Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Antigonish
other_name =
native_name =
nickname =
settlement_type = Town
motto = Highland Heart of Nova Scotia

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pushpin_label_position = bottom
pushpin_map_caption = Location of Antigonish in Nova Scotia
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subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = CAN
subdivision_type1 = Province
subdivision_name1 = NS
subdivision_type2 = Municipality
subdivision_name2 = Antigonish County
subdivision_type3 =
subdivision_name3 =
subdivision_type4 =
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government_footnotes =
government_type = Town Council
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Kay Chisholm
leader_title1 = Governing Body
leader_name1 = Antigonish Town Council
leader_title2 =
leader_name2 =
leader_title3 =
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established_title = Founded
established_date = 1784
established_title2 = Incorporated
established_date2 = January 9, 1889
established_title3 =
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area_total_km2 = 5.15
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population_as_of = 2006
population_footnotes =
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population_total = 4236
population_density_km2 = 823.3
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population_urban = 4665
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timezone = AST
utc_offset = -4
timezone_DST = ADT
utc_offset_DST = -3
latd=45 |latm=37 |lats= |latNS=N
longd=61 |longm=59 |longs= |longEW=W
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elevation_min_m = 0
elevation_max_m = 34
postal_code_type = Canadian Postal code
postal_code = B2G
area_code = 902
blank_name =Telephone Exchanges
blank_info =318 735 863 867 870 872 948 971
blank1_name =Median Earnings*
blank1_info =$41,773
blank2_name = NTS Map
blank2_info = 011F12
blank3_name = GNBC Code
blank3_info = CAATB
website = [ ]
footnotes = *Median household income, 2000 ($) (all households)

{| align="center" style="background:transparent; line-height:120%; font-size:120%; text-align:center;" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"
style="border-style:none;" | Part of a series about Places in Nova Scotia

Antigonish (IPAEng|ˌæntigoʊˈnɪʃ) (2006 population: 4,236) is a Canadian town in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia.

The town is home to St. Francis Xavier University and the oldest continuous highland games in North America.


*The name Antigonish is of Mi'kmaq origin and is believed to refer to the place where tree branches are torn off by bears gathering beechnuts.
*The first European settlement took place in 1784 when Colonel Timothy Hierlihy received a large land grant surrounding Antigonish Harbour. Hierlihy and his party founded a settlement called Dorchester, named in honour of Sir Guy Carleton, who was Governor General of Canada and subsequently Lord Dorchester.
*In 1796 a local settler, with the assistance of a First Nations guide, blazed a trail from Antigonish Harbour to Brown's Mountain, using the shortest route. This trail became a guide for travelers and eventually evolved into a winding Main Street.
*By the late 1820s, Dorchester was commonly referred to as Antigonish.
*St. Francis Xavier University was founded in 1853 and moved to Antigonish, from Arichat, Cape Breton, in 1855. It was originally a Catholic seminary. St. Francis Xavier was granted full university powers in 1866 by an act of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. The town is also the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish.
*The local newspaper, "The Casket", was first published on January 1, 1861.
*The first Antigonish Highland Games were held in 1863 to raise funds for the construction of St. Ninian's Cathedral.
*Sydney County was renamed Antigonish County in 1864.
*Antigonish was incorporated as a town in 1889.
*The first hospital in Antigonish opened on June 10, 1906.
*The Antigonish Movement was launched from St. Francis Xavier University in the 1920s by local priests and educators including Rev. Dr. Moses Coady and Father Jimmy Tompkins


St. Francis Xavier University is located in Antigonish. St. Francis Xavier has 4,000 full-time students and 500 part-time students. It has been named as the best undergraduate university in Canada by "Maclean's" magazine for five consecutive years (2002–2006). St. Francis Xavier is also well known for the X-Ring and the Coady International Institute.

The elementary and secondary schools in Antigonish fall under the jurisdiction of the Strait Regional School Board. Antigonish is home to three public schools: Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School, St. Andrew Junior School and the Antigonish Education Centre.


Antigonish is considered to be a service centre as many of the local businesses are based in the service sector. There are no major industrial operations located in the town or county. The workforce is primarily white collar with the largest employers being St. Martha's Regional Hospital and St. Francis Xavier University. Another major employer in Antigonish is Canada Post's National Philatelic Centre, which provides mail-order services for worldwide collectors of Canadian stamps.

