Nova Scotia Archives

'Canada's Ocean Playground'

The Tourism Industry in Nova Scotia, 1870-1970

Travel Literature

Travel books have always been popular, and a long tradition exists of authors describing their adventures in Nova Scotia, right back to the earliest European visitors. Campbell Hardy's Sporting Adventures in the New World (1855), Charles Dudley Warner's Baddeck, and that sort of Thing (1874) and Albert Bigelow Paine's The Tent Dwellers (1908) are typical, and in their time helped to create interest in the province and its potential as a vacation destination.

Travel for personal interest and recreation became do-able and affordable for the general public in the late 1800s; new kinds of travel literature appeared to attract this market. For example, guidebooks like Osgood's Maritime Provinces (first published in 1875) provided information about where to stay, what to do, and what to expect when visiting Nova Scotia.

Railway and steamship timetables expanded into marketing brochures, and then into full-size glossy booklets promoting the province's natural beauty, history, hospitality, healthy climate, modern amenities and attractions. Hotels, businesses and trade associations followed with promotional material designed to keep visitors in a specific area of the province over several days, with a variety of things to do.

By the 1920s tourism had grown into a service industry with potential to significantly benefit the economy. Based on decentralized small-business development, it was perfectly adapted to the skills, resources and aspirations of small-scale entrepreneurs. As regional and local tourist associations were formed across Nova Scotia, they looked to the provincial government for support through leadership, central planning and coordination. Accordingly, the role of government from that time forward has been to promote the industry by helping to build its infrastructure. (See 'Government Gets Involved in Tourism, 1923-1970' for more detail.)

The most visible legacy of this has been government's aggressive print-marketing program, dating from 1926. Nova Scotia / Canada's Playground appeared that year — early 'branding' was evident in the use of W.R. MacAskill's marine photography — and in 1931 it was joined by the Nova Scotia Official Tour Book. The two publications were soon integrated and are the antecedents of today's annual Doers' and Dreamers' Travel Guide. Companion literature promoting hunting, fresh and salt-water angling, camping and other outdoor activities soon followed, with the addition in the 1960s of material advertising annual festivals and events.

Scroll through the following exhibit to explore the wealth of promotional literature produced about Nova Scotia from the 1850s to the 1970s. Most items have been digitized in their entirety — click on the cover to open the booklet or guide and then examine the visual detail and tourist information inside. Covers for almost every Nova Scotia Tour Book published up to 1971 are also included, so you can explore how visual presentation ('branding') has changed over the years. Lastly — if you're still looking for more! — single images for many other tourist pamphlets and travel timetables can be found scattered elsewhere throughout this Website.

Results 1 to 15 of 88 from your search: Travel Literature



Baddeck, and that Sort of Thing

Date: 1874

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: CIHM no. 50780


Osgood's Maritime Provinces: A Handbook for Travellers

Date: 1875

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F128 SW3


Illustrated Guide: The Land of Evangeline

Date: 1894

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 3


Beautiful Nova Scotia

Date: 1894

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 4


Beautiful Nova Scotia

Date: 1895

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 4


Beautiful Nova Scotia

Date: 1897

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 4


Beautiful Nova Scotia

Date: 1898

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 4


Beautiful Nova Scotia 1899

Date: 1899

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 4


A Tripod Trip along the South Shore of Nova Scotia

Date: 1899

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 35


Nova Scotia by Canadian Pacific

Date: n.d.

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F91 N85 G94 no. 1


''Summer Time-Table, 1900. The Yarmouth Line''

Date: 1900

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives RG 28


Evangeline Land

Date: n.d.

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: V/F vol. 365 no. 18


Hackmatack Inn, Chester, Nova Scotia

Date: ca. 1905

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library: V/F vol. 5 no. 14


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Nova Scotia Archives — https://archives.novascotia.ca/tourism/results/

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