Stories of The Past
Culture & Tradition
Virtual Tours
Our Region

 "Building on our diverse cultural heritage, the Western Valley Development Authority (WVDA) will work with the community to create a vital, prosperous, and self-reliant region where the people have ample opportunity for a full and satisfying life."

-mission statement of the WVDA

The history of the Western Valley reaches back more than 11,000 years, to a day when some unknown Mi'kmaq explorer first set foot in what was to become Nova Scotia. The first step into untouched territory was probably a difficult one. What lay in the dark forests, or sheltered around the next curve or shoreline? In a sense, our region is the crossroads where Canada originated... where First Nations, French and British first came together. And in every case, the peoples who came here made a step into the unknown.

That spirit lives on in the Western Valley today. Mi'kmaq, Acadian, Loyalist, Free Black - our founding peoples were risk takers and forward lookers. They were adventurers and dreamers. And their dreams drives us still...

Tidal Generating Plant located in Annapolis Royal
Tidal Power Plant
The last few years have been difficult ones for coastal communities in the North Atlantic. The fisheries have collapsed, and with the disappearance of the fish, industries like boat building have faded. Times have been hard, and the going has been tough. But if you've read some of the stories in this web site already, you know that our people are used to tough times and rough water. We are the descendants of peoples who pulled a living from the land and from the sea. We are the children of peoples who made a home out of a strange new land.

COGS Surveyors
That history of achievement, of success in the face of adversity, drives us still. The Western Valley Development Authority, which coordinates economic development activity in the region, sees it as the key to the future. Although we have faced tough times, our unique heritage has prepared us for this new century.

For starters, we've taken new tools and applied them to old problems. We've digitally mapped our fishing grounds and coastal resources using Geographic Information Systems technologies. We generate electricity using tidal power. We have a state-of-the-art Passive Solar Aquatic Wastewater Treatment facility that uses greenhouse plants to clean our sewage. And we have a series of 20 Public Access Internet Sites stretched across our region to make information technology and tools available to everyone.

Solar Aquatics Facility
Aquatics Tank
But our future isn't just about using new tools to try to do old things - the Western Valley is finding old ways to do new things. We used to build fiberglass fishing boats - but now our fiberglassers are building virtual reality training chambers for firefighters across North America. We used to train Canadian Navy personnel - but now we train senior officers from around the world to be international peacekeepers at the Pearson Peacekeeping Training Centre. Our future is filled with our past, and as we focus on the skills and experiences that made us strong, the opportunities continue to grow.

We're proud of our accomplishments, and we're proud of our past. But we're even prouder of the future that we're building for ourselves.