Infographic: The French Presence in Nova Scotia

The French presence in Nova Scotia. Details in text following the infographic.

Text version: The French Presence in Nova Scotia

  • 10.5% of the population (95,380 people) can speak both English and French
  • French is the mother tongue of 3.4% of the population (31,370 people)
  • French is the first official language of 3.2% of the population (29,370 people)


  • 5,477 students are enrolled in 22 public French-language schools (2016-2017)
  • 44,159 students are enrolled in core French (33% of eligible enrollment) (2015-2016)
  • 15,016 students are enrolled in French immersion (13% of eligible enrolment) (2015-2016)
  • The Université Sainte-Anne offers post-secondary education in French at its main campus in Church Point and at four satellite campuses across Nova Scotia.

Where do Francophones live?

Most Acadians in Nova Scotia live near the southern coast of the province, in Halifax and in Cape Breton.

Economic Regions

  • Cape Breton: 16%
  • North Shore: 6%
  • Annapolis Valley: 7%
  • Southern: 36%
  • Halifax: 36%

There are 4 emerging Francophone communities in Nova Scotia: Chezzetcook, Truro, Annapolis Valley and Rive-Sud. These communities have Francophone schools and other French-language organizations.

Where were they born?

Nearly two thirds of Francophones living in Nova Scotia were born in the province.

  • In Nova Scotia: 62%
  • Elsewhere in Canada: 31%
  • Abroad: 6%

Where were French-speaking immigrants born?

  • Europe: 42%
  • Africa: 23%
  • Americas: 21%
  • Asia: 14%
  • Oceania and others: 1%


  • Newspaper: Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse
  • Radio: 4 French-language radio stations, Radio-Canada ICI Première and ICI Musique
  • Television: ICI Radio-Canada Télé and Unis TV.



  • The Mid-Lent festival has French origins dating back to the Middle Ages and is celebrated in the Chéticamp and St. Joseph du Moine region.


  • The world’s oldest Acadian festival is held each year in Clare, in the Baie Sainte-Marie region.


  • The Festival des Cultures Francophones is the largest annual Francophone event held in Halifax.


  • In 1604, the first French colonists settled in the area of Port Royal.
  • From 1755 to 1763, the Acadians living in the Nova Scotian peninsula were deported.
  • Starting in 1764, Acadians were given permission to return and settled along the coast, especially in the regions of Chéticamp, Isle Madame, Baie Sainte-Marie and Par-en-Bas.
  • In 1890, the Collège Sainte-Anne was founded. Now called the Université Sainte-Anne, the institution contributes to the development of Nova Scotia’s Acadian and Francophone community.
  • The Acadian community spokesgroup in Nova Scotia, the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse, was founded in 1968.
  • The Acadian community has made significant progress, especially in education. In 1981, the province adopted a new Education Act that gives Acadians the right to receive a French-language education.
  • In 1996, the creation of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial marked the end of a long battle for Acadians and French-speaking Nova Scotians who wanted to manage their own education system.
  • The French-language Services Act was adopted in 2004 and the Regulations followed in 2006.
  • In 2012, the elimination of protected constituencies mobilized Nova Scotia’s Acadian and Francophone community. In 2017, the provincial Court of Appeal ruled that the elimination of these constituencies was unconstitutional.


More information

Date modified: