Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Overview

Antigonish is a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 town in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia
Antigonish County, Nova Scotia
Antigonish County, Nova Scotia is a county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is located in northern Nova Scotia on the Northumberland Strait and its county seat is the town of Antigonish.-History:...

. The town is home to St. Francis Xavier University
St. Francis Xavier University
St. Francis Xavier University is a post-secondary institution located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The school was founded in 1853, but did not offer degrees until 1868. The university has approximately 5000 students.-History:...

 and the oldest continuous highland games
Highland games
Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &(-è_çà in Scotland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. Certain...

 in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

.

The name Antigonish is of Mi'kmaq
Mi'kmaq language
The Mi'kmaq language is an Eastern Algonquian language spoken by nearly 9,100 Mi'kmaq in Canada and the United States out of a total ethnic Mi'kmaq population of roughly 20,000. The word Mi'kmaq is a plural word meaning 'my friends' ; the adjectival form is Míkmaw...

 origin and is believed to refer to "The place where tree branches are torn off by bears gathering beech
American Beech
Fagus grandifolia, also known as American Beech or North american beech, is a species of beech native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario in southeastern Canada, west to Wisconsin and south to eastern Texas and northern Florida in the United States. Trees in the...

 nuts". The first European settlement took place in 1784 when Colonel Timothy Hierlihy received a large land grant surrounding Antigonish Harbour
Antigonish Harbour, Nova Scotia
Antigonish Harbour is a community and harbour in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, located in Antigonish County, first settled in 1784 by disbanded soldiers loyal to the British side in the American Revolution....

. Hierlihy and his party founded the Dorchester settlement, named for Sir Guy Carleton, who was Governor General of Canada
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 and subsequently Lord Dorchester.
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Encyclopedia

Antigonish is a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 town in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia
Antigonish County, Nova Scotia
Antigonish County, Nova Scotia is a county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is located in northern Nova Scotia on the Northumberland Strait and its county seat is the town of Antigonish.-History:...

. The town is home to St. Francis Xavier University
St. Francis Xavier University
St. Francis Xavier University is a post-secondary institution located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The school was founded in 1853, but did not offer degrees until 1868. The university has approximately 5000 students.-History:...

 and the oldest continuous highland games
Highland games
Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &(-è_çà in Scotland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. Certain...

 in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

.

History


The name Antigonish is of Mi'kmaq
Mi'kmaq language
The Mi'kmaq language is an Eastern Algonquian language spoken by nearly 9,100 Mi'kmaq in Canada and the United States out of a total ethnic Mi'kmaq population of roughly 20,000. The word Mi'kmaq is a plural word meaning 'my friends' ; the adjectival form is Míkmaw...

 origin and is believed to refer to "The place where tree branches are torn off by bears gathering beech
American Beech
Fagus grandifolia, also known as American Beech or North american beech, is a species of beech native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario in southeastern Canada, west to Wisconsin and south to eastern Texas and northern Florida in the United States. Trees in the...

 nuts". The first European settlement took place in 1784 when Colonel Timothy Hierlihy received a large land grant surrounding Antigonish Harbour
Antigonish Harbour, Nova Scotia
Antigonish Harbour is a community and harbour in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, located in Antigonish County, first settled in 1784 by disbanded soldiers loyal to the British side in the American Revolution....

. Hierlihy and his party founded the Dorchester settlement, named for Sir Guy Carleton, who was Governor General of Canada
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 and subsequently Lord Dorchester. In 1796 another settler, with the assistance of a First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 guide, blazed a trail from Antigonish Harbour to Brown's Mountain, using the shortest route. This trail became a guide for travellers and eventually evolved into a winding Main Street. By the late 1820s, Dorchester was commonly referred to as Antigonish. In 1852, a newspaper, The Casket
The Casket
The Casket is a weekly paper published in Antigonish, Nova Scotia by the Casket Printing and Publishing Company. It was first published on June 24, 1852 by John Boyd.-References:...

, began publication and continues to this day as an independent paper.

St. Francis Xavier University (St.F.X.) was established in Antigonish in 1855, having been founded in 1853 in Arichat
Arichat, Nova Scotia
The village of Arichat is one of the oldest communities in Nova Scotia, dating back to the 18th century. It is a district of Richmond County on Isle Madame....

