Book Review: A Collection of Nova Scotia Firsts – by Ruth A. MacDonald








Book: A Collection of Nova Scotia Firsts
Author: Ruth A. MacDonald
Publisher: Community Books
Date: 2000
Genre: history
Pages: 95
Price: $22 - Canadian or US funds ** (mailing included)
My rating: An informative, interesting collection of 
under-acknowledged historical events


A superbly constructed book, A Collection of Nova Scotia Firsts, compiled by Ruth A. MacDonald, is full of amazing recorded accomplishments. This is a work that spanned over thirty years of collecting and researching and organizing. Mrs. MacDonald did her utmost to accurately verify each item’s status as a ‘first’. She knows that, being unable to get verification for everything, she regretfully left off the list many things that probably should have been included. Even so, the total of firsts listed is between 600 and 700 different entries, and that’s from this one little province – one of the oldest provinces in Canada and riddled with history.

Firsts recorded in this book begin in the 1600’s and continue through to the year 2000 with the publication of A Collection of Nova Scotia Firsts.








A few examples:

1606: First Social Club in North America was “The Order of Good Cheer” organized by Champlain at Port Royal. Its purpose was to keep up the spirits of his men during the long winter months. The noblemen took turns preparing food and organizing each day’s entertainment. Special guest was the famous Mi’kmaq chief Membertou.

1734: First fireproof structure in North America was the concrete Louisbourg lighthouse erected by the French governor between 1731-34.

1836: First Canadian author to become nationally famous was Judge Thomas Chandler of Haliburton of Windsor, Nova Scotia. He wrote numerous serious works but gained his recognition as a humorist in 1836 with “The Clockmaker,” and “Sayings and Doings of Sam Slick of Slickville.”

1839: First trade bookstore in Canada was established in 1839. The Book Room, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is believed to hold this distinction.

1866: First spring ice skates in the world were invented by John Forbes of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The invention of these Acme metal skates made an improvement in the game of ice hockey and figure skating, and led to the construction of more covered rinks.

1869: First place in the world to have tides so high was Burntcoat Head, Nova Scotia. It was recorded that during the Saxby Tide in 1869 the waters rose 31.5 m (103 ft.)

1916: First and only battalion of black men in Canada was stationed at Pictou, Nova Scotia, during the First World War. It was formed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in July 1916, and was commanded by Col. David Hugh Sutherland from River John, Nova Scotia.

1984: First tidal power generating station in North America was completed at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, in August 1984. The four-year construction sequence involved diversion and replacement of an existing highway, excavation of the site, power house construction, backfilling, and erection of the world’s largest straight-flow turbine and the opening of intake and discharge canals. (My husband worked on this very dangerous construction project.)

1993: First skeletal remains of a juvenile mastodon in Canada, and only one of six found in the world, were uncovered at a site on the property of the National Gypsum Plant at Carroll’s Corner in Halifax County, Nova Scotia.

This book is fascinating! It was hard to choose only a few firsts to share with you. If you ever wondered where something originated, there’s a good chance it happened here in Nova Scotia. Mrs. MacDonald invested a lot of time and work into this collection and it is beautifully put together, completed with the help of her daughter who did the photography included in the book, and her son who edited it.

When I spoke with the author of A Collection of Nova Scotia Firsts she was delighted for me to make her book available to anyone who might like to purchase a copy. I have a few left – SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR! – and thought it would be nice to let you know about this wonderful book. ** (The price I’ve listed includes shipping to you.) If you want one please contact me and we’ll make arrangements. You can leave a message in the comments for me to email you about her book, or you can contact me through my About Me/Contact page which is private as it goes directly to my inbox.

You can find A Collection of Nova Scotia Firsts by Ruth A. MacDonald on my BUY THE BOOK page. Please note that although it is listed on Amazon it is no longer available through them. There are only a few copies left, so if you know someone who would appreciate this book … don’t wait!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂



I look forward to reading your greatly appreciated comments. Thanks for making my day! :)

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