Kings County, Nova Scotia

Kings County

Nickname(s): Land of Orchards, Vineyards & Tides

Location of Kings County, Nova Scotia
Coordinates: 45°00′N 64°36′W / 45.0°N 64.6°W / 45.0; -64.6Coordinates: 45°00′N 64°36′W / 45.0°N 64.6°W / 45.0; -64.6
Country  Canada
Province  Nova Scotia
Towns Berwick / Kentville / Wolfville
Established August 17, 1759
Incorporated April 17, 1879
Electoral Districts      

Kings—Hants / West Nova
Provincial Kings North / Kings South / Kings West
  Type Kings County Municipal Council
  Mayor-Elect Peter Muttart[1]
  Land 2,122.18 km2 (819.38 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2][3]
  Total 60,589
  Density 28.5/km2 (74/sq mi)
  Change 2001-06 Increase0.9%
  Census Rankings
 - Census Divisions
 Subdivision A
 Subdivision B
 Subdivision C
 Subdivision D
 - Towns
 - Reserves
 Cambridge 32
 Glooscap 35

22,103 (169 of 5,008)
11,990 (307 of 5,008)
8,275 (454 of 5,008)
5,201 (636 of 5,008)

2,454 (1,157 of 5,008)
6,094 (606 of 5,008)
4,269 (853 of 5,008)

144 (4,337 of 5,008)
59 (606 of 5,008)
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
  Summer (DST) ADT (UTC-3)
Area code(s) 902
Dwellings 27,177
Median Income* $44,744 CDN
  • Median household income, 2005 (all households)

Kings County is a county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is in central Nova Scotia on the shore of the Bay of Fundy, with its northeastern part forming the western shore of the Minas Basin.


The first inhabitants of the coast, valley and interior of Kings County were the Mi'kmaq. Archaeological evidence from sites in the area indicate Mi'kmaq habitation dates back thousands of years. The Mi'kmaq were a semi-nomadic people who followed seasonal food sources. Their lives changed with the arrival of the Europeans.

The colonization of "Les Mines" and Grand Pre began in the 1680s when a few families relocated from the French settlement at Port Royal. These "Acadian" settlers were named after the French name for the land "Acadie" meaning "land of plenty". These farmers were accustomed to farming on dyked lands, and did so here as well. This took place on the normally salty but fertile marshes that were found on the banks of the Minas Basin, through the use of dykes and aboiteaux that allowed fresh water to enter but kept out the salt-water tide. The Acadian farmers prospered in Kings County, and lived harmoniously with the Mi'kmaq. The Acadians and Mi'kmaq jointly fought numerous battles against the British in the Raid on Grand Pre, Battle of Grand Pre, and the Siege of Grand Pre.

After defeat and expelling the Acadians, British control of the land was secured by repopulating the former French lands with settlers from New England. Between 1760 and 1768 some 8000 New England Planters arrived in Nova Scotia, the largest number settling in Kings County in three agricultural townships: Horton, Cornwallis, and Aylesford. The Planters revived and expanded the Acadian dykeland agriculture through projects such as the Wellington Dyke and cleared more upland fields, gradually moving west from the initial settlements along the Minas Basin Rivers. The legacy of the New England Planters is still a tangible part of the life in Kings County, and had an important influence on Nova Scotian ideas on democratic government, freedom of religion and equality of education.

Eastern Kings County from the Lookoff

The Planters were followed in the 1780s by further settlers from the United Empire Loyalists and significant numbers of Irish immigrants. The roots of Black Heritage in Kings County began almost 250 years ago when the New England Planters were accompanied by slaves and freed Blacks to settle in Horton and Cornwallis townships. This initial African population increased with larger migrations following the American Revolution and especially the War of 1812. Further waves of immigration followed in the following two centuries, adding to the population and diversity of Kings County.

The county's agricultural industry blossomed in the 19th century, especially after the arrival of the Dominion Atlantic Railway which led to a major expansion of exports, especially the apple industry. After the loss of the British export market for apples in World War II, Kings County farmers diversified into other crops and livestock. Agriculture remains a major industry, as the county has some of the best farmland in Nova Scotia, but farmland now faces pressure from suburban development around valley towns. The county also faces serious pollution problems in its major water artery, the Cornwallis River.

Kings County was a major wooden shipbuilding area in the 19th Century, including a four-masted barque built in Kingsport named Kings County which was one of the largest ever built in Canada. Today a number of light industrial factories are located in Coldbrook and Waterville.

The county's history is preserved and interpreted at the Kings County Museum in Kentville and a number of Kings County towns have museums related to their specific stories such as the Wolfville Historical Society and the Apple Capital Museum in Berwick.


The part of the county in the Annapolis Valley comprises the agricultural heartland of the province and contains over 600 farms; the area produces fruit crops, primarily apples. As with most coastal parts of the Maritimes, Kings County's shoreline was home to a productive shipbuilding industry during the 19th century.

Wolfville houses Acadia University. Cape Blomidon and the North Mountain preside over the Annapolis Valley, whereas the South Mountain and interior forests to the southern part of the county support a variety of lakes and recreational cottaging areas.


Population trend[4][5]

Census Population Change (%)
2011 60,589 Increase0.9%
2006 60,035 Increase2.0%
2001 58,866 Decrease0.6%
1996 59,193 Increase5.1%
1991 56,315 Increase5.7%
1986 53,275 Increase7.1%
1981 49,739 N/A
1941 28,920
1931 24,357
1921 23,723
1911 21,780
1901 21,937
1891 22,489
1881 23,469
1871 21,500 N/A

Mother tongue language (2011)[6]

Language Population Pct (%)
English only 56,685 94.91%
French only 1,220 2.04%
Non-official languages 1,575 2.64%
Multiple responses 240 0.40%

Ethnic Origin (2006)[2]

Origin Population Pct (%)
Canadian 21,155 43.3%
English 17,575 35.9%
Scottish 13,335 27.3%
Irish 10,010 20.5%
German 6,780 13.9%
French 5,790 11.8%
Dutch 3,205 6.6%
North American Indian 1,870 3.8%
Welsh 1,050 2.1%

Notable people


Incorporated communities



Native reserves

Census Subdivisions

See List of communities in Kings County, Nova Scotia.

Access routes

Highways and numbered routes that run through the county, including external routes that start or finish at the county limits:[7]

  • External Routes:
    • None

See also


  2. 1 2 3 2006 Statistics Canada Community Profile: Kings County, Nova Scotia
  3. Population and dwelling counts, for Canada and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2011 and 2006 censuses - 100% data
  4. Censuses 1871-1941
  5. Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census
  6. Statistics Canada: 2011 census
  7. Atlantic Canada Back Road Atlas ISBN 978-1-55368-618-7 Pages 65-66, 78-79
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