The Micmacs were the original inhabitants of Antigonish, who named it either Nalegitkoonechk (Nalegitkoonech or Nalegitkunech), meaning “where branches are torn off” for bears to feed on beech nuts, or Nartigonneichwhich means “a river of fish with many waters” or “the place where the waters meet.” For the five rivers forking here: West River, South River, Brierly Brook, Wright’s River, and east Wright’s River.

Antigonish County is in the northeast of Nova Scotia, bounded by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Bay of St. George and was settled by the Acadians in 1759. In 1784 a number of British officers and soldiers received a “Soldiers’ Grant’ and settled on both sides of Antigonish Harbour. Scottish ancestors first settled in Arisaig in the late 1680s and later at St. Andrews. After the American Revolution, groups of Black Loyalists settled in many area of Antigonish County. This town is probably best known today as the home St Francis Xavier University.

Antigonish Attractions

Antigonish Heritage Museum

20 East Main Street, Antigonish, NS B2G 2E9
(902) 863-6160

The museum is located in the former CN Rail station. Exhibits depict early days of Antigonish town and county. Special exhibits include: photos, business ledgers, railway artifacts, and an 1864 volunteer fire department pumper. The research library and archives contain extensive genealogical information, including the inventory of pre-1914 heritage homes and buildings in town and county. Open July & August: Mon-Sat 10:00 am-5:00 pm; September-June: Mon-Fri 10:00 am-12:00 pm, 1:00 pm-5:00 pm. Admission free, donations welcome

St. Francis Xavier University Archives

Angus L. MacDonald Library,
St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS B2G 1C0
(902) 867-2201

The main objectives of the Archives are to collect and preserve the university, regional and diocesan records records and make them available to researchers. Open Mon-Fri 1:00 pm-4:30 pm

Antigonish, Nova Scotia Area Map