Infographic: The French Presence in Nova Scotia

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

Text version: The French presence in Nova Scotia

  • French is the first official language of 3.3% of the population (30,333 people)
  • 10% of the population (93,435 people) can speak both English and French
  • 13%*
    15,310 students are enrolled in French immersion (* of eligible enrolment)
  • 40%*
    47,083 students are enrolled in core French (*of eligible enrollment)
  • In 2015–2016, 5,074 students were enrolled in 22 public French-language schools.
  • 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.

Census Divisions

There are four 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: 64%
  • Elsewhere in Canada: 31%
  • Abroad: 5%

Where were French-speaking immigrants born? (1,400 people)

Most French-speaking immigrants to Nova Scotia were born in Europe.

  • Europe: 38%
  • Asia: 26%
  • Americas: 18%
  • Africa: 18%


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

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

Fall: 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.

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. The French-language Services Act was adopted in 2004 and the Regulations followed in 2006.



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