Main Street Parrsboro
Location of Parrsboro
|Municipality||Municipality of the County of Cumberland|
|Incorporated||July 15, 1889|
|Dissolved||November 1, 2016|
|Electoral Districts |
|• Councilor||Norman Rafuse|
|• MLA||Jamie Baillie (PC)|
|• MP||Bill Casey (L)|
|• Total||14.80 km2 (5.71 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||47 m (154 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|• Density||81.4/km2 (211/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-4 (AST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-3 (ADT)|
Before the arrival of European settlers, Parrsboro was a portage point for Mikmaq travellers along the Minas Basin and Cumberland County river systems. The native inhabitants called the region "Awokum," meaning a 'short-cut' or 'passing-over point.'
The first European settlers were the Acadians in 1670 at the western mouth of the Parrsboro Harbour, near Partridge Island. After they were expelled in 1755, they were replaced by New England Planters. The centre of settlement gradually shifted from Partridge Island to the sheltered estuary of the Parrsboro River where a harbour and surrounding mills grew. The settlement, at first named Mill Village, was renamed Parrsboro in honour of Nova Scotia Governor John Parr in 1784, and the town was incorporated on July 15, 1889.
Parrsboro thrived in the mid 19th century as the hub of a string of shipbuilding communities from Economy to Advocate collectively known as the "Parrsboro Shore". The town became a port of registry in 1850 for over 115 locally built schooners as well as giant square riggers, culminating in the largest, the ship Glooscap in 1891. In its peak years of the 1890s, over 1646 ships arrived and departed annually.
The Springhill and Parrsboro Railway began service to the town from the coal mining town of Springhill on July 1, 1877; Parrsboro became a coal shipping port for the Springhill mines, primarily serving Saint John, New Brunswick. Railway service to Parrsboro was abandoned on June 14, 1958, following several years of declining shipments, several months before the 1958 mining disaster.
Throughout the late 19th century and first four decades of the twentieth century, Parrsboro saw daily ferry service across the Minas Basin to the Annapolis Valley ports of Kingsport and Wolfville. The 13th and final vessel in this service, operated by the Dominion Atlantic Railway, was the MV Kipawo, which is now permanently beached at Parrsboro and incorporated into the Ship's Company Theatre performance centre.
A Handley Page V/1500 named Atlantic made a forced landing in Parrsboro July 5, 1919. When the starboard engine failed the pilot, Major Brackley saw the lights of the town during the night and landed. After three months, the aircraft was repaired and departed for Greenport, New York, Parrsboro's sister town. The local Air Cadet Squadron, 689 Handley Page, is named after this event.
On April 10, 1984, Parrsboro resident Eldon George located the world's smallest dinosaur footprints at Wasson Bluff, a series of cliffs to the east of Parrsboro Harbour. The prints are now on display at the Parrsboro Rock and Mineral Shop and Museum, owned by George.
Parrsboro was incorporated as a town on July 15, 1889. On October 5, 2015 the Town Council filed an application for dissolution with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. The NSURB held public hearings in November 2015 and issued a decision on June 15, 2016 granting the application. The Town of Parrsboro was dissolved effective November 1, 2016 and merged into the larger Municipality of the County of Cumberland.
As with much of rural Nova Scotia, the primary industry in Parrsboro is tourism. The community is known for its seasonal theatre productions, fossil and rock hounding attractions, museums, high tides and heritage buildings. The cliffs along the Minas Basin to the east and west of Parrsboro contain fossils of prehistoric animals and plants. Many fossils are on display in local museums.
Of the three museums in Parrsboro, two are dedicated to geological history. The Fundy Geological Museum, located along the eastern shore of Parrsboro Harbour, and the Parrsboro Rock and Mineral Shop and Museum, along the western shore, display many unearthed discoveries and provide information on the history of the region's landscape.
