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Birthplace of Ice Hockey
Windsor,  Nova  Scotia, Canada – c. 1800
by Garth Vaughan © 2001
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Origin   Evolution   Hockeyists   Windsor

Nova Scotia


A Brief History
1. French / English
2. The Loyalists
3. King’s College
4. Center of Culture
5. The Railway
6. T.C. Haliburton

7. Windsor Today

For more history
see Birthplace


A Brief History of Windsor, Nova Scotia

4b. Windsor – Thomas Chandler Haliburton

Windsor.- This place is distant from Halifax forty-five miles, the road to which, by many late alterations, is level and in an excellent state of repair.- After passing the boundary of Halifax County, the appearance of the land indicates a decided change in it’s quality. The somber spruce and fir, and the dwarf birch that clothe the Country for twenty miles from the Capital, are succeeded by a growth of beech mingled with hemlock, elm and maple; and the surface of the ground is no longer encumbered with heavy masses of stone, From the Ardoise hills, the whole of this township is displayed to view, and on a nearer approach it loses nothing of it’s charm impressed upon it by this distant prospect. The ancient name of Windsor was Pisiquid, an Indian word that signifies the junction of two rivers. It was held in great estimation by the French, on account of it’s extensive and fertile meadows, which they enclosed with dykes, and brought into a high state of cultivation. The crops of wheat which they raised were so superabundant, that for many years previous to the was of 1756, they exported a great quantity to the Boston market. Although immediately occupied by the English after the removal of these unfortunate people, it underwent no material changes until the last twenty years. The most valuable lands were granted to gentlemen residing at Halifax; among whom were many of his Majesty’s Council. That portion of it which fell into the hands of resident proprietors, was divided among a few individuals – and thus introduced the system of tenancy, which in Nova-Scotia neither contributes to the improvement of the soil, nor the profit of the landlord. Under these circumstances, the appearance of the place remained stationary for many years, until in the progress of time the transfer of property and the increase of population gradually worked a change in this defective system. Almost all the upland in this township, lying between the south mountain, and the rivers Avon and St. Croix, consists of a strong productive soil, but the mountain land is cold and poor, adding indeed much richness to the scenery, but little value of its resources. It is covered chiefly with poplar, spruce, white maple, and juniper; and as its sides are in many places steep and abrupt, this diversified hanging wood, gives a peculiar beauty to the landscape. The dyke lands, of which there are 2544 acres, are decidedly the best in Nova Scotia, the deepest, richest, and most productive.– With some few interruptions, occasioned by projecting high lands, they skirt the St. Croix for nine miles, and the Avon the same distance, varying in width according to the windings of the river, and the formation of the upland. The peculiar situation of this place, surrounded by a range of mountainous land, and protected from the beak winds, and chilly fogs, experienced on the sea coast, is peculiarly favorable for raising tender fruits. Peaches, though subject from the early blossoms they put forth to be injured by frosts, have been known to ripen without artificial aid, or even common shelter; and grapes, pears, quinces and a great variety of summer and autumn plums arrived at perfection, in all ordinary seasons. The embouchure of the Avon receives the water of the Kennetcook, St. Croix and Cockmagon rivers, and conducts them into the Basin of Minas. The rise and fall of the river at Windsor, is about twenty feet at neap and thirty at spring tides. The whole of the salt water flows and re-flows , and the bed of the river at times is totally exposed. The two channels, by dividing the fresh water supplied by the lakes, from two small streams resembling brooks, and are constantly forded by carriages, and often by foot passengers. As a ford, it is unpleasant and inconvenient; and to those unacquainted with the tides unsafe. This extraordinary ebb of the rivers, emptying into the Bay of Fundy, facilitates the drainage of the dyked marshes. These lands are encircled by a small embankment of earth, and the creeks are closed by aboiteaux constructed with sluices. The drains are conducted to creeks, and the water when collected in these reservoirs escapes through the sluices, the gates of which are closed by the rising of the river, and exclude the entrance of the tide. But although it is attended with this convenience, and the change of air produced by these rapid currents, is conducive to health, and renders the climate salubrious, the red slimy banks, and the long sand-bars of the bed of the river, make this vast chasm when emptied of its contents a disagreeable object. To remedy the inconvenience of the ford an act of the Legislature was passed a few years since, authorizing the building of a bridge over the Avon, at the town of Windsor; and making provision for raising the requisite funds, by the establishment of a lottery. The first class was drawn, and the proceeds appropriated to the erection of an Abutment; but difficulties having occurred in the further progress of the lottery, the design was abandoned, and the work still remains in an unfinished state. (The bridge was finally completed in 1836) A vein of limestone crosses the bed of the river, at the site selected for the bridge, and presents a good foundation for the piers. The extreme breadth of the Avon at this place, is about 1050 feet. Six miles further towards its source, where the great western post road intersects it, there is a good substantial wooden bridge. This river takes its rise in the extensive lakes that lie between Chester and Windsor; but though spacious and navigable as far as the bridge just mentioned, it would be nothing more than a large brook, were it not for the augmentation it receives, from the flow of the tide from the Basin of Minas. The whole of the neighbourhood of Windsor is extemely beautiful. The luxuriance of the meadows, the frequent changes of scenery, the chain of high hills on the south and west, clothed in wood of variegated foliage, and the white sails of vessels passing rapidly through the serpentine windings of the Avon and the St. Croix, are some of the leading features of this landscape. Windsor is the shire town* of Hants County. It contains, (beside a number of respectable private houses) an University, an Academy, an Episcopal Church, A Roman Catholic Chapel, a Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist meeting-house; a Court House and County Jail…

