Windsor is a city of 3,600 people (2016) in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Windsor is recognized as the "birthplace" of hockey and represents an inextricable part of Windsor’s heritage and culture.
Windsor was settled in 1685 by the Acadian French, who built a network of dikes along the rivers. Windsor has always been a meeting place, first for the Mi’kmaq First Nations (Indigenous) people, then the Acadians, and later the English gentry.
Windsor became a permanent English settlement in 1749. Its strategic location prompted the British to build Fort Edward. The Blockhouse is the only structure remaining from the original fort and it is the oldest structure of its kind in North America. Fort Edward is a National Historic Site.
Windsor quickly became a favourite locale of the British gentry, particularly with those living in Halifax. The area’s growth and prosperity was heavily affected by this influential collection of politicians, merchants and military officers from Halifax. In fact, Windsor was such a popular “get-a-way” for people in the provincial capital that it became known as “the Athens of Nova Scotia”.
Shortly after the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists from New England in 1783, Kings College was established in Windsor, in 1788. Kings College was the first independent school in Canada, and today is a world-renowned co-educational preparatory school.
Windsor was for many years a bustling seaport and shipbuilding centre. Between 1840 and 1890, shipbuilding was the most prominent factor in the economy of Windsor.
In his book Attache, Windsor’s own Thomas Chandler Haliburton, generally regarded as the father of North American humour, alluded to a form of hockey being played by the students of King’s College, now King’s-Edgehill School.
The passage from the Haliburton book, which deals in part with memories of his days at King’s in the early 1800s, is believed to be the earliest written reference to the game we now know as hockey, and goes as follows:
- “... the boys let out racin’, yelpin’, hollerin’ and whoopin’ like mad with pleasure... with games at base in the fields, or hurley on the long pond on the ice....”
The students from King’s-Edgehill School today still play hockey at the Cradle of Hockey on the Dill Family Farm. There have been many re-enactments of games of hurley-on-ice, “back of the college woods” on the pond. The students at King’s still use the same path today that their predecessors would have used in the early 19th century.
It’s also known that the British troops stationed at Windsor’s Fort Edward in the early 1800s took up the game of hurley-on-ice, which evolved into the great Canadian game of hockey. In fact, it’s said that a Colonel John Hockey served at Fort Edward.
The closest airport to Windsor is Halifax International Airport in Halifax.
Windsor is approximately 45 minutes by car from Halifax. To get to Windsor from Halifax, take Highway 101 West and get off at exit 5A or exit 6. (The Visitor Center is located at exit 6.) Windsor can also be accessed via Highway 1, also known as the Evangeline Trail, which goes right through the center of town.
Public transit is readily available in the town of Windsor. The bus connects to many surrounding communities as well as attractions further down the Annapolis Valley.
- Fort Edward National Historic Site, ☏ . 15 Jun-31 Aug, M-F 10AM-6PM, Su noon-6PM. Fort Edward St. The oldest surviving blockhouse in Canada, Fort Edward was built by the British in 1750. Free.
- 1 Haliburton House, 414 Clifton Ave, ☏ . 1 Jun-5 Oct, M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM. The former home of Judge Thomas Chandler Haliburton, lawyer, judge, historian, member of the Legislative Assembly and the British House of Commons, and author of the Sam Slick stories. The house sits on a 40-acre estate with walking trails and an old apple orchard. Adults $3.90, seniors and youth $2.80, family $8.65, children under 6 free.
- 2 Shand House, 389 Avon Ave (follow signs with blue key), ☏ . By appointment and fr special events -- contact the site. An ornate late-Victorian house, complete with original furnishings, fixtures, and woodwork. Visitors can climb the tower for nice views of the Avon River and surrounding countryside.
- Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Festival, Windsor Waterfront and Exhibition Grounds, +1 902 798-9440 or +1 902 798-2728, Mid-October. This festival includes a number of pumpkin-related activities, but the highlight is the Pumpkin Regatta: contestants make boats out of giant pumpkins and paddle or motor them around Lake Pesaquid, often in silly costumes. Free.
Golf at Rosevale Par Three Family Golf Course- minutes from Windsor, just off the Chester Rd. Great golfing for learners, kids, and anyone looking to have fun and enjoy their day off! firstname.lastname@example.org
- Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Festival — at the Windsor Waterfront and Exhibition Grounds, +1 902 798-9440 or +1 902 798-2728, Mid-October. This festival includes a number of pumpkin-related activities, but the highlight is the Pumpkin Regatta: contestants make boats out of giant pumpkins and paddle or motor them around Lake Pesaquid, often in silly costumes. Free.
- Windsor Farmers' Market, ☏ . June to October: Saturdays 9AM-1PM. Sam Slick Coachhouse, Windsor Waterfront. Woodworking, crafts, and local produce.
- Cocoa Pesto, 494 King Street (Corner of King & Albert Streets), ☏ , email@example.com. M Tu 4-9PM, W-Su 11:30AM-9PM. Comfort food, and a variety of Maritime craft beers and local wines in a casual, relaxed setting. Lunch plates $13-16, dinner mains $24-28, brunch dishes $10-14.
- Lisa's Cafe, 30 Water Street, ☏ . Daily 11AM-7:30PM. Seafood and home-style cooking.
- Fry Daddy's, 109 Gerrish Street, ☏ . Su M 9AM-7PM, Tu W 11AM-8PM, Th F 11AM-9PM, Sa 9AM-9PM. Fish, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, ice cream, milkshakes.
- The Spitfire Arms Alehouse, 29 Water Street, Windsor (Exit #6, Hwy 101), ☏ . Su-W 11AM-9PM, Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight. Excellent British-style pub with 24 draught taps and great food menu. Children welcomed. Live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Non-smoking & no VLTs. Aviation items on display - great food, service and atmosphere! Just what you'd hope an authentic "local pub" should be.
- Schoolhouse Brewery, 40 Water Street, ☏ . Tu-Th Su noon-8PM, F Sa noon-11PM. Schoolhouse Brewery showcases an array of quaty craft beer in a school-themed taproom on the waterfront of Windsor. The “Classroom Taproom” offers handcrafted beer paired with food from the kitchen, sample flights, and live music by local artists. Merchandise and gifts are available in the “Brewtique”.
- Super 8, 63 Cole Drive, toll-free: . Free breakfast, free parking, pet friendly, indoor pool. From $145.
- Meander In B&B, 153 Albert St. 4 bedrooms – 2 rooms share a 2-piece (toilet and sink) and a 4-piece (toilet, sink, claw foot tub and separate shower) bath and 2 rooms with 4 piece en-suite baths. smoke free environment however smoking is permitted on the outside lawn patio. Free parking. Breakfast included. From $115.
- Downeast Motel, Nova Scotia Trunk 1, ☏ , toll-free: . 20 rooms with private baths in a standard motel on the highway. From $92.
- Continue along the Evangeline Trail (Hwy 1) to Grand Pre and Wolfville. Further along are Annapolis Royal (Port Royal) and Digby.
- In winter, take Highway 14 to Ski Martock for cross country and downhill skiing/snowboarding.
|Routes through Windsor|
|Yarmouth ← Wolfville ←||W E||→ Bedford → Halifax via|
|Yarmouth ← Wolfville ←||W E||→ Bedford → END|
|END ← Chester ←||S E||→ ENDS at N S|