LaHave, Nova Scotia

LaHave is a Canadian community in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia. The community is located across the river from Riverport[1] and approximately 15 kilometres from the town of Bridgewater. Once the capital of Acadia, it is located on Highway 331 at the mouth of the 97 km long LaHave River.

LaHave, Nova Scotia
Fort Point Museum, LaHave, Nova Scotia
Fort Point Museum, LaHave, Nova Scotia
LaHave, Nova Scotia is located in Nova Scotia
LaHave, Nova Scotia
LaHave, Nova Scotia
Location within Nova Scotia
Coordinates: 44°17′37.25″N 64°21′27.22″W / 44.2936806°N 64.3575611°W / 44.2936806; -64.3575611Coordinates: 44°17′37.25″N 64°21′27.22″W / 44.2936806°N 64.3575611°W / 44.2936806; -64.3575611
ProvinceNova Scotia
MunicipalityLunenburg Municipality
0 m (0 ft)
Highest elevation
119 m (390 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Time zoneUTC-4 (AST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-3 (ADT)
Canadian Postal code
Area code(s)902
Telephone Exchanges688
NTS Map021A08


Mi'kmaq Settlement and French colonyEdit

La Hève was an important centre for the Mi'kmaq people, who traded with Europeans. Messamouet, a well-known sakmow, or Chief, of the Mi'kmaq Nation, is reported to have been from the La Have area.[2]

Samuel de Champlain called there in 1604 on his first trip to Acadia. Henry Hudson made landfall there in 1609 on his voyage on behalf of the Dutch East India company. Despite being shown hospitality by the Mi'kmaq, Hudson's crew staged an unprovoked assault on the Mi'kmaq settlement. As a result, the Mi'kmaq staged a raid on the next Dutch ship to visit in 1611.[3]

La Hève was the capital of Acadia from 1632, when Isaac de Razilly settled on a point of land at the mouth of the LaHave River, until his sudden death in 1636. Razilly established a colony of 300 and built Fort Ste. Marie de Grace.[4] Razilly reported that the fort was capable of standing against all enemy action, and that he had the military supplies necessary to withstand a six-month siege. There was also a chapel, a store and houses for the workmen in the village. Within twelve months of Razilly's arrival, La Have was a thriving trading post, the centre for a small farming community in the area, and a major port of call for the large fishing fleet. At one point there were five hundred transient fishermen in the settlement.[5] Upon Razilly's death, the new Governor Charles de Menou d'Aulnay moved the Acadians from La Hève to Port Royal, Nova Scotia, which had been given up by the Scottish also in 1632.[6] His wife Jeanne Motin, "daughter of Louis Motin, Sieur de Courcelles, who in addition to owning shares in the Razilly-Condonnier Company, was the controller of salt stores located at one of France's colonies, perhaps in the Caribbean", was of great strategic value in the subsequent struggle with La Tour. Ironically, she became Lady de La Tour in 1653 after Aulnay's death and La Tour's triumphant return with Letters Patent as governor of Acadia. Nicholas Denys and his brother Simon, who had come over with Razilly, in 1632, set up a "wood working plant" near present-day Riverport, Nova Scotia and a fishing station at Port Rossignol (now Liverpool, Nova Scotia). They stayed neutral in the war between Aulnay (at Port Royal) and La Tour (at Fort La Tour on the Saint John River).

In 1652, La Hève was still a trading post and was raided by Emmanuel Le Borgne.[7]

During Queen Anne's War, New Englanders raided the community taking three Acadians prisoner (1705).[8]

King George's WarEdit

During King George's War, two French officers, in a letter from Quebec, reported to the Count of Maurepas that "the English do not dry any fish on the east coast of Acadia since the war, through fear of being surprised there and killed by the Micmacs." This fear was well founded as these same officers also advised "... a boat belonging to an English merchantman having landed at La Hève for wood and water, these Indians killed 7 of the crew and brought their scalps to Sieur Marin,...".[9]

The site of Fort Sainte-Marie de Grace was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924.[10]

American RevolutionEdit

On 15 April 1780 the Lunenburg militia (35 men) and the British brigantine John and Rachael captured an American privateer prize named Sally at the LaHave River.[11] During the seizure, the privateers killed the head of the militia (McDonald) and wounded two of the crew members of John and Rachael.[12][13][14][15]

Ship buildingEdit

It was, at one time, the economic centre of fishing, trade and shipbuilding for the surrounding area. The many vessels built in the area include a famous clipper, the barque Stag.