The third museum is the Ottawa House. It was built 1775 but contains evidence of Acadian construction as well as several additions. Located along the western coast of Parrsboro Harbour, near Partridge Island, it occupies the original town site and is near the legendary landing site of Henry Sinclair, 1397, and the factual site of Samuel de Champlain, 1607. It was the summer home of Father of Confederation Sir Charles Tupper, 1860s, and was named in honour of Canada's Capital. A major focus is Parrsboro's shipbuilding history and the museum has many artifacts that date from the Age of Sail.
A three-storey clock tower is a prominent feature of Parrsboro's Main St. The tower is part of a big, red-brick government building that was partially opened in 1913 and completed the following year. The building housed an armoury that conducted military training during both World Wars, a post office, a customs house and a weather station. The federal government sold it to private interests in 1973 when the post office moved to another location. The building stood empty for decades, but was acquired in 2011 by Harvey Lev, a Montreal businessman with interests in heritage real estate. After extensive renovations, Lev and his partner, Judith Bauer, opened a centre called Main & Station in the spring of 2013. It provides spaces for a variety of activities including art exhibits, conferences, workshops, poetry readings and a café.
A cultural and community centre, known locally as The Hall, has been a prominent feature of community life for more than a century. It is located in a former Presbyterian Church at 44 King St. that dates from 1884. The Town of Parrsboro purchased the building in 1942 and used it for school purposes. It served as a school auditorium and music room as well as a space for household and vocational training. The extensively renovated building is now run by the Parrsboro Band Association. It features concert performances by the Parrsboro Citizens' Band, one of the oldest such citizens' bands in Canada. Professional musicians also perform at The Hall and there are frequent community "Open Mic" nights. Films are regularly shown in its movie theatre and it provides space for community meetings, theatre rehearsals and fundraising events.
Although Parrsboro has a flourishing tourism industry and several small businesses, the community - common to many maritime communities faces economic challenges. The decline of wooden shipbuilding in the late 19th century dealt a severe blow to the local economy, along with neighbouring communities such as Port Greville and Shulie. The community also suffered from the depletion of local forests and the closing of the Springhill coal mines which ended coal shipments and railway service. A further blow was felt from highway route changes in the late 1950s as part of the Trans-Canada Highway project; Highway 2 was the primary highway from Truro to Amherst until the upgrading (and new construction) of Highway 4 through the Wentworth Valley to form the present-day expressway Highway 104. These changes contributed to an economic decline in Parrsboro in the latter half of the 20th century after some businesses, such as the O'Regans garage and car dealership, moved to larger population centres.
A number of businesses have remained consistent and sustainable in Parrsboro, owing to the community's central location along the north shore of the Minas Basin. There is a number of small coastal fishing operations in the area and the community is also the base of operations for several large blueberry harvesting companies, as well as being home to Parrsboro Metal Fabricators, a firm which has found a successfully niche in producing home heating oil tanks for export. Small businesses in or near Parrsboro include the Crossroads Co-op supermarket, a Tim Hortons franchise, a Home Hardware, an Irving Oil gas station, a convenience store, an art gallery called The Destination Gallery, a nine-hole golf course, a skating arena, a bottle depot, and a restaurant/tavern. There are many seasonal accommodations businesses in the Parrsboro area to serve the tourism industry, which primarily operates during the summer and fall seasons.
In 2006, Headz Gamez, a British Columbia-based board game manufacturer, announced that it was relocating 1,500 manufacturing jobs from its facilities in China to Parrsboro. Promises of manufacturing facilities, employee housing and recreation facilities were made; however, the project was cancelled later that year after the CEO sold off his personal company stock and resigned his position. The company declared bankruptcy in early 2007.
In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the former Town of Parrsboro recorded a population of 1,205 living in 609 of its 773 total private dwellings, a change of −7.7% from its 2011 population of 1,305. With a land area of 14.8 km2 (5.7 sq mi), it had a population density of 81.4/km2 (210.9/sq mi) in 2016.
