Horton Journal of Canadian History [H.J.C.H.]
The History of the Village of New Minas
The topic of the following term paper is the past, present and future of the village of New Minas. The village of New Minas motto is "A good place to live". The thesis statement of this paper is that villages motto is, in fact, correct. To prove that thesis statement, this term paper will look at New Minas complete history, as well as a brief profile of the current New Minas, that we all know and love. This paper will also give a brief overview of the publics response to New Minas back in September of 1962.
The history of New Minas starts off in the early aspects of French settlement and colonization in the New World. In 1603, the French crown granted a monopoly to a man named DeChaste. DeChaste appointed Francois Grave DuPort to handle the affairs in the New World with a small group of sailors. One of the sailors was a man who would influence the history of New France, Samuel de Champlain. The two men re-traced Jacques Cartier's 1535 route up the St. Lawrence, and made good relations with the Huron people. Later that same year DuPort and Champlian returned to France, to report on the situation in New France. During his return to France, DuPort died, and control of the monopoly was given to DeMonts.
The men returned to New France to control the monopoly, only ofind that their "monopoly" was not followed by many in the St. Lawrence. Frustrated, the men moved east towards the Bay of Fundy in 1604. When they arrived on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy, they immediately set up at Port Royal. One day in 1604, the men set out on a small expedition, and sailed into the present day Minas Basin. They ventured towards Cape D'Ore, and found copper, limestone, and other semi-precious stones. This excited the men and they named the area, "les mines", as they had the intention to mine those minerals in the future. (Kentville/New Minas directory)
For Champlain and DeMont, the two would venture to New Brunswick and back to Port Royal, before major French settlements were made in Quebec. This led the land at New Minas to remain unused until late in the seventeenth century. From Grand Pre came the Acadians who had moved up the Cornwallis River, and used New Minas for its great dykelands. It was soon after their initial settlement that the Acadians actually founded New Minas, and it soon became an important and prosperous community. The Acadians used the lands at New Minas for almost seventy years before 1755. (http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/village.newminas/index.html)
The years leading up to and around 1755 were quite harsh for the French. Wars in Europe caused clashes between the French and English in the New World. The major threat for the English was the fortress of Louisbourg, which they were successful in seizing in 1745. With the control of Nova Scotia in the hands of the British, the Acadians were told that they must renew their oath to the British, but this time without conditions. The Acadians refused and in 1755, Lawrence expelled over 10,000 of them. This led the lands at New Minas to lay dormant for a few years, until the 1760's when Loyalists and English Planters revived the small community.
Roughly for the next two hundred years, the village played a relatively minor role in the development of the Annapolis Valley, easily outmatched by the Wolfville/Kentville sandwich that they were stuck in. After World War II, New Minas slowly began to develop into a commercial center, with various industrial enterprises and car dealerships. This small act began a chain reaction that transformed New Minas into the "shopping capital of the valley" that we all know well. With those new businesses came more jobs and the need for housing was met by various sub-divisions. As the population expanded rapidly, the residents felt that they needed an administration, which would give their tiny village a united voice. Soon enough the order was sent out on August 23, 1968, and the Executive Council of Nova Scotia agreed that on the first day of September in 1968, New Minas would officially become a village under the Village Service Act (Davidson).
Many praised the creation of this village, and one man quoted that " It was a fine day in the history of our Annapolis Valley" (Advertiser). Kenneth Barron, William Lockhart, and Willie Smith were proclaimed the "Founding Fathers" of New Minas, and served as the first three commissioners (Morehouse). Within six months, the village had a modern sewer system, fire protection for a local volunteer fire department, and various educational, recreational, and cultural attractions (Ford).
Within a year the world entered the 1970s, and it was during this decade that new Minas quickly began to flourish. The Country Gardens Mall was created in the center of the village, and in 1974, the County Fair Mall opened to give citizens of New Minas even more stores to choose from. Throughout New Minas, various franchises were popping up everywhere, which better aided the local economy. The increase of stores in New Minas led it to give consumers more choice, and it also helped to give life in the tourism industry. According to Statistics Canada, the population growth of New Minas from 1973-1976 was about 31%. As New Minas entered the eighties, the population went up again about 10% and many businesses were found to move from Kentville or Wolfville to New Minas.
Throughout the eighties and nineties New Minas gained a better image as a great shopping area in the Annapolis Valley. Recreation was at an all-time high as New Minas found themselves hosting more and more soccer events from all over the Atlantic Provinces. This has led New Minas to be dubbed, "The Soccer Capital of the Atlantic Provinces". Truly, it was during these two decades that New Minas really gained a not only a reputation as a "Good Place to Live", but as a place where you can really find what you are looking for whenever in the Annapolis Valley (http://www.destination-ns.com/evangeline/1ftour.asp).
Here in the year 2000, New Minas is still a village on the grow. In the last few years, more businesses have set up shop here, as well as to expand greatly. The current population of the village is estimated at around four to five thousand, and many speculate that New Minas could be changed into a town at any time (http://www.valleyweb.com/newminas/).
With the title of becoming a town in Nova Scotia, low property taxes that the village of New Minas enjoys would surely skyrocket to those of a town. At this time there has been a minor census conducted about the concerns of the citizens of New Minas, as well as some debates on the issue, but so far no major concrete plans have been made, or even discussed. Certainly, everyone has an opinion on this subject matter, and the views and concerns of the citizens of New Minas are sure to be heard by one and all. The current village commissioners will no doubt look at this matter with the interests of the people of New Minas, and make the right decision for the village.
So in conclusion, why is New Minas a "Good Place to Live"? The answer cannot be summed up in one simple response, because there are many things to enjoy about it. There are the great commercial areas that we enjoy, the nice feeling of a "small town" village that we enjoy, and of course the fact that we are one of the only communities in the Annapolis Valley that shows great potential for more. It is unknown to who created the slogan, "A Good Place to Live", but many feel that they were right on target to sum up their small, yet prosperous village.
"A Good Place to Live?" The Advertiser. September 12, 1968.
Davidson, Gordon H. "New Minas Proclamation". Executive Council Nova Scotia. August 23, 1968
Ford, Edwin K. "New Village Created!" The Advertiser. September 5, 1968.
"History of the Village of New Minas." Kentville/New Minas Directory. 1988
"Kentville/New Minas Tour" http://www.destination-ns.com/evangeline/1ftour.asp
Morehouse, Ralph. "Welcome to New Minas". The Advertiser. September 5, 1968.
"The Village of New Minas". www3.sympatico.ca/village.newminas.ca
"Welcome to New Minas." http://www.valleyweb.com/newminas
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