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Pictou? Pick your toe! Not Pictooo!

Located on the Northumberland Shore and across the Northumberland Strait from Prince Edward Island sits a small town with a big dream. Pictou, Nova Scotia wants to be a "destination", not a stopover for one night.

Renowned as the "Birthplace of New Scotland" Scottish immigrants landed in The Hector, a 37-metre long wooden ship, an old Dutch barque owned by John Pagan, in 1873 in Pictou, Nova Scotia, at Brown's Point. Those 189 settlers, were willing to immigrate to Pictou with an offer of free passage, one year of free provisions, and a farm. The settlers (23 families, 25 single men) were recruited at Greenock (10 people), Renfrewshire and at Lochbroom (179 people) (Ross-shire), Northern Scotland seeking adventure and better opportunities in the new colony. They were poor, "obscure, illiterate crofters and artisans from who spoke Gaelic."

A school teacher, William McKenzie was one of the few passengers on the

Hector to speak both Gaelic and English.

Hector was an old ship and in poor condition when she left Europe. The arduous voyage to Pictou took 11 weeks, with a fierce gale off the coast of Newfoundland blew the ship off course, causing a 14-day delay. Dysentery and smallpox claimed 18 lives amongst the passengers. The vessel arrived in Pictou Harbour on September 15, landing at Brown's Point, immediately west of the present-day town of Pictou.

The year's free provisions never materialized for the passengers of Hector. They had to hurry to build shelter without those provisions before winter set in and starved them. The Mi'kmaq people assisted the early European settlers with hunting, fishing and the ways of the land. If it weren't for them, many of our European forefathers would never have survived through those long cold winters.

Then Pictou grew....

Pictou today contains many important examples of stone housing constructed by those early generations of Scottish immigrants, which have clear connections to architectural styles and design in Scotland itself. The old Post Office in Pictou is the only building in the world with a window in its chimney. The building, which was built in 1895, is located on Water Street.

Good to know! -each year, a group of cormorants return to Pictou from the south to

mate and nest beside the Harvey A. Veniot Causeway, regardless of the noisy traffic.

Their arrival can be predicted within a day or two of their first sightings.

-the Pictou Bank was the original tenant of the now Bank of Nova Scotia building constructed in 1878. It is the third oldest Bank of Nova Scotia branch in the province.

(Robert P. Grant was the President of the Pictou Bank in 1879) (cool note: we live in his house!)

-the Pictou Lobster Carnival in July is the oldest and the largest lobster carnival in the world. Some say it is also the best! You are invited to this year's celebrations in July!!

Next time...more reasons to treat Pictou as a "DESTINATION" not a stopover!!!

"Pictou By Choice!"



Town of Pictou website


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