The first destination on the find-all-the-places-with-harbour-in-the-name roadtrip is Harbourville: a very cute and traditional Nova Scotian harbour village.

This little town of fewer than 100 people has all of the iconic symbols that make it a photographer’s dream: lobster traps, boats with funny names, a fish market, a wharf that looks like it could actually be used, one old-style picnic table, leaning houses with eclectic fishing paraphernalia used as decoration, and virtually no people whatsoever.

So I meandered and took a lot of photos.

This was originally a New England Planter settlement. The Planters were the descendants of the Puritan Pilgrims who settled in and around the Boston area in the 1600s. In the 1760s, these descendants were offered free land in Nova Scotia by Canada’s Lieutenant Governor as a means of getting Protestants to settle in the area after the expulsion of the Acadians. The Lieutenant Governor, Charles Lawrence, oversaw both the Expulsion of the Acadians and the creation of the Planter settlements.

There were two types of land offered to the Planters: farming and fishing settlements. I’m not sure the type here (you’d assume fishing) but this land was first offered to the Best family and they didn’t settle. Rather, they logged the land and lived elsewhere.

The “first” settlers were the Given and Owens families (1824) who built the pier to aid in the area’s three primary industries: logging, trade, and shipbuilding. The arrival of the railway in the Annapolis Valley effectively killed all three of these and signalled the demise of the town.

Tourism is now the primary industry and while researching the town’s history I got completely sucked into Tripadvisor drama and the bad reviews for one place, in particular, (a place which incorporates all the buildings around the wharf).

Theda Bara used to own 900-acres and a house in Harbourville that she called Baranook. I didn’t realize that this part of the Valley was big enough to hold 900-acres. I wonder whatever happened to that property. Theda’s star is on the corner of Hollywood and Vine (and I happened to walk over it on the day that I wrote this post).


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  1. BTW Charles Lawrence, Governor General of Nova Scotia 1756-1760. NS was a British colony at the time.

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