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New Glasgow, Nova Scotia (Canada)

Last modified: 2018-07-16 by rob raeside
Keywords: new glasgow | nova scotia |
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[New Glasgow NS Flag] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

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New Glasgow

From the Town of New Glasgow:

New Glasgow is an engaging town situated along the banks of a river that winds serenely through the heart of the community. It is a thriving commercial centre with a population base of close to 10,000 residents and is on the northern shore of Nova Scotia, Canada just minute away from the beautiful waters of the Northumberland Strait. New Glasgow is the largest town within the Pictou County region and its neighbouring communities are the towns of Stellarton, Westville, Trenton and Pictou. New Glasgow town boundaries also are adjacent to many communities of the rural Municipality of the County of Pictou.

The Town's prosperity and even its beginnings are entwined with the development of the scenic East River. The East River is a tidal estuary for salt and fresh water, where Atlantic salmon cruise and jump to spawn, and there is no doubt it was the charm of the river that drew the Scots to New Glasgow.

The community that was to become New Glasgow was settled in 1784 when Deacon Thomas Fraser built on land that is now the west side of the town. By 1809 the Town had been named after Old Glasgow in Scotland and was officially incorporated in 1875.

Enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit were evident even in 1809 as James William Carmichael and George Amos established a trading post within the town that year. New Glasgow is still true to its roots in its role as the leading commercial and service centre for northern Nova Scotia.

The recent revitalization of the Riverfront is reminiscent of the glory days of the 19th century when New Glasgow had a thriving shipbuilding industry. New Glasgow is the birthplace of George MacKenzie, known as the father of Nova Scotia shipbuilding. Captain MacKenzie established a shipbuilding business in New Glasgow in 1840 and during his lifetime built or owned approximately 40 vessels. When he withdrew from the business, it was taken over by his nephew James William Carmichael. Today the Carmichael-Stewart House Museum located on Temperance Street is a stately Victorian structure that has been transformed into a community museum, which pays now tribute to the shipbuilding heritage of the region. During the heyday of shipbuilding, hundreds of ships were built at numerous ship yards along New Glasgow’s East River.

Although founded by Scottish settlers, and named after Glasgow, Scotland, New Glasgow has always had a multi -cultural mosaic. A strong African Nova Scotia heritage as well as British, Irish, Dutch, French, Greek, First Nations and many other cultures enriches the community.

Six years before the arrival of the Ship Hector to New Scotland in 1773 and 100 years before the Birth of Canada, the first Afro-Nova Scotians came to Pictou County. The American War of Independence resulted in the largest single influx of Blacks to the province and most of these Black Loyalists were free and formed the foundation of the modern day presence in Nova Scotia. During the industrial age of the 19th Century, Black citizens from Tracadie came to Pictou County and most settled in New Glasgow.

There is also a strong tie to Trinidad and Tobago that began in the mid 1800s when a Presbyterian minister from New Glasgow travelled to Trinidad to establish the first school and is recognized as the founder of Trinidad’s educational system.

Current Flag

Text and image(s) from Canadian City Flags, Raven 18 (2011), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) by permission of Eugene Ipavec.


The flag of the Town of New Glasgow has a white field bearing the town’s coat of arms, over three-fourths the height of the flag. The simple shield has a horizontal top and simply-curved sides forming a pointed “U” shape. It has a white field and bears a blue saltire (X-shaped cross). Running vertically the full height of the shield is a wavy blue stripe, the same width as the bars of the saltire. In the centre is a maple tree in gold. On either side of the saltire is a black diamond shape (a square on its end) with white shading on the upper left edge. Above the shield is the top of a lion (upper torso including head, tail, and upper legs) in red with tongue and claws in yellow, emerging from a three-towered mural crown in red stonework with white details, holding a blacksmith’s hammer in black. On either side stand deer (a stag and a doe) in white with yellow hooves and antlers; mural collars in red, highlighted in white, and shaped like crowns; and badges on their chests in the form of ship’s wheels in dark blue. Below the shield and supporters is a grassy mound in green, with six pink mayflowers with light green leaves on the left and three pink thistle flowers with longer leaves on the right. Curving below the mound is a scroll in white (with a red back exposed at the ends) inscribed LET NEW GLASGOW FLOURISH in calligraphy red letters.
Rob Raeside, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


The elements in the coat of arms weave together the modern town and its namesake, the ancient city of Glasgow, Scotland. The saltire echoes the flag of Nova Scotia (itself the reverse of the saltire of Scotland), the wavy blue band represents the East River of Pictou County and the historical importance of this waterway, and the two black diamonds (known as “lozenges” in heraldry) represent coal mining, one of the town’s earliest industries, and mineral wealth generally. The maple tree signifies New Glasgow’s natural heritage and its status as a Canadian municipality. The mural crowns symbolize a municipal corporation, and recall the stone buildings and masonry skills of the first settlers from Scotland. The deer recall the wildlife of the area, and the ship’s wheels honour the local shipbuilding industry and the town’s maritime history. The red lion links to the Scottish royal flag, and the hammer represents the iron and steel industry of New Glasgow. The mayflowers on the mound (Epigaea repens) are the provincial flower of Nova Scotia, the thistles (Onopordum acanthium or Cirsium vulgare) are the national flower of Scotland, and the motto hearkens back to that of Glasgow, “Let Glasgow Flourish”.
Rob Raeside, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Rob Raeside
, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


The arms were designed by Robert D. Watt, Chief Herald of Canada, Canadian Heraldic Authority, and granted 23 April 1990.
Rob Raeside
, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Alternate Flag

[New Glasgow NS Flag] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

While the official flag is displayed in the council chambers, for general purposes New Glasgow uses a logo flag. It has proportions of approximately 2:3 (from photographs) and a navy blue field. In the upper centre is the town emblem, a yellow lion facing the fly, forepaw upraised, in a crimson oval sunburst. Below it is New Glasgow in serif letters and below that flourish in cursive letters, all in white.
Rob Raeside
, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011