New Glasgow is divided by the East River (north - south), a tidal estuary with brackish (salt and fresh) water.
Scottish immigrants, including those on the ship Hector in 1773, settled the area of the East River of Pictou during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Deacon Thomas Fraser first settled the area at the head of navigation on the East River of Pictou in 1784. The settlement was named "New Glasgow", after Glasgow in Scotland, in 1809, the same year its first trading post was developed.
The discovery of large coal deposits in the East River valley during the early 19th century resulted in New Glasgow, at the head of navigation, quickly developing into a manufacturing and port community.
In 1867, the Nova Scotia Railway opened its Eastern Line from Truro through New Glasgow to its terminus at the passenger and cargo wharf in Pictou Landing. In 1882 the Eastern Extension of the Intercolonial Railway was opened from New Glasgow to Mulgrave on the Strait of Canso, placing New Glasgow on the mainline between Cape Breton Island and the North American rail network.
Economic development in New Glasgow was driven by the steel industry in neighbouring Trenton (site of the first steel manufacturing in Canada), shipbuilding and shipping in Pictou and Pictou Landing, and coal mining in Stellarton and Westville.
In 1946, New Glasgow was the setting for an important civil rights case when Viola Desmond challenged racial segregation of New Glasgow's Roseland Theatre. In 2019, Desmond was featured on Canada's $10 bill.
New Glasgow became a service centre for the county during the late 20th century as shopping centres, retail and residential development was spurred by the construction of Highway 104.
Rainy and snowy cold winters and warm humid summers.
New Glasgow is on Nova Scotia's north shore, 165 km (103 mi) northeast of Halifax, 110 km (68 mi) west of the Canso Causeway to Cape Breton and 20 km (12 mi) south of the Prince Edward Island ferry at Caribou. The town can be easily accessed from several exits off the Trans-Canada Highway 104. It is in the Atlantic Time Zone, four hours behind UTC.
- Maritime Bus (stops at the Circle K/Irving at 5197 East River Road), toll-free: . Two buses a day from Truro (50 min, $14.25) and one bus a day (two on F Su) from (4-4½ hr, $53.25) Sydney.
There are no commercial flights to New Glasgow. Trenton Airport, just north of New Glasgow, receives private and corporate flights. New Glasgow is a 1½-hour drive from Halifax International Airport (YHZ IATA).
The town is very pedestrian friendly, and all shops and services are within walking distance. Nearby towns such as Stellarton and Trenton can be reached by foot as well. Westville, being further away, is best recommended to get to by calling a cab or renting a vehicle.
- Greenhill look-off in nearby Alma makes for a great bird’s eye view of the local countryside farms, it is also home to the local "Lovers Lane".
- 1 Roseland Theatre, 188 Provost St. No longer a theatre, this building is still of interest to those who enjoy historical tourism focused on the history of justice. The building's exterior still looks much like it did when Viola Desmond's arrest here in 1946 touched off the Civil Rights movement in Canada. The Roseland Cabaret nightclub operates in the former theatre.
- Carmichael Stewart House Heritage Museum, 86 Temperance St, ☏ . M-F 9AM–4:30 PM. A museum about the history of Pictou County in the historic home of J.W. Carmichael, a prominent New Glasgow shipbuilder. Built in 1880, this example of Victorian architecture has stained glass windows, a grand staircase, Trenton glassware, a Penny Farthing, Scottish regalia and historical photographs. The historic garden is populated with plants present in Nova Scotia prior to 1900.
- The Crombie, 1780 Granton Abercrombie Road. Works by important Canadian artists including the Group of Seven (Tom Thompson) and Cornelius Krieghoff. The grounds and collection are open to the public every Wednesday during July, August and September, or by appointment throughout the year. Guided tours are provided at 10AM, 2PM and 4PM. Free.
- Pictou County Military Heritage Museum, 2020 Queen St, Westville. Jul-Aug M-F 10AM-4PM. A collection of over 12,000 objects, from regimental buttons, hat badges and uniforms to ship hat tallies and weapons, including a C1 Howitzer.
- Pictou County Sport Heritage Hall of Fame, 340 E River Rd, ☏ . Tu-Th 10AM-3PM.
- Glasgow Square Theatre, 155 Glasgow Street (on the downtown riverfront), ☏ . +1-800-486-1377. A 285-seat auditorium that hosts year-round concerts, plays, and other community functions. The theatre can be transformed into an outdoor amphitheatre, one of the few theatres in Canada (if not the only) that can do that. During the summer it hosts celebrations for Canada Day on June 30, the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee during the first weekend in August, and the Race on the River Dragon Boat Festival in mid-August.
- The Sampson Trail is a popular walking trail that crosses the East River. Follow it along the water starting at the local marina and connecting the nearby town of Stellarton.