Appleton Adams Mason (June 11, 1880 – December 20, 1938) was an American football player, coach of football and basketball, and physical education instructor. He served as the head football coach at Warrensburg Teachers College—now the University of Central Missouri (1908–1909), Tulane University (1910–1912), and New York University (1918), compiling a career college football record of 15–23–4. Mason was also the head basketball coach Warrensburg Teachers from 1908 to 1910 and at Tulane for the 1912–13 season, tallying a career college basketball mark of 23–13. He was born in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia and died on December 20, 1938 in the New Rochelle Hospital in New Rochelle, New York.Athol, Nova Scotia
Athol is a very small community along Route 302 in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is located between Amherst and Parrsboro. The community is named after John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl. It has no major businesses apart from a moderate sized lumber business owned and run by a number of brothers from the same family. When the lumber season is quiet it just so happens to be the season for blueberries which is big business. Athol has a very small population. The school line for Parrsboro Regional High School and River Hebert District High School is located in Athol. The Little Forks Road, and the Athol Road, two major roads leading to Springhill, Nova Scotia, start in Athol. Athol is located on the Maccan River. The nearest "town" to Athol for grocery shopping is Amherst which provides stores including A&W, Tim Hortons, Sobeys, and Walmart Canada
Athol appears as Bathol in the novelist Will R. Bird's Here Stays Good Yorkshire. Athol was settled by Yorkshire immigrants in the late eighteenth century.CICR-FM
CICR-FM, branded as Parrsboro Community Radio, is a Canadian community radio station operating in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. CICR-FM broadcasts at 99.1 FM with an effective radiated power of 50 watts.
Owned by the Parrsboro Radio Society, the station was licensed on September 19, 2008 and began broadcasting in September 2008.Cumberland Railway and Coal Company
The Cumberland Railway and Coal Company is a defunct Canadian industrial company with interests in coal mines in Springhill, Nova Scotia, and a railway that operated from Springhill Junction to Parrsboro.Cumberland South
Cumberland South is a provincial electoral district in Cumberland Country, Nova Scotia, Canada, that elects one member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. The riding was created before the 1993 election from most of Cumberland West and Cumberland Centre ridings and a small part of Cumberland East.
The communities of Oxford, Parrsboro and Springhill are within its boundaries.
The Member of the Legislative Assembly since 1998 has been held by the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia. A Tory stronghold, Cumberland South has been dominated by Progressive Conservative Murray Scott for over a decade and now Tory Rushton
The 2012 redistribution saw the riding gain territory from Cumberland North.Dendrerpeton
Dendrerpeton is an extinct genus of temnospondyl amphibian from the Carboniferous of Nova Scotia and Ireland. They are generally found associated with hollows of the Lepidodendron and Sigillaria tree genera, for which their fossils are contained within. These fossils are disarticulated and flattened providing poor specimens. In this species the stapes was used as a support structure for the ear, rather than for hearing as in later tetrapods.The specimens are generally 1 metre (3.3 ft) and possess large Otic notches in the back of the skull.Fossils have been found in the Parrsboro and Joggins Formations of Nova Scotia and in Jarrow Colliery, Ireland.Eldon George
