Growing Great Places Together

Town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia - 2024 National Finalist

On the tip of Nova Scotia’s southwest coast, embracing the Bay of Fundy is the vibrant Town of Yarmouth, founded in 1761, although it has a richer history dating back to its settling by Mi’kmaq people. Overlooking Yarmouth Harbour is the Lightstation at Cape Forchu, proudly standing guard as fishing boats ply the waters and anchor along our scenic waterfront. The Lightstation, selected as Canada’s Best Public Place in 2013, was the film location of the movie “The Lighthouse” in 2018. This historic seaport is known as ‘The Gateway to Nova Scotia’ by many, due to its proximity to the United States. During the golden age of sail from 1830 to 1880, Yarmouth was the second largest port of registry in Canada with ships travelling the world. Wealth from affluent times lives on in the incredible architecture lining town streets and in artefacts at local museums (the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives, the Firefighters’ Museum of Nova Scotia, the W. Laurence Sweeney Fisheries Museum and The Harbourfront Museum). The Collins Street Heritage District boasts many elaborate homes once owned by local sea captains & wealthy merchants (complete with unique widow’s walks or cupolas). 

Yarmouth has been the recipient of Communities in Bloom National Awards for Heritage Preservation, Best Residential Flower Garden (Small Category), Environmental Action, Butchart Gardens Land Reclamation Project, Urban Forestry, Community Appearance(2020), Plant and Floral Displays (2021) and Landscape, along with Class of Champions in 2022. We are proud of the efforts of our citizens. 

For generations, the Milton Improvement Society has supported the planting of trees and shrubs that benefit the Town, including a project to create the Doug Melanson family park on a former school property. Arbour Day celebrations include school and community groups planting trees. As early as 1886, a tree grove was established to celebrate our 125th birthday. The Yarmouth Garden Club is actively involved in keeping the town colourful and is hosting the Nova Scotia Garden Clubs Convention in June, 2024. Garden tours reveal floral treasures in backyards and along quiet streets. An Awards Program recognizes businesses that show pride in their properties and groups or individuals who contribute talent to improve their community. Yarmouth is proud of its public parks, gardens and gazebos, heritage fountains and waterfront walking trail. Yarmouth offers downtown and waterfront shopping with flowering plants hanging from charming lamp posts. Outdoor murals have been created by local artists. Along the waterfront, past and present intermingle. The restored Milton clock tower and historic Killam Bros. Marina are two of the sights.

Although an obvious pleasure to visitors and citizens, this is a working waterfront. Fishing boats, ocean yachts and sailing ships are coming and going with the rise and fall of the Bay of Fundy tides. Thirty interpretive panels throughout the downtown/waterfront area tell stories about our proud heritage. Recent additions include the Pompei Dick, a ship that brought our first settlers in 1761; Sara Corning, a nurse from Yarmouth who saved thousands of children during an uprising in Armenia in 1920; a story of Yarmouth’s First Schools, the story of the many Lewis family businesses, the history of the unique business/residential area in Yarmouth named ‘Moody’s Row”  and a description of the early railways and railway turntables in Yarmouth.

Sports-wise, Yarmouth is home to several sports facilities including the Mariners Centre (a dual ice surface multipurpose centre that also operates a downtown recreation centre with pool facility), a curling club and 18-hole (four more courses within an hour’s drive) and private gyms. In the summer, citizens enjoy swimming, sailing, paddle-boarding, fishing and canoeing on Lake Milo in the north end of town and kayaking in the waters of Yarmouth Harbour and surrounding lakes. We added an accessible community Splash Park in 2022 for families.

The strength of our volunteer base allows the Town of Yarmouth to host provincial, national and international sporting events. The World Junior ‘A’ Hockey Challenge was held in Yarmouth twice; the National Senior Fast Pitch Tournament returned for the fourth time in 2015 and CBC’s national ‘Play On’ street hockey challenge was hosted in 2013. Yarmouth welcomed the music community in 2015 during Nova Scotia Music Week and for the fifth time in 2023. Yarmouth welcomed the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in June of 2016 for the 25th time. Recent events include hosting the annual gathering of the Canadian Owners and Pilot’s Association and the Canadian Mixed Curling Championships (again in 2022).

A vast and willing volunteer base in Yarmouth is always happy to contribute their time and talent to welcome visitors and host events. We hosted the 25th Communities In Bloom National Symposium and International Awards Celebration from September 25-28, 2019 and enjoyed celebrating our community with delegates from around the world.