Connecting by Road & Rail
arly transportation in Yarmouth was largely centred on the coast. Gradually, road development linked Yarmouth with the rest of Nova Scotia by land and regular passenger and mail services were established by stage coach. By 1891 railway links with Halifax were completed through the Annapolis Valley and, by 1897, with the opening of the Coast Railway Yarmouth had alternative railway access to Halifax through coastal towns and communities along the south shore of Nova Scotia. Yarmouth became an important port of entry and departure for people and goods moving between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the northeastern United States. Increasingly it became a hub and destination for the fledgling tourism industry. L. E. Baker of Yarmouth, builder of the Grand Hotel, is credited with being the "father of tourism in Nova Scotia".
In the late 19th century, prosperous Yarmouth boasted of a modern and efficient urban transportation system featuring an electric street railway that replaced earlier horse drawn omnibuses.
[Photo captions, from left to right, read]
· The rail connection served Yarmouth for approximately 100 years. It was gradually replaced by improved highways and finally abandoned in 1990.
· Advertising for steamer service between Yarmouth and Boston emphasized convenient connections to Halifax
· This excursion train carried between 1,100 and 1,200 passengers on 12 platform cars accompanied by the Milton Brass Band. It was not until 1879 that the railway line was connected all the way to Digby and 1891 when completion of the controversial and expensive "missing link" between Digby and Annapolis gave Yarmouth a direct rail line connection to Halifax and the rest of the continent.
· The Dominion Atlantic Railway station, Yarmouth. This company took over the Western Counties' Railway, Yarmouth's first railway link through the Annapolis Valley to Halifax.
· An electric street railway crossing with the steam railway line - Yarmouth's most important land connection with the continent at the time.
· Yarmouth Auto Club early 20th century. Yarmouth people embraced the exciting world of automobile travel in its earliest stages. The increasing availability and popularity of automobiles encouraged a demand for improved roads.
· In 1892, Yarmouth established the first electric street railway system in Nova Scotia. It operated until 1928.
· Stage coach service for passenger and mail linked Yarmouth with Halifax and the rest of Nova Scotia with increasing regularity as roads improved over the course of the 19th century. Daily mail service with Halifax began in 1854.
· Horses were favoured over the stronger but slower oxen as a means of transportation.
Oxen were particularly suited for heavy farm work and hauling loads of freight.
· Early 20th century road construction near Yarmouth.
· A contrast in transportation systems in Yarmouth. [Ox-drawn cart and electric streetcar]
· This 1955 aerial view of the Yarmouth waterfront illustrates the close connection between the highway, rail and ferry transportation systems. Yarmouth was a vital transportation hub for Nova Scotia's connection to Saint John, New Brunswick, and New England and continues to be an important entry and departure point for ferry traffic between New England and Nova Scotia as well as a tourist destination in its own right.