- Beaches: It is within 10 minutes of the ocean. Melmerby Beach or Big Island Beach are great spots for all four seasons. The beaches are sandy and water temperate, making for a great day out in summer. In winter it’s great to see the ice and snow piled up along the beach as the ocean stretches out to the horizon.
- Drive around the 'circle'. From George Street Bridge, drive along Provost Street to the East River Road. These leads to Foord Street (the main street of Stellarton) via Blue Acres. Turn left onto Foord Street, and drive to Acadia Street turning right. Follow Acadia Street into Westville. At the end of this road, turn right onto South Main Street of Westville. Drive along this road for some time until you encounter a right turn onto George Street in New Glasgow again.
- With all the nearby rivers and lakes, and the Atlantic Ocean, fishing or kayaking are popular. A local can let you know where you can find the best places, such Melmerby Beach. The downtown marina rents out kayaks in summer.
- New Glasgow Jubilee. First weekend in August. A festival of popular local and national musical acts. Ages 19 and up. One-day pass $30-35, 3-day pass $85.
- The Festival of the Tartans. Mid-July. A five-day celebration of the town's Scottish roots. Kilted golf tournament, massed pipe bands, Highland dancing competitions, Scottish heavy weight events, clan tents & genealogy, pipe band demonstrations and other outdoor entertainment. Antique car show in downtown New Glasgow and the fiddle concert on Friday evening.
- The Race on the River. Last weekend in July. Teams representing local companies and organizations paddling dragon boats along the East River to raise money for local charities.
New Glasgow's historic downtown core is home to several shops and services, including restaurants, pubs, cabarets, clothing stores, gift shops, furniture department stores, a marina on the riverfront, government offices and banks.
The Downtown area is home to some great international cuisine from China, Italy, and Greece, and a vegetarian cafe. On the weekends after 10PM, downtown lights up with local pubs and nightclubs open until 3:30AM.
The downtown area is within walking distance to the local seven-screen movie cinema, Aberdeen Hospital, Giant Tiger, Goodlife Fitness, Sobeys, and all five big banks in Canada.
- Highland Square Mall, 689 Westville Rd (a five-minute drive from downtown). Wal-Mart, Michaels, Canadian Tire, Winners, and a nearby Staples, dollar store, and Swiss Chalet.
- New Glasgow Farmers Market, 261 Glasgow St. Sa 9AM-1PM. In a heated facility, the market has more than 70 vendors and more than 1,800 weekly visitors during the peak season from May until October. Locally grown produce, fresh baked goods to high quality arts and crafts.
Pictou County Pizza is a uniquely-tasting favourite of locals and a keep-sake of many ex-pats. Its pizza sauce is a local family secret guarded closely over the past 25 years. A few well-known local pizzerias continue the tradition as they are part of the family. Such establishments include Sam's Pizza and Andre's Pizza in Stellarton, and Alice's Pizza and Acropole Pizza in New Glasgow. Sam's even sells the pizza sauce in 1L jars for ex-pats to duplicate the taste when outside of the New Glasgow area.
- Hebel's Restaurant, 71 Stellarton Rd, ☏ . Tu-Sa 5PM-. European restaurant with some German specialties. Mains $26-35.
- Cafe Italia, 62 Provost St, ☏ . M-W 8AM-8PM, Th F 8AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-9PM. Pasta, pizza, sandwiches, salads. Outdoor seating; wheelchair accessible. Pasta dishes $13-17, small pizzas $11.50-13.
- Mamatsu Fresh Asian Kitchen, 205 Provost St, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-7PM. Thai, Asian fusion, tea drinks.
- Sailors Galley, 43 Bridge Ave, ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-7PM, F Sa 8AM-8PM. Family restaurant. Breakfasts, seafood, burgers, hot sandwiches. Mains $11-27.
- The Dock Food Spirits & Ales, 130 George St (close to George Street Bridge), ☏ . M-Sa 11:30AM-10PM. Irish pub with food.
- The Thistle Bar, 612 East River Rd (in the Aberdeen Plaza, beside the cinema), ☏ . Sports pub with food, and free shuttle bus service.
- Tara Inn, 917 East River Rd, ☏ , toll-free: . Free continental breakfast and high speed internet.
- Travelodge Suites New Glasgow, 700 Westville Rd (across from Highland Mall), ☏ . Breakfast included, bar/lounge, fitness centre. From $120.
- Comfort Inn - New Glasgow, 740 Westville Rd, toll-free: . Free hot breakfast, pet-friendly hotel, business centre. All guest rooms have coffee makers, microwaves, refrigerators. This hotel is 100% non-smoking. From $117.
In winter, check out Wentworth, a ski hill that’s about a 40-50 minute drive to the west, with beginner to advanced runs.
|Routes through New Glasgow|
|Moncton ← Truro ←||W E||→ Antigonish → North Sydney|
|Charlottetown ← ferry to Wood Islands ← Pictou ←||N S||→ END|
|Jct ← Truro ←||W E||→ Antigonish → Sydney|