Is there a New Glasgow? Everything you need to know about the Canadian town and its similarities to Glasgow

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New Glasgow can be found in Nova Scotia, and it shares some freaky parallels with its historical namesake.

In the colonial era, Scots settled embarked on a journey of epic proportions to settle in the newly discovered Americas, helping establish massive North American settlements like New York and Boston in America, and even the lesser known New Glasgow in Canada.

Where is New Glasgow?

New Glasgow can be found on the far east coast of Canada, on a penninsula called ‘Nova Scotia’ (or New Scotland). The area in general was settled in 1776, when Scottish immigrants arrived on the eastern Canadian border in the famous ship ‘Hector’.

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The area was settled by Deacon Thomas Fraser after he headed the navigation of the East River of Pictou in 1784. It wasn’t until 1809 when the first trading post was developed that the settlement was officially named ‘New Glasgow’, after its 700 year older namesake.

It was at this time that Glasgow was growing from a small merchant town into a booming industrial city that would be known by some as ‘the second city of the empire’ - making the name an attractive title for the new settlement.

This sign can be found on a bridge in New Glasgow over the East River of Pictou - the waterway that the settlement was founded on.This sign can be found on a bridge in New Glasgow over the East River of Pictou - the waterway that the settlement was founded on.
This sign can be found on a bridge in New Glasgow over the East River of Pictou - the waterway that the settlement was founded on. | Google Maps

What’s it like to live in New Glasgow?

The small town has a population of around 10,000 as of 2016 - with a total population including small neighbouring towns and villages of around 35,000.

The average temprature in the winter is around -5 degrees, although it can and often does get much colder than that. The average temprature in the summer is around 17 degrees. They do get less rainfall than we do, but quite a lot more snow, as you might imagine.

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It’s home to a Michelin tyre plant and head office of Sobeys, the second largest supermarket chain in the country, which provides a bulk of the jobs for the local economy. It also has various other headquarters for large companies, like medical and recreational cannabis supplier ‘Zenabis’, as well as law firms, a hospital, and a regional power plant.

Canadian magazine, MoneySense, has consistently ranked New Glasgow as one of the worst places to live in Canada. Now, a website called Cities Journal says New Glasgow is one of the top 15 places to move away from in Canada, citing high unemployment and a high crime rate.

As Glasgow scrambles projects to reinvigorate the city centre - so too does New Glasgow for its downtown area, with MacGillivray Properties, a local company investing heavily in the area, planning a beautification project on the waterfront.

How similar is the town to the original Glasgow?

In 1840, the town had it’s first shipbuilding company, which eventually built or owned 34 vessels. Hundreds of ships would later be built along the East River in New Glasgow. The town also began as a trading port, selling local coal gathered from mines brought in via railway.

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The economic development in New Glasgow was driven by the steel industry in nearby Trenton - much like Glasgow’s relationship with Lanarkshire.

Nova Scotians and New Glaswegians are noted for having a funny accent in their home turf of Canada, which is reported to sound like a mix between Scottish, Irish, and Southern American - resulting in an odd inflection that sounds like someone from Boston trying to do a Parisian accent.

In the late 20th century the town shifted away from industrialisation - much like Glasgow - in favour of shopping centres, retail, and residential development that was spurred by the construction of Highway 104 - not too disimilar the construction of the M8 inner ring leading to the construction of additional retail spaces like St Enoch and the Buchanan Galleries.

Much like the original Glasgow, New Glasgow has somewhat of a rough reputation in its home country of Canada - but residents staunchly support their town.

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Business owner Jim Fitt told Canadian news outlet CTV News that he likes the quality of life in the Pictou County town. He said:“It’s a community in the greatest sense of community, I mean, we have a smaller population, but because of that, we enjoy a much friendlier environment.”

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