Why Visit Nova Scotia?

This province has several charming areas, including the Bay of Fundy shoreline, the Atlantic Coast, and Cape Breton. There is lots of nature, lots of history, and many fascinating communities. There’s the historic Annapolis Royal, the stunning wooden buildings and churches of Lunenburg, every town with a lighthouse (not just Peggy’s Cove), and of course, Halifax.

Here is the route of the Trans-Canada Highway from east to west:

Marine Atlantic Ferries' MV Lief Ericson leaving port The ferry from Newfoundland lands at North Sydney on Cape Breton Island, and the Trans-Canada Highway (#105) proceeds along the shoreline of several bays, crossing to the mainland over the causeway at the Strait of Canso.

Detour to the Fort Louisbourg

Fortress Louisbourg To the east of the ferry crossing is historic Fort Louisbourg, which the French used to defend the mouth of the St Lawrence from the British for over a century.

Detour to the Cape Breton Highlands and Cabot Trail

North Harbour on the Cabot Trail To the northwest of the Trans-Canada is Cape Breton Highlands National Park, with scenic vistas over the Gulf of St Lawrence. You can easily spend a day on the Cabot Trail, which hugs the coast around most of Cape Breton Island.

The distance from Sydney to Amherst is 252 miles (405 KM), but a non-stop drive along the Cabot Trail will add a day to your visit.

Dunvegh Beach on the Cabot Trail

The highway (now #104) passes by many small towns on St. George’s Bay, including Havre Boucher, Tracadie, and Antigonish, and then dips southwest to Truro. It then meanders in a northwesterly direction to Amherst, before crossing the border into New Brunswick. To the south is the Minas Basin, which opens into the Bay of Fundy, known for its extreme tides of over 14 metres. To the north is the Northumberland Strait which looks out to Prince Edward Island and the scenic towns of Pictou, Pugwash, and Northport.

The distance from Sydney to Amherst is 252 miles (405 KM), but a non-stop tour of the Cabot Trail will add a day to your visit. The Trans-Canada does not pass through Halifax, which is Nova Scotia’s largest city and the provincial capital, but it’s only 63 miles southwest of Truro on route 102, and worth visiting.

Amheerst, Nova Scotia

Heading to Prince Edward Island (PEI)

To get to Prince Edward Island, cross the border into New Brunswick. Then turn east onto Trans-Canada Route 16, and cross to the island on the new 11-mile Confederation Bridge. You can also take a privately-operated a 75-minute long car ferry to PEI from Pictou, Nova Scotia.

TIP: The bridge toll is only paid on the way OFF the Island, so if you go east to west, you pay ferry + bridge toll, but if you travel west to east through PEI, you only pay the ferry toll.

Nova Scotia Map

Cities along the Trans-Canada HighwayCity

Town along the Trans-Canada HighwayTown

History of the Trans-Canada HighwayItinerary

Transcanada Highway HistoryHistory

Trans-Canada Highway FerriesFerry

Trans-Canada Highway Tours & DetoursTour