, Cape Breton
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It likely corresponds to the word Breton, the French demonym for Brittany....

 and originally called the College of East Bay after East Bay, Nova Scotia
East Bay, Nova Scotia
East Bay is a community in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, located in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality on Cape Breton Island. It is located on the south side of the Bras d'Or Lakes, with one public beach and many, many, summer cottages with beach front property...

 where an earlier institution had once existed (1824-1829). St.F.X. was originally a Catholic seminary
Seminary
A seminary, theological college, or divinity school is an institution of secondary or post-secondary education for educating students in theology, generally to prepare them for ordination as clergy or for other ministry...

 and was granted full university powers in 1866 by an act of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly
Nova Scotia House of Assembly
The Nova Scotia Legislature, consisting of Her Majesty The Queen represented by the Lieutenant Governor and the House of Assembly, is the legislative branch of the provincial government of Nova Scotia, Canada...

. The town is also the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish.

The first hospital in Antigonish opened on June 10, 1906.

Antigonish is notable for having a social movement named for it, The Antigonish Movement
Antigonish Movement
The Antigonish Movement blended adult education, co-operatives, microfinance and rural community development to help small, resource-based communities around Canada’s Maritimes improve their economic and social circumstances. A group of priests and educators, including Father Jimmy Tompkins, Father...

, launched from St. Francis Xavier University in the 1920s by local priests and educators including Rev. Dr. Moses Coady
Moses Coady
Rev. Dr. Moses Michael Coady was a Roman Catholic priest, adult educator and co-operative entrepreneur best known for his instrumental role in the Antigonish Movement...

 and Father Jimmy Tompkins
James Tompkins
Father Jimmy Tompkins was a Roman Catholic priest who founded the Antigonish Movement, a progressive effort that incorporated adult education, cooperatives and rural community development to aid the fishing and mining communities of northern and eastern Nova Scotia, Canada...

.

Education


St. Francis Xavier University
St. Francis Xavier University
St. Francis Xavier University is a post-secondary institution located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The school was founded in 1853, but did not offer degrees until 1868. The university has approximately 5000 students.-History:...

 is located in Antigonish. St. Francis Xavier has 4,267 full-time students and 500 part-time students. It was named as the best undergraduate university in Canada by Maclean's
Maclean's
Maclean's is a Canadian weekly news magazine, reporting on Canadian issues such as politics, pop culture, and current events.-History:Founded in 1905 by Toronto journalist/entrepreneur Lt.-Col. John Bayne Maclean, a 43-year-old trade magazine publisher who purchased an advertising agency's in-house...

magazine for five consecutive years (2002–2006). St. Francis Xavier is also well known for the X-Ring and the Coady International Institute
Coady International Institute
The Coady International Institute is located on the campus of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Established in 1959, the Coady International Institute is world-renowned as a centre of excellence in community leadership education. The Institute is named for one of Canada's...



The elementary and secondary schools in Antigonish fall under the jurisdiction of the Strait Regional School Board
Strait Regional School Board
Strait Regional School Board is a Canadian school board operating 26 schools in eastern Nova Scotia's counties of Richmond, Antigonish, Inverness, and Guysborough....

. Antigonish is home to three public schools: Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School
Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School
Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School is a secondary school located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is attended by approximately 850 students in grades 9 to 12. The school falls under the jurisdiction of the Strait Regional School Board. Dr...

, St. Andrew Junior School
St. Andrew Junior School
St. Andrew Junior School is a middle school located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. It opened in 1996 and is attended by approximately 600 students in grades 5 to 8.-External links:*...

 and the Antigonish Education Centre.

Sports and culture


The annual Antigonish Highland Games have been held since 1863. The first games were held to raise funds for the construction of St. Ninian's Cathedral.

Economy


Antigonish is a service centre for the surrounding region that includes Antigonish and Guysborough Counties and many 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
White-collar worker
The term white-collar worker refers to a person who performs professional, managerial, or administrative work, in contrast with a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor...

 with the largest employers being St. Martha's Regional Hospital and St. Francis Xavier University. Another major employer in Antigonish is Canada Post
Canada Post
Canada Post Corporation, known more simply as Canada Post , is the Canadian crown corporation which functions as the country's primary postal operator...

