Atlantic Canada

Atlantic Canada, also known as the Atlantic provinces, is the region of Canada comprising four provinces located on the Atlantic coast:  the three Maritime provinces -- New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island - and Newfoundland and Labrador.  The population of the Atlantic provinces was 2,332,535 in 2007.

Maritime society is based upon a mixture of traditions and class backgrounds.  Predominantly rural until recent decades, the region traces many of its cultural activities to those rural resource-based economies of fishing, farming, forestry, and coal mining.  While Maritimers are predominantly of west European heritage (Scottish, Irish, English, and Acadian -- descendants of the French), immigration to Industrial Cape Breton during the hey-day of coal mining and steel manufacturing brought people from eastern Europe as well as Newfoundland.  The Maritimes also has a black population who are descendants of former African American runaway slaves and loyalists, largely concentrated in Nova Scotia, but also in various communities throughout southern New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.  The Mi'kmaq Nation's reserves through Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and eastern New Brunswick dominate aboriginal culture in the region, compared to the much smaller population of the Maliseet Nation in western New Brunswick.

Cultural activities are fairly diverse throughout the region, with the music, dance, theatre, and literary art forms tending to follow the particular cultural heritage of specific locales.  Notable Nova Scotian folklorist and cultural historian Helen Creighton spent the majority of her lifetime recording the various Celtic musical and folk traditions of rural Nova Scotia during the mid-20th century, prior to this knowledge being wiped out by mass media assimilation with the rest of North American.  A fragment of Gaelic culture remains in Nova Scotia but primarily on Cape Breton Island.