Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER II.

PHYSICAL ASPECT, RIVERS, LAKES, HARBOURS, &c.—GEOLOGY,

SOIL, AND CLIMATE.-HALIFAX, THE CAPITAL.

The most remakablee natural feature on this peninsula of the North American continent, is the numerous inundations along its coast.

A vast and uninterrupted body of water, impelled by the trade wind from the coast of Africa to the American continent, strikes the Nova Scotia shore between 44o and 45° north latitude, with a force almost adequate to its total annihilation; only a barrier of fifteen miles in breadth between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of St. Lawrence seems to have escaped such a catastrophe : while a space of nearly 100 miles in length and upwards of 40 in breadth has been swallowed up in the vortex, which, rolling its tremendous tides of from 60 to 70 feet perpendicular height up the beds of the adjoining rivers, has converted them into inland seas, traversing the province from west to east for more than half its length.

The combined influence of the same powerful agent of the Atlantic Ocean has produced (though in a less striking manner) the same effect upon the south shore. Owing to the operation of these causes, the harbours of Nova Scotia for number, capacity, and safety are unparalleled in any other

[blocks in formation]

part of the world : between Halifax and Cape Canseau are twelve ports capable of receiving ships of the line, and there are fourteen others of sufficient depth for merchantmen.

Respecting the interior of the colony, it may be observed, that of 15,617 square miles, the superficial contents of Nova Scotia, one third is supposed to be occupied by lakes of various shapes and sizes, so spread out that there is no point in the province thirty miles from navigable water. The surface is undulating, there being scarcely more than half a mile at a time of level ground, but the elevation is inconsiderable, the highest land (Ardoise hill or Arthur's Seat) being only 810 feet above the level of the sea. There is a range of high lands on the West Coast between St. Mary's Bay and Argyle, and another more extended and lofty on North Coast, skirting the Bay of Fundy, between Annapolis and Windsor, or indeed to the head of Minas basin. The scenery throughout the province is beautifully picturesque, owing to the great variety of hill and dale, and the numerous rivers and lakes scattered throughout the country.

The Gut of Canseau or Canso, which separates Nova Scotia from the island of Cape Breton, is in length from Sandy Point to Cape Jack about twenty miles, and in breadth about one, the land rising on either side in romantic boldness, clothed with trees to their very summits, while the strait being the most convenient passage to and from the gulf of St. Lawrence, is crowded with vessels of every description during the summer and autumn, and the cot

7

tages of the farmers on either shore add beauty to the natural charms of the landscape.

Among the numerous havens of the south shore', the harbour of Halifax, which has not perhaps a superior in any part of the world, stands conspicuous. It is situate in 44° 40' north latitude, 63° 40' west longitude, nearly mid way between the east and west extremity of the peninsula ; and from its situation, being directly open to the Atlantic and its navigation scarcely ever interrupted by ice, (as Quebec is annually,) it is our chief naval station in North America, and affords safe anchorage for 1000 ships. Several islets exist at the entrance between Sambro Head and Devil's Island, rendering the navigation apparently rather intricate, but even a stranger with proper precaution has nothing to fear. The channels east and west of M‘Nab's island are guarded by York redoubt, Sherbrooke tower, East battery, and several others. The city of Halifax is built on the east side of a small peninsula on the declivity of a hill, which rises gradually from the water's edge; its length being about two miles, and its breadth about half a mile, with wide streets crossing each other at right angles, and containing nearly 2000 houses, and a population not far short, including strangers, of 20,000. Along the water's edge are numerous wharfs close to which ships can lie for the discharge of their cargoes; above the wharfs are the ware

1 From Cape Canso to Cape Sable, a distance of 80 leagues, there is a succession of noble harbours. The British North American provinces can show three good harbours for one that the United States can.

PUBLIC EDIFICES.

13

houses, and as the declivity is ascended are the houses of the citizens, public buildings, &c. Many of the private residences are handsomely built of stone, and the houses, of wood plastered or stuccoed, have in several instances an imposing appearance. The public edifices are substantial structures ; the Government House at the south end of the capital is an antique baronial-looking structure, and the Admiral's house at the north end commands 'a view of the harbour, telegraphs, shipping, &c. The Province Building” is one of the finest edifices in our American colonies; it stands nearly in the centre of Halifax, is 140 feet long, 70 broad, and 45 feet high; the Ionic columns of finely polished freestone, and the whole structure combining elegance with strength and utility. It contains chambers for the Council and Legislative Assembly, the Supreme Court, and all the provincial offices. The Military Hospital and other structures at Halifax do honour to the taste and judgment of the late Duke of Kent, who, when Commander-in-Chief in Nova Scotia was universally beloved. The dock-yard is one of the finest establishments out of England. The following are the distances from Halifax :--Cape Breton, 130 miles ; Prince Edward's Island, 160; Fort Cumberland, 145; St. Andrew's, 263; Frederickton, 276; St. John's, N.B., 196; and Annapolis, 130 miles.

Further description of the country will be found under the territorial divisions and population of the province, when treating of which the site of the Shubneccadie Canal will be explained.

RIVERS.—The two largest rivers in the province are the Shubneccadie and the Annapolis : the former takes its rise in the lakes of the same name in the county of Halifax, and after a rapid and circuitous course, the length of which has not yet been accurately ascertained, it disembogues in the Bay of Minas, which receives the waters of ten other rivers, viz. the Cornwallis, North River, Salmon, Canar, Gasperaux, Kennetcook, Cockmegun, Petit, St. Croix, and Avon. The Shubneccadie, in conjunction with the lakes, forms a chain of water communication, with the exception of two or three portages, between Halifax and the Bay of Minas; to improve the navigation of this natural connection was the object of the canal so named. The Shubneccadie is navigable for large vessels a long way into the interior, and contains on its banks inexhaustible quantities of plaster of Paris and lime, together with extensive groves of fine timber. The scenery throughout its course is very picturesque and varied; here by the abrupt frowning cliff, with its woody summit, and there by the extended verdant vale, by the unbroken solitude of the wilderness, or the cheerful busy scene of cultivation. The rise and fall of the tide at the mouth of this river is about fifty feet.

The Annapolis takes its rise in the Aylesford plains, in King's County, and after a long and serpentine route, unites its waters with those of the Bay of Fundy, being previously joined by the Moose and Bear rivers. It is navigable for large vessels for 20 miles above Annapolis, and 40 above Digby, and for

« EdellinenJatka »