"Small town Nova Scotia - relaxing and friendly" Springhill by 850prc

Springhill Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 15 photos

These are good people, this is a fine town

When we planned our Atlantic Canada trip, we decided to do bed and breakfasts, and to locate in smaller towns. As I was looking for our Nova Scotia "residence", I came across the Sugar Maple B&B in Springhill. I liked the bed and breakfast, and our initial email conversation with the McCormicks (who own Sugar Maple) pretty much sold me on coming here. After doing a little more research on Springhill itself, it seemed like what we were looking for - small town Canada. And my goodness, were we right.

First of all, Springhill turned out to be a little bigger than I'd though. I imagined a town with maybe one or two stop lights, and Springhill probably has ten or so. :) I thought we'd have to travel to other towns for places to eat, and that wasn't the case. Yes, is many ways, Springhill turned out to be more town that we'd thought.

But, it was the people who really really make the difference. We start withe the McCormicks over at the Sugar Maple. They literally treat their guests like family members, and do an excellent job of helping you blend into the community. I think they liked it a lot that we truly wanted to "do stuff" in Springhill, and were doing more than "just sleeping there".

Everywhere we went - restaurants, shops, stores and just out on the street, everyone was pleased to have visitors. And they were so very accomodating and helpful. Springhill is a fine town, and her people are her best resource.

Anne Murray - Springhill's most famous citizen

Spread your tiny wings and fly away
And take the snow back with you
Where it came from on that day
The one I love forever is untrue
And if I could you know that I would
Fly away with you

Recognize that chorus? It's from Anne Murray's classic "SNOWBIRD" and it's sold millions and millions of copies worldwide.

Springhill is the hometown of Ms. Murray, and she's easily the town's most renowned celebrity native.

Anne and her family lived in the area for many, many years, and they remain very much tied to Springhill. The Murray family is heavily involved in many civic projects, including the recent remodeling and reconstruction of the town's sports arena. In honor of Anne's parents, it's now called the "Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre". Additionally, there is an "Anne Murray Center" within the city that includes many items of interest from Anne's life and career.

I'm told that Anne is often in town, and crossing her path in town is not at all unusual. We didn't meet up with Anne during our time in Springhill. But from what I've heard about her kindness, generosity and civic spirit, she sounds like the kind of girl we'd have enjoyed having beer and donairs with.

A tragic past honored, a green future arising

Some of the older folks reading my tips may feel that they've "heard the name Springhill" somewhere, somehow. It may well be that they remember the "Springhill Mine Disaster", a tragic occurence of some fifty years ago.

Springhill used to be a huge coal-mining center in Atlantic Canada, from the early to mid 19th century until 1958. And actually, there have been THREE Springhill Mine Disasters. In 1891, there was a fire that spread through two of the main mine shafts, resulting in the deaths of some 125 miners. And in 1956, there was an explosion in the mine, which despite incredible heroism in the face of the disaster, some 39 miners died.

But, the disaster of which you may have heard occured in 1958, when a "bump" occured. A bump is basically an earthquake or tremor, and in reality, several bumps occured in October of 1958. Some miners had been killed by the first bump and others were crushed in exit shafts when another bump followed. When all was said and done, some 75 miners died. After this accident, the mines were closed forever, which devastated Springhill's local economy. This disaster was actually immortalized in a folk song called "The Springhill Mine Disaster". There is an excellent cover version of it available from U2, if you'd like to hear the haunting words.

After the mines were sealed, they were flooded with water, and these days, these flooded mines serve as a source of green geothermic energy for the town of Springhill. There are also tours of some very shallow and remaining mine shafts, if you'd like to have a look-see.

The town of Springhill has many buildings and monuments honoring the fallen miners of the last two centuries, you'll notice them during you time in town.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Small town Canada as you'd want it. So very friendly and accomodating, and just enough "civilization" to keep visitors' needs met.
  • Cons:I did find a pizza place that didn't serve beer. (OK, I'm kidding, this just points out that there ARE no "cons" to Springhill)
  • In a nutshell:Wonderful hosts to the visitor. Reverence and remembrance of the past, pride in today and an eye to the future. Springhill is a great "hometown" place.
  • Last visit to Springhill: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated Nov 8, 2009
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