Light StationEdit

In 1874 LaHave Light Station was built and assisted ships navigating into the LaHave River until the 1950s, when a new lightkeeper's house was built to replace the aging light station. The light was decommissioned in the 1960s and replaced by a mechanical light on the opposite side of the river. In 1969, the Lunenburg County Historical Society was established to manage this historic site and turned the vacant lightkeeper's house into a community museum and gift shop.[16] In 2006, the society completed a Renaissance Project, which included the construction and attachment of a new building resembling the original 1874 LaHave Light Station, to the lightkeeper's house. The new museum is heated and cooled by a geothermal system, one of the first museums in Canada to utilize this technology. The Museum hosts many community events during the year, including the Acadian Mi'kmaq Festival, the LaHave River Folk Festival and a wide range of artistic exhibits.

Lahave River cable ferryEdit

Since 1832, LaHave has been connected to East LaHave, located on the opposite side of the LaHave river, via a cable ferry.[17] In 1982, Brady E. Himmelman retired after 35 years of service, being the longest serving captain of LaHave ferries. In 2010, the LaHave Ferry II was replaced by a 14 car capacity ferry named in the honour of Brady E Himmelman.[18] The Ferry is Operated by The Province of Nova Scotia and costs $7 for a one-way ticket. The trip lasts about five minutes one way.

On Friday, January 3, 2014, the Ferry broke free from its cable and drifted towards the open ocean, running aground at Oxners Beach.[19]

Present dayEdit

Stepping inside LaHave Bakery with its old fashioned display cases and furnishings and homemade menu is a bit like stepping back in time.

A volunteer LaHave and District Fire Department provides fire and first responder service to LaHave and the surrounding areas. A federal post office, Saint James Anglican Church and LaHave Seafoods are all located in LaHave.

A longstanding turn of the 20th century riverside chandlery landmark, has in recent years become the LaHave Bakery, which operates as a year-round bakery and cafe. The bakery houses a Craft Co-Op during the summer, where local artists sell their crafts. It is also home to a small custom manufacturer, Homegrown Skateboards.

Further down Highway 331, one will find Crescent Beach, a 2 kilometre long beach (only beach in NS that allows you to drive your car on the sand the length of the beach as if it were a road), the LaHave Islands and Risser's Beach Provincial Park. The LaHave Islands are a popular coastal paddling destination.[20]

The LaHave Islands Marine Museum (c. 1913), located on the LaHave Islands, is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.[21]

Image galleryEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Douglas Hunter, Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the voyage that redrew the map of the New World. Bloomsbury Press, 2009. P. 96-106
  4. ^ Dunn, Brenda (2004). A History of Port-Royal-Annapolis Royal, 1605-1800. Nimbus. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-55109-740-4.
  5. ^ Griffiths, N.E.S. (2005). From Migrant to Acadian: A North American Border People, 1604-1755. McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-0-7735-2699-0.
  6. ^ History
  7. ^ Daigle, Jean (1994). "1650–1686: 'Un Pays Qui n'Est Pas Fait'". In Phillip Buckner; John G. Reid (eds.). The Atlantic Region to Confederation: A History. University of Toronto Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-4875-1676-5. JSTOR 10.3138/j.ctt15jjfrm.10.
  8. ^ History of Wars
  9. ^ Brodhead, John Romeyn (1858). Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York. Vol. 10. Albany: Weed, Parsons and Co. p. 10.
  10. ^ Fort Sainte Marie de Grace. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  11. ^ Sally was a prize recently capture by the American privateer General Stark under the command Captain James Pearson on 27 March 1780. The American privateer and her prize got separated in a storm, with the prize ending up at the mouth of the LaHave River.
  12. ^ pp. 310-311
  13. ^ [ American vessels captured by the British during the American Revolution, pp. 71-72
  14. ^ Privateers also killed South Shore men who served on loyalist armed vessels (see Nova Scotia Gazette, July 11, 1780; July 13, 1780; Harvey, ed. Perkins Diary, pp. 28-29.
  15. ^ NS Historical Society, p. 32
  16. ^ Fort Point Museum
  17. ^ Peterson, Jean (March 4, 2015) [April 19, 2009]. "LaHave". The Canadian Encyclopedia (online ed.). Historica Canada.
  18. ^ "Riverport History". Archived from the original on 2016-05-23. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  19. ^ "LaHave River ferry stuck at beach after running aground". CBC News. January 7, 2014.
  20. ^
  21. ^ LaHave Islands Marine Museum. Canadian Register of Historic Places.

External linksEdit