2004-06 building boom

The Antigonish area experienced great deal of economic growth and retail development during this period. The retail landscape of the town and county changed significantly because of a building boom. Much of the growth has taken place in the Post Road area, just outside of town. Atlantic Superstore, Wal-Mart, and Central have constructed new stores while the former Atlantic SuperValue, also located in this area, has been redeveloped as a Staples Business Depot.

Other areas have also seen growth. In June 2005, Shoppers Drug Mart opened a new store downtown while the NSLC opened a new store attached to the existing Sobeys store, located next to mall. The following month a new GM dealership opened on the outskirts of town.

A multi-unit retail annex was constructed at the local shopping mall in the spring of 2006. This complex houses a new Cleve's Source for Sports store, Herbal Magic, and a Blockbuster. The mall area also saw the construction of a Boston Pizza restaurant which opened in late 2006.

The new A&W restaurant that opened in February, 2007 could also be considered part of the building boom as construction began in late 2006.

Annexation and amalgamation

The Town of Antigonish is currently embroiled in a dispute with Antigonish County over the issue of annexation and amalgamation.


The issue primarily relates to availability of land within town boundaries. Constant development has reduced the amount of undeveloped land within the town. According to Town officials, there is no longer enough land remaining for future expansion of the town. Town officials also suggest that this lack of vacant land is forcing new development into the 'fringe area' of the county that immediately surrounds the town. In an effort to address this situation, the Town applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (a quasi-judicial body that rules on issues related to government in Nova Scotia), on May 7, 2001, for permission to annex convert|6503|acre|km2 of Antigonish County.


On May 28, 2001, several weeks after the Town made its application, the County of Antigonish applied to the NSURB to amalgamate with the town. The rationale for the application, as the county cited, were adverse effects related to the loss of tax revenue from annexed lands.

By January 2002, the town had reduced the amount of land area sought for annexation to convert|3814|acre|km2. The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board consolidated the two applications and a public hearing was held over the span of three weeks, from January 26 to February 11, 2004. The hearing was designed to gauge public opinion of the issue. A total of 97 members of the public spoke at the hearings, representing both sides of the issue. After the public hearings were completed, the board was left to deliberate with the evidence it had collected.

On February 7 2005, the board released its preliminary opinion (see [ Antigonish annexation and amalgamation decision] ). The 213 page report stated that area residents would be best served by amalgamation. It further ordered that a plebiscite be held in the town and county, no later than September 17, 2005, to determine the degree of support for amalgamation. The board would add the results of the plebiscite to the other evidence and then render a final decision.

However, the town soon appealed the ruling on the grounds that the NSURB does not have the authority to force two municipal units into amalgamation. The plebiscite was postponed while the issue was before the courts.

On October 17, 2005, the Town announced that it would be willing to back off its application for annexation if the County would drop its application for amalgamation. The County declined the offer on the 26th, indicating that it believed it was time to gauge public opinion of the issue with a plebiscite. Related to this, the County has asked that the Town drop its appeal of the NSURB authority and accept a plebiscite.

The Town did not drop its appeal and the issue remained in the courts for another five months. Finally on March 7, 2006 the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal rejected the Town's appeal. This decision paved the way for a plebiscite. Soon after the court ruling, the plebiscite was scheduled for Saturday June 17.

Notable natives and residents

*Ronald J. MacDonald, Runner
*Don Gillis (Boston sportscaster)
*Max Haines, crime writer, columnist for the "Toronto Sun"
*Shauna MacDonald, actress, also known as "Promo Girl" on CBC Radio One
*Carole MacNeil, television journalist, co-host of ' and '
*Stephen McHattie, stage, film and TV actor (born Stephen Smith in 1946)
*Carroll Morgan, Olympic heavyweight boxer
*Jeff Smith , Founder and CEO of Silverback Supplements. Originally from New Glasgow
*Jim Nunn, television journalist, former anchor of the CBC News program "Marketplace"
*Anne Simpson, poet
*Hugh Thompson, actor
*The Trews, a Canadian rock band
*John Brophy, professional hockey coach
*Dennis Bonvie, minor league hockey player
*Craig MacDonald, Major league hockey player for Tampa Bay Lightning
*Paul MacLean, Assistant coach for Detroit Red Wings


*cite book
last = Walsh
first = Patrick
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The History of Antigonish
publisher = Scotia Design Publications
year = 1989
location = Antigonish, N.S.
pages = 320
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-920147-02-X

External links

* [ Town of Antigonish]
* [ The Municipality of the County of Antigonish]
* [ Antigonish Highland Games]
* [ Diocese of Antigonish]
* [ Virtual Tour of the Architectural Heritage of Antigonish, Nova Scotia]

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