andrew burke





Nova Scotia and Auld Scotland

Posted on: 2010-08-25

New York doesn't have much in common with York, the city in England. New South Wales isn't very much like Wales, even the southern part. However, I kept finding strange parallels between Nova Scotia and 'old' Scotland.

First off, as we took a bus through downtown Glasgow, I couldn't help noticing how much it looked like downtown Halifax - there was much more of it, certainly, but the hills are about the same size, and the buildings seem to be of the same 19th-century vintage. Compare these two pictures (sorry about the terrible quality of the Glasgow shot - the flash went off by accident in the bus, but it was too much of a likeness to not show):

Hilly street in Glasgow, ScotlandSackville and Granville Streets, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Street in Glasgow, ScotlandSackville and Granville Streets in Halifax, Canada

They don't just look similar. It turns out that Edinburgh Castle used to be legally the same as Nova Scotia. According to Wikipedia:

To promote the settlement and plantation of Nova Scotia, the Baronetage of Nova Scotia was created in 1624. Under Scots Law, baronets had to take sasine by symbolically receiving the earth and stone of the land of which they were baronet. To make this possible, since Nova Scotia was far distant, the King declared that sasine could be taken either in Nova Scotia or, alternatively, "at the castle of Edinburgh as the most eminent and principal place of Scotland."
But it turns out to be deeper than that: In an odd coincidence of social and geological history, it turns out that eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton actually used to be part of Scotland, migrating across to North America through continental drift many millions of years ago.

So Nova Scotia is connected to Old Scotia culturally, historically, and even geologically. The beers in both places are also excellent, by the way.

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