Yarmouth is a town of 6,500 people (2016) on the western tip of Nova Scotia, Canada. The town is known for the Cape Frochu Lighthouse and the nearby area boasts traditional Anglo-Scottish and Acadian French culture. It also makes a good base for exploring the inland wilderness areas, which feature over 365 lakes and several major rivers.
Long connected to fishing due to its proximity to Georges Bank, the town is in the heart of the world's largest lobster fishing grounds and as a result receives Canada's largest lobster landings each year.
It was inhabited by the Mi'kmaq First Nations (Indigenous) people, who called it Keespongwitk", meaning "Land's End" due to its geographic isolation being at the southwestern tip of the Nova Scotia peninsula.
The region may have possibly been visited by Leif Ericson. An object known as the Yarmouth Runic Stone was found at the nearby village of Overton in 1812. It was interpreted by some to have been carved by Ericson, while others feel the markings are natural scratches gradually enhanced over the years. The stone is preserved at the Yarmouth County Museum & Archives.
The region was visited in 1604 by Samuel de Champlain, who named it "Cap-Fourchu", meaning "forked or cloven cape." The first Europeans to make a settlement on these shores were the French Acadians in the mid-17th century. New England Planters settled at what is now the town of Yarmouth in 1759; the grantees were from Yarmouth, Massachusetts and they requested that Yarmouth be named after their former home. Yarmouth was founded in 1761 when a ship carrying three families arrived from Sandwich, Massachusetts. During the American Revolution, some in Yarmouth were sympathetic to the rebellion. Following the war, Acadians from the Grand-Pré district who returned from exile in 1767 settled in the Yarmouth area. After the American Revolution, substantial numbers of United Empire Loyalists arrived in 1785.
Through the 19th century the town was a major shipbuilding centre, at one point boasting more registered tonnage per capita than any other port in the world. As wooden shipbuilding declined in the late 19th century, Yarmouth's shipowners re-invested their capital into factories, iron-hulled steamships, and railways.
Tourism has been a major industry in Yarmouth since the 1880s when Loran Ellis Baker founded the Yarmouth Steamship Company. Steamship and railway promotion based in Yarmouth created the first tourism marketing in Nova Scotia. Baker's steamships operated between Yarmouth and Boston.
In 1939, examiners at Yarmouth's Merchant Marine Institution made seafaring history by issuing master's papers to Molly Kool, the first female ship captain in the Western World.
The growth of post-war automobile-based tourism led to additional ferry service with New England, a region with many family connections to the Maritimes dating to the 18th century and which accelerated during the first half of the 20th century.
During the first year of the Second World War, Yarmouth was selected as the location for a British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) facility. RCAF Station Yarmouth was opened in 1940. RCAF Station Yarmouth closed in 1945. The airfield was sold to the Department of Transport in 1946 and became the Yarmouth Airport. A Canadian Army training camp (known as Camp 60) on Parade Street provided basic and artillery training for 20,000 soldiers during the war.
Winters are cool and rainy with a January average of −3.0 °C (26.6 °F) though owing to strong maritime influences, temperatures below −20 °C (−4.0 °F) are very rare, and the average high never drops to below freezing at any point in the year. The weather can be unsettled and cloudy due to the Nor'easters coming up the coast from the southwest. As a result, Yarmouth averages only 68–100 hours of sunshine from December to February or 25%–34% of possible sunshine.
Yarmouth's summers are cool due the strong coastal influence from the sea which keeps summer temperatures cool, meaning temperatures above 30 °C (86.0 °F) are very rare. The average temperature in the warmest month, August is 17.0 °C (62.6 °F).
Spring and fall are transitional seasons in which falls are warmer than spring since the waters are at the warmest temperatures in fall and the coldest during early spring. Precipitation is significant, averaging over 1,292 millimetres (51 in) a year, with July and August the driest months on average and November the wettest month on average. An outstanding feature is Yarmouth's late-fall to early-winter precipitation maximum. Summer is the sunniest and winter being the cloudiest. Yarmouth averages 191 days of fog each year.
From Halifax, take Highway 101 on the South Shore or Highway 103 on the North Shore.
- Bay Ferries, toll-free: . May 19-Nov 10, departs Bar Harbor, Maine 2PM EDT, departs Yarmouth 8:30AM AST. International car and passenger ferry, daily 3.5-hour crossing between Yarmouth and Bar Harbor. International travel documents are required (see Bay Ferries web site for details). US$115/person + US$199/auto (one way, high season).
- 1 Yarmouth Airport (YQI IATA). serves private planes. The closest scheduled services are at Halifax.
- Yarmouth Transit Service. Local transit, no service Sundays or holidays.
- R & L Taxi, ☏ .
- Sea Crest Taxi. +1 902 742-9114.
- Tri County Cab, ☏ .
- Yarmouth Town Taxi, ☏ .
- Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Yarmouth Branch, 341 Main St.
- Cape Forchu Lightstation. Dramatic, bold coastline and historic lighthouse now open to the public. Small museum and tea room. Cape Forchu was named by Champlain in 1605. Drive to Cape Forchu easily from downtown Yarmouth, passing the numerous fishing shanties and lobster pounds along the way.