'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 between 2004 and 2006 when the retail landscape of the town and county changed significantly. Much of the growth took place in the Post Road area, just outside of town. Atlantic Superstore
Atlantic Superstore
Atlantic Superstore is a Canadian supermarket chain of 54 stores in the Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island...

, Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000...

, and Central
Central (home improvement store)
Central, Your Partner In Home Improvement is a home improvement retailer that operates seven locations in Nova Scotia, Canada. The first store opened in Antigonish in 1976 under the name S&D Smith Central Supplies Limited. Since 1988, Central has opened a number of new stores in the big box format,...

 constructed new stores while the former Atlantic SuperValue, also located in this area, was redeveloped as a Staples Business Depot
Staples Business Depot
Staples is a Canadian office supply retail chain, part of the United States-based office supply company Staples Inc...

.

Other areas also saw growth. In June 2005, Shoppers Drug Mart
Shoppers Drug Mart
Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation is Canada's largest pharmacy chain with more than 1,241 stores operating under the names Shoppers Drug Mart in nine provinces and two territories and Pharmaprix in Quebec as well as in Hawkesbury, Ontario....

 opened a new store downtown while the NSLC
Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation
The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation controls alcoholic beverages in Nova Scotia, Canada. It is the sole distributor and runs all retail outlets selling alcohol except for four private wine specialty shops and, in rural areas where there is not an NSLC location, 23 private "agency" liquor...

 opened a new store attached to the existing Sobeys
Sobeys
Sobeys is the second largest food retailer in Canada, with over 1,300 supermarkets operating under a variety of banners. Headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, it operates stores in all ten provinces and accumulated sales of more than $14 billion CAD in 2009...

 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 sporting goods store, Herbal Magic
Herbal Magic
Herbal Magic is a Canadian weight loss and nutrition company based in Toronto, Ontario. Operating through a network of approximately 300 weight loss and nutrition centres across Canada, Herbal Magic is Canada's largest commercial weight loss company...

, and a Blockbuster
Blockbuster (movie rental store)
Blockbuster LLC is an American-based provider of home video and video game rental services, originally through video rental shops , later adding DVD-by-mail, streaming video on demand, and kiosks. At its peak in 2009, Blockbuster had up to 60,000 employees. There are around 1700 Blockbuster...

. The mall area also saw the construction of a Boston Pizza
Boston Pizza
Boston Pizza is a Canadian-based restaurant chain which owns and franchises locations in Canada, the United States and Mexico.-History:...

 restaurant which opened in late 2006. The new A&W
A&W Restaurants
A&W Restaurants, Inc., is a chain of fast-food restaurants, distinguished by its draft root beer and root beer floats. A&W was arguably the first successful food franchise company, starting franchises in 1921 in California. Today it has franchise locations throughout the world, serving a typical...

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

Annexation controversy


For several years, the Town of Antigonish has engaged in a dispute with Antigonish County over the issue of annexation
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 and amalgamation
Amalgamation (politics)
A merger or amalgamation in a political or administrative sense is the combination of two or more political or administrative entities such as municipalities , counties, districts, etc. into a single entity. This term is used when the process occurs within a sovereign entity...

. 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
Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board
The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board or NSUARB is the independent tribunal and regulating arm of the Government of Nova Scotia.NSUARB was established in 1992 following the amalgamation of the former Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities, the Nova Scotia Municipal Board, the Expropriations...

 (a quasi-judicial body
Quasi-judicial body
A quasi-judicial body is an individual or organization which has powers resembling those of a court of law or judge and is able to remedy a situation or impose legal penalties on a person or organization.-Powers:...

 that rules on issues related to government in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

), on May 7, 2001, for permission to annex 6503 acres (26.3 km²) of Antigonish County.
Timeline

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 3814 acres (15.4 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 did 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
Nova Scotia Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal for Nova Scotia is the highest appeal court in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. There are currently seven Justices and one Chief Justice. The court sits in Halifax, which is the capital of Nova Scotia...

 rejected the Town's appeal. This decision paved the way for a plebiscite. Soon after the court ruling, the plebiscite was scheduled for June 17.

Notable residents

  • Eric Gillis
    Eric Gillis
    Eric Gillis is a Canadian athlete. He was born and raised in the community of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He currently resides in Guelph, Ontario.-Sporting career:...

