, Northern Reflections, Marks Work Wearhouse, Eclipse, and Charm Diamond Centres, as well as the Amherst Artisan Gallery.
25. The heritage downtown draws visitors to speciality retailers Deanne Fitzpatrick Studio, Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium, and Birkinshaw’s Tea Room. Dayle’s Grand Market houses several businesses in a historic department store with a grand staircase and tin ceilings. Shops include an antique coin dealer, a vintage clothing shop, a ladies clothing and shoe store, and a collaboration of more than 100 local artisans.
26. Amherst is home of the Amherst Ramblers, a Junior A Hockey League team from the Maritime Hockey League. All home games are played out of the 2,500 seat Amherst Stadium. The season usually runs from mid-September to early March every year.
27. The Ramblers draw some of the largest crowds in the Maritime Hockey League, and have placed third in average attendance over the past few years. They won the Centennial Cup in 1993.
28. Every August, Amherst hosts an eight-team little league baseball tournament, featuring four teams from New England.