- Chebogue Salt Marsh and Chebogue Point. The largest salt-water marshland in the province was once the home of a major Acadian French settlement.
- Firefighters' Museum of Nova Scotia, 451 Main Street, ☏ .
- Killam Brothers Shipping Office, 90 Water Street, ☏ .
- Pelton-Fuller House, 20 Collins Street, ☏ .
- [dead link] Sweeney Fisheries Museum, 112 Water St. Explores the Sweeney marine heritage through a number of exhibits including a simulation of a traditional fishing wharf with fishing, processing and ship repair sheds, wharf decks and a coastal freighter.
- [dead link] Yarmouth County Museum & Archives, 22 Collins St, ☏ . Local museum relating the town's history.
There aren't any beaches in the town, but there are a few within a short drive.
- John's Cove Beach, Highway 304 (just before you reach the Cape Frochu Lightstation). Sandy curve with views of Yarmouth Harbour
- Pembroke Beach, Pembroke Cove. Beach on the Atlantic Ocean and a birding destination
- Sand Beach, Chebogue Rd.
Cinema and theatre
- Empire Studio 5 Yarmouth, 136 Starrs Road, ☏ . First-run cinema chain.
- Th'Yarc, 76 Parade St., ☏ . Playhouse and arts centre.
- Yarmouth Links, 28 Forbes Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Par 72 golf course (pro shop +1 902-742-2161) Back: 5,897 yards, Front: 5,523 yards.
There is an Atlantic Superstore, Sobeys, and Wal-Mart.
- Old World Bakery and Deli, Main St, ☏ . Tu-Sa 9AM–10:30PM.
- The Shanty Café, 6B Central Street, ☏ . M-Sa 6AM-8PM. The Shanty offers homemade Canadian and Cuban food. Vegetarian and other healthy options. Its mandate is to provide meaningful employment to individuals who face barriers to employment as a result of disability, mental illness, age, language, literacy, etc. Burgers $7.50, sandwiches $4.50-8.50, breakfast $3.50-6.50, haddock dinner $8-13.
- Jo-Anne's Quick-N-Tasty, Route 1, Hebron, ☏ . Daily 10:30AM–7PM. Diner with excellent seafood.
- Greco Pizza, 334 Main Street, ☏ .
- Jake's Diner Pizzeria & Deli, 322 Main Street, ☏ .
- Pizza Delight, 77 Starrs Road, ☏ .
- Pizza Villa, 624 Main Street, ☏ .
- New Century Restaurant, 77 Starrs Rd. daily 11AM-8PM. Canadian Chinese food.
- Baileys Lick-A-Treat, 785 Hardscratch Road. May-Oct: W-Su 11AM-7PM. Mains $11-25.
- Rudder's Seafood Restaurant and Brew Pub, 96 Water Street, ☏ . Daily 11AM–10:30PM. A five-minute walk from downtown. Known for its seafood, service and spacious wrap-around deck overlooking Yarmouth's waterfront. The 18th-century beamed ceilings and thick plank floors are part of the draw. Live entertainment most nights of the week.
- Windlass Restaurant, Kelley's Cove, ☏ . Daily 11AM-8PM.
- Blue Lagoon, 73 Starrs Rd, ☏ .
Bars & pubs
- Boston Pizza (Sports Bar), 134 Starrs Road, ☏ .
- The Red Knight Tavern, 73 Starrs Road, ☏ .
- Rudder's Seafood Restaurant & Brew Pub, 96 Water Street, ☏ .
Tea rooms and cafés
- [formerly dead link] Rodd Grand Hotel Yarmouth, 417 Main St., ☏ . Haley's Lounge and Ship's Bell Restaurant. Point of departure for "Experience Yarmouth by Rodd" bus and walking tours.
- Ellenwood Provincial Park & Campground, Highway 340, ☏ . Fresh water beach and park
- [formerly dead link] Argyle Township Courthouse & Archives, Route 3, Tusket (at the centre of the village, about 14 km (9 mi) south of Yarmouth), ☏ .
- Wedgeport Sport Tuna Fishing Museum, 57 Tuna Wharf Rd, Highway 334, Lower Wedgeport, ☏ . 9AM-6PM daily from mid-June to late August. A museum dedicated to sport tuna fishing with photos, trophies and displays from when Bluefin tuna were plentiful in the area. There are also displays on Acadian culture and Wedgeport's history.
- Digby and Pubnico
- Acadian Historical Village of Nova Scotia (Le village historique acadien), 91 Old Church Road, Pubnico-West-le-Bas (30 min from Yarmouth: follow Highway 103 to Exit 31 and turn right). Pubnico is the oldest Acadian settlement where today's inhabitants are the direct descendants of early settlers. The historical village presents the story of Acadians in Nova Scotia.
- Tobeatic Wilderness Reserve in Kemptville
|Routes through Yarmouth|
|END ←||W E||→ Digby → Halifax|
|END ←||W E||→ Pubnico → Halifax|
|END ←||W E||→ Digby → Bedford|
|END ←||W E||→ Pubnico → Halifax|
|ENDS at ← Jct E ←||N S||→ END|