    , 2008 Olympian (athletics-10,000m)
  • Max Haines
    Max Haines
    Max Haines is a syndicated crime columnist.Haines was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. At a young age he attended St George's College, Weybridge. He began researching murders from around the world, past and present as a hobby. His "Crime Flashbacks" column made its debut in the Toronto Sun in 1972...

    , crime writer, columnist for the Toronto Sun
    Toronto Sun
    The Toronto Sun is an English-language daily tabloid newspaper published in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is known for its daily Sunshine Girl feature and for what it sees as a populist conservative editorial stance.-History:...

  • Peter MacGillivray, Wind Specialist for Enercon
    Enercon
    Enercon GmbH, based in Aurich, Germany, is the fourth-largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world and has been the market leader in Germany since the mid-nineties. Enercon has production facilities in Germany , Sweden, Brazil, India, Canada, Turkey and Portugal...

     Wind Turbines
  • Craig MacDonald
    Craig MacDonald
    James Craig MacDonald is a Canadian professional ice hockey left winger who currently plays for the Adler Mannheim in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.-Playing career:...

    , NHL
    National Hockey League
    The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

     hockey player for the Tampa Bay Lightning
    Tampa Bay Lightning
    The Tampa Bay Lightning are a professional ice hockey team based in Tampa, Florida. They are members of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League . They have one Stanley Cup championship in their history, in 2003–04. They are often referred to as the...

  • Garfield MacDonald, Olympic Athlete
  • Shauna MacDonald
    Shauna MacDonald
    Shauna MacDonald is a Canadian television and film actress and radio announcer.-Life and career:MacDonald was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. She graduated from Dr...

    , actress, also known as "Promo Girl" on CBC Radio One
    CBC Radio One
    CBC Radio One is the English language news and information radio network of the publicly-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It is commercial free and offers both local and national programming...

  • Ryan MacGrath
    Ryan MacGrath
    Ryan MacGrath is a Canadian singer-songwriter, whose folk-pop style is frequently compared to Rufus Wainwright and Hawksley Workman. Born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and raised in Guysborough County, he is currently based in Halifax, Nova Scotia....

    , musician and painter
  • Stephen McHattie
    Stephen McHattie
    Stephen McHattie is a Canadian actor.-Life and career:McHattie was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia....

    , stage, film and TV actor
  • Paul MacLean, head coach of Ottawa Senators
    Ottawa Senators
    The Ottawa Senators are a professional ice hockey team based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. They are members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League...

  • Carole MacNeil
    Carole MacNeil
    Carole MacNeil is an award-winning television journalist and producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She is the host of CBC News Now from 12 to 3 p.m. Eastern Time Zone on the CBC News Network....

    , television journalist, former co-host of CBC News: Sunday
    CBC News: Sunday
    CBC News: Sunday was a weekly television newsmagazine series in Canada, which aired on Sunday mornings on both CBC Newsworld and CBC Television...

    and CBC News: Sunday Night
    CBC News: Sunday Night
    CBC News: Sunday Night was a television newsmagazine series in Canada, which aired on Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. on CBC Television. It was, essentially, the Sunday night equivalent of The National, although it took a more features-oriented approach than its weekday counterpart. The program also...

  • Carroll Morgan
    Carroll Morgan
    Carroll Morgan is a former heavyweight boxer from Canada, who represented his native country at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany. There he was defeated in the quarterfinals by Sweden's eventual bronze medalist Hasse Thomsén.Morgan is now training people in the city where he lives...

    , Olympic heavyweight boxer
  • Archbishop James Morrison, Catholic Bishop 1912
  • Anne Simpson
    Anne Simpson
    -Career:Simpson received her B.A. and M.A. degrees from Queen’s University, and she also graduated in Fine Arts from OCAD University . Subsequently, she worked as a CUSO volunteer English teacher for two years in Nigeria. She teaches part-time at St...

    , poet
  • Shelley Thompson
    Shelley Thompson
    Shelley Thompson is a Canadian actress best known for her character Barbara Lahey on the hit Canadian mockumentary program Trailer Park Boys....

     and Gina Harrision, actresses from The Trailer Park Boys
  • The Trews
    The Trews
    The Trews are a Canadian rock band from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, consisting of vocalist Colin MacDonald, guitarist John-Angus MacDonald, bassist Jack Syperek, and drummer Sean Dalton...

    , a rock band.

External links