…There is a small Military post at Windsor, called Fort Edward, in honor of his Royal Highness the late Duke of Kent, which is much out of repair, and now scarcely tenantable. It is pleasantly and advantageously situated on elevated land, that commands the entrance of both rivers. The ground originally reserved for military purposes in the neighbourhood of this fort, was granted during the administration of Lord William Campbell, in the year 1767, to his Lordship’s groom, and was afterwards purchased for a valuable consideration by the government. The fortifications it is said are to be repaired, and a new commodious Barracks erected. At present a subaltern and small detachment are stationed there.-Between this place and Parrsborough there are two Packets***, and three constantly ply between it and St. John, New Brunswick. To Halifax and Annapolis a Stage Coach runs three times a week, The chief trade of Windsor consists of the exportation of Plaister of Paris or Gypsum, to St, John and St. Andrew’s, in New Brunswick; from whence it is transported to the United States, and applied to agricultural purposes, This fossil is found in the western part of Nova-Scotia, but commencing in Falmouth, occurs in various places in the midland and eastern sections, and also in the Island of Cape Breton. In the County of Hants, and particularly in Windsor and Newport, it exists in greatest profusion. It protrudes itself in Windsor in many places above the surface; on the north side of the St. Croix it rises into a high mural precipice for several miles, and in Newport it forms one continued ridge through the centre of that extensive peninsula, enclosed by the St. Croix and Kenetcook. In all these places it is accompanied and often intermingled with lime-stone, to which it bears a strong affinity, to one being a sulphate and the other a carbonate of lime, The ground where it occurs is generally much broken, and abounds with deep circular cavities, known by the Miners, under the name of "kettle holes," in which the bones of animals and the skeletons of Indians have sometimes been found, who had falled into these caverns, and were unable to extricate themselves from their prison.
(***packet – a passenger boat usually carrying mail and cargo)
This fossil is by no means a solid body, and is seldom found in any great extent in a compact form, or unbroken strata of pure gypsum. Large veins of loam are scattered through the rocks, and a red and blue clay, with layers of lime. It is quarried by the aid of gunpowder, and broken into suitable sizes for exportation, by a pick-axe. As it enters so largely into the composition of the soil, its inulility**** as a manure, in Nova-Scotia, has been assumed by practical farmers, although no regular experiments have ever been instituted to ascertain its effects. In the United States its value has long been known; and nearly one hundred thousand tons have been annually exported from different parts of the Province to that country.
The manner in which it operates on vegetation remains enveloped in mystery, By some its efficacy is attributed to its power of accelerating purification; and by others, to its absorbing moisture and imparting it to the soil; while many ascribe it to the valuable nutriment it affords to plants. Perhaps its extraordinary powers may be justly inferred, from a union of these several known peculiarities, than to the agency of any one in particular. Besides gypsum and limestone, this township contains freestone; and indications of coal have been discovered near the south mountain.

(****inutile – useful)

Taken From –
An Historical and Statistical account of Nova-Scotia
In two volumes. Illustrated by a map of the province, and several engravings.
By Thomas C. Haliburton, Esq.
Barrister at Law and Member of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia
(originally) Printed and Published by Joseph Howe, Halifax 1829
Edition consulted – Candiana Reprint Series No. 51
Mika Publishing Belleville, Ontario 1973
Volume 2, Pg 100 – 110, Section III.
Middle Division.
This Division contains three Counties,- Hant’s County, Lunenburg County, and Queen’s County
– The County of Hants


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