Eldon Thomas George (May 10, 1931 – November 29, 2018) was a Canadian fossil collector, television personality and amateur geologist who made many significant discoveries on the shores of Minas Basin and the Bay of Fundy from the time that he began his fossil and mineral hunting career in the 1940s. George found the world's smallest dinosaur tracks in 1984 near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Canada. His other finds include a wide variety of fossilized amphibian and dinosaur prints that were displayed, along with the world's smallest dinosaur tracks, at his Parrsboro Rock and Mineral Shop and Museum. One of them is a 17-inch (43 cm) track that may have been a primitive, two-legged, crocodile-like creature that was nearly 20 feet (6.1 m) long. George's other discoveries include a fossilized insect with three pairs of wings and a tiny horseshoe crab that supplies a "missing link" in the area's natural history.George's interest in mineralogy led him to become an influential advocate for stilbite as Nova Scotia's provincial mineral.Over the decades, George's discoveries and stories have been featured or mentioned in a wide variety of publications including the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times and National Geographic. He also appeared in the five-part CBC Television series Geologic Journey, narrated by David Suzuki.Farrell River
Farrells River is a small river that flows from MacAloney's Lake into Parrsboro Harbour on the Minas Basin near the town of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.Miꞌkmaq summer encampments bordered the river near the current Glooscap restaurant on a flat which is now blueberry fields with bee hives. It was said that creatures known in Parrsboro as Gollywoggles inhabited the swamps on the Farrell River, some of which are salt marsh.A story is told of a small plane flown by novice Air Force pilots that was forced to land in heavy fog in Parrsboro Bay. The local people, hearing the engines in trouble in the sky, lit fires along the Farrell River to indicate a landing strip on the ice at the mouth of the river. The young pilot landed the plane, but bounced, and it miraculously cleared the bridge, barely tipping telegraph wires and landing on the other side with no casualties.Governor Parr
Governor Parr was a four masted schooner built in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia in 1918. Built by W.R. Huntley & Sons for Archie Davidson and Captain Angus D. Richards, she is claimed to be the "most handsome schooner built in Atlantic Canada" and was also the last schooner built in Parrsboro. She was named after early Governor of Nova Scotia John Parr.Governor Parr met an unfortunate fate on October 3, 1923 while carrying one million board feet of lumber from Ingramport, NS to Buenos Aires, Argentina. During this voyage she lost her mizzen and spanker in a storm. Captain Angus Richards and one seaman lost their lives during the incident. The remainder of the crew were rescued by S.S. Schodack.The damage incurred by Governor Parr was significant to the masts and deck of the ship; however, she did not sink. Instead, she remained afloat and drifted throughout the Atlantic. Several attempts were made to either destroy or tow this derelict to shore, but all failed. On January 1, 1924, the American Coast Guard's USCGC Tampa attempted to tow Parr towards Halifax, NS. Parr broke away from the tow line on January 2 in a heavy gale. Tampa had to give up this attempt to return to shore to refuel.Governor Parr was sighted for many years after her 1923 abandonment but managed to remain afloat and cover large spans of the Atlantic Ocean. She remained a derelict and a "menace to navigation," drifting as far as the Canary Islands. Her ability to make this journey without a captain or a crew demonstrates high-quality shipbuilding. It is unknown what happened to Governor Parr in the end, but she is remembered as the phantom ship from Parrsboro.Minas Basin
The Minas Basin is an inlet of the Bay of Fundy and a sub-basin of the Fundy Basin located in Nova Scotia, Canada. It is known for its extremely high tides.Nova Scotia Route 209
Route 209 is a collector road in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
It is located in Cumberland County and follows the shoreline of the Bay of Fundy, connecting Parrsboro with River Hebert. The linked communities are known as the Parrsboro Shore.
It is designated as part of the Fundy Shore Ecotour. Highway 209 was formerly designated as Trunk Highway 9.Parrsboro Formation
The Parrsboro Formation is a geologic formation in Nova Scotia. It preserves fossils dating back to the Carboniferous period.Parrsboro Harbour
Parrsboro Harbour is a Canadian harbour located in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.
Situated on the north shore of the Minas Basin at its western boundary, the harbour is fed by several fresh water sources:
Farrell River (through the Parrsboro Aboiteau)
Whitehall CreekThe harbour is completely tidal, emptying at low tide. It is marked by a lighthouse on the west side of the harbour entrance.
The town of Parrsboro sits on the shores of the harbour.
