Nova Scotia (NS) - Facts, Flags and Symbols



Population (2010 estimate): [i]


Motto on Licence Plate:

Canada’s Ocean Playground

Flag: [ii]

Royal Warrant of King George V, January 19, 1929, assigning arms and banner
Not known when flag was first raised

Flag of Nova Scotia

Arms: [iii]

Royal Warrant of King George V, January 19, 1929, restoring the arms granted by King Charles I in 1625
Gazetted, November 30, 1929

Coat of Arms for Nova Scotia

Date Entered Confederation: [iv]

Nova Scotia entered Confederation under the British North America Act in March 1867. While there were celebrations around the province, in Yarmouth buildings were draped in black crepe in protest. Some people welcomed the union, while others were resentful at being forced into it. The newspaper coverage of the time reflected these varying opinions.



Nova Scotia adopted the trailing arbutus or mayflower (Epigaea repens L) as its official flower in 1901, when an Act of the provincial legislature stated that it “is hereby declared to be and from time immemorial to have been the emblem of Nova Scotia.” As far back as 1825, it was used as a decorative motif on the front page of the Nova Scotian. During the 19th century, it appeared on the buttons of the Nova Scotia militia; it also appeared on postage stamps along with the rose, the thistle and the shamrock.

Picture of mayflower



Nova Scotia adopted the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) as its official bird by an Act of the House of Assembly in 1994. This bird of prey is larger than a hawk and smaller than an eagle. Its main source of food is fish, and it can often be seen flying over oceans, rivers and lakes. Ospreys migrate south in the winter. Older birds return north to mate, while younger birds stay south until they mature.

Picture of osprey


Red Spruce

Nova Scotia adopted the red spruce (Picea rubens) as its official tree by an Act of the House of Assembly in 1988. The tree is able to survive in virtually any terrain and condition, and was chosen to represent the strength and resilience of Nova Scotians.

Picture of red spruce tree


  1. [i] Statistics Canada - Quarterly demographic estimates, 2010
    [back to note i]
  2. [ii] Canadian Heritage - Canadian Anthems and Symbols
    [back to note ii]
  3. [iii] Canadian Heritage - Canadian Anthems and Symbols
    [back to note iii]
  4. [iv] Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Confederation
    [back to note iv]
Outline map of Nova Scotia


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