The harbour became a port of registry in 1850. In its peak years of the 1890s, over 1646 ships arrived and departed annually. Today it is regularly used by fishing vessels, a few recreational vessels and occasional visits by coastal freighters.Parrsboro Regional High School
Parrsboro Regional High School also known as PRHS is a school located in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Canada. PRHS consists of six grades- 7,8,9,10,11 and 12, with approximately 150 students and with 1 class per grade.
PRHS is located on King Street in Parrsboro, N.S. Students attend both schools from about a twenty-five kilometer radius.
The school's sports teams are called the Warriors. PRHS has a volleyball, softball, badminton, soccer and basketball team.
The current principal of Parrsboro Regional High School is Dan SpenceParrsboro Shore
The Parrsboro Shore is an area of Cumberland County, Nova Scotia consisting of the shoreline communities west of the town of Parrsboro. The Parrsboro Shore is generally defined as stretching along the Bay of Fundy from the town of Parrsboro westward around Cape Chignecto as far as Apple River. It includes the communities of Diligent River, Fox River, Port Greville, Ward's Brook, Fraserville, Spencer's Island, Advocate, the ghost town of Eatonville. Linked by Nova Scotia's Route 209, the communities form part of the Fundy Shore Ecotour.The area is named because the communities form a hinterland for the town of Parrsboro. The Parrsboro Shore was once a major lumbering and shipbuilding centre producing 400 vessels. The area's history is preserved at the Age of Sail Heritage Centre in Port Greville and at the Parrsboro Shore Historical Society at Ottawa House in Parrsboro.Ship's Company Theatre
The Ship's Company Theatre is a professional theatre company based in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.Founded in 1984 by Michael Fuller and Mary Vingoe, the Ship's Company Theatre features productions of Canadian works, with an emphasis on new works from Maritime writers. It often commissions its own productions, and a number have been remounted in other theatres across Canada.The theatre's 14-week production season runs from July to October and features three mainstage plays; a second stage for "new and emerging artists" from Atlantic Canada; a series of Monday-night concerts and a kid's stage. The box office is located at 18 Lower Main Street, Parrsboro.The theatre's current artistic producer is Natasha MacLellan.Simon Gibbons (priest)
Simon Gibbons (June 21, 1851 - December 14, 1896) was Canada's first Inuit priest. The Anglican missionary constructed a number of churches in Nova Scotia.St. George's Anglican Church (Parrsboro, Nova Scotia)
St. George's Anglican Church is an historic Carpenter Gothic style Anglican church building located at 216 Main Street in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Canada.Thomas Shreve
Thomas Shreve (2 January 1755, New York - 21 August 1816, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia) was a Loyalist during the American Revolution and later served as the first rector of St. George's Anglican Church (Parrsboro, Nova Scotia) (1787) and then became a prominent minister of St. John's Anglican Church (Lunenburg), Nova Scotia.During the American Revolution he studied at King's College (present-day Columbia University) and then as Assistant Barracks Master. He was a Captain in the De Lancey's Brigade and Lieut. in 82nd Regiment of Foot (1777)). He came to Nova Scotia as a loyalist and settled in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia (1874). He went to England to become a missionary and joined the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts and then returned to be rector at St. George's Anglican Church (Parrsboro, Nova Scotia) (1787). In 1803, he moved to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and served as their missionary for 13 years until his death in 1816. He was buried in the crypt of St. John's Anglican Church.
|Climate data for Parrsboro, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1897–present|
|Record high °C (°F)||17.0
|Average high °C (°F)||−1.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−6.1
|Average low °C (°F)||−10.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−35.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||115.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||54.1
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||60.9
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)||15.8||13.5||14.8||16.3||16.2||15.1||13.4||13.4||13.2||15.0||17.5||17.0||181.1|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)||7.6||6.2||9.6||14.8||16.1||15.1||13.4||13.4||13.2||15.0||16.3||10.7||151.4|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)||10.8||9.6||8.0||3.4||0.36||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.05||2.6||8.7||43.4|
|Source: Environment Canada|
Places adjacent to Parrsboro