Antigonish, "The Big Town", is a town in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia. The town is home to St. Francis Xavier University and the oldest continuous Highland games outside of Scotland. It is approximately one hundred miles (161 km) northeast of Halifax.
The name Antigonish is of Mi'kmaq origin. The original definition has been
lost as the Mi'kmaq language has undergone many revisions over the last two
centuries. The first European settlement took place in 1784 when Colonel Timothy
Hierlihy received a large land grant surrounding Antigonish Harbour. Hierlihy
and his party founded the Dorchester settlement, named for Sir Guy
Carleton, who was Governor General of Canada and subsequently Lord Dorchester.
In 1796 another settler, with the assistance of a First Nations guide, blazed a
trail from Antigonish Harbour to Brown's Mountain, using the shortest route.
This trail became a guide for travellers and eventually evolved into a winding
Main Street. By the late 1820s, Dorchester was commonly referred to as
Antigonish. In 1852, a newspaper, The Casket, began publication and
continues to this day as an independent paper.
Antigonish is notable for having a social movement named for it, the Antigonish Movement, launched from St. Francis Xavier University in the 1920s by local priests and educators including Rev. Dr. Moses Coady and Father Jimmy Tompkins. The town is also the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish.
St. Francis Xavier University is located in Antigonish. It was established in Antigonish in 1855, having been founded in 1853 in Arichat, Cape Breton and originally called the College of East Bay after East Bay, Nova Scotia where an earlier institution had once existed (1824–1829). St.F.X. was originally a Catholic seminary and was granted full university powers in 1866 by an act of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. St. Francis Xavier has 4,267 full-time students and 500 part-time students. It was named as the best undergraduate university in Canada by Maclean's magazine for five consecutive years (2002–2006). St. Francis Xavier is also well known for the X-Ring and the Coady International Institute
The elementary and secondary schools in Antigonish fall under the jurisdiction of the Strait Regional School Board. Antigonish is home to three public schools: Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School, St. Andrew Junior School and the Antigonish Education Centre. There has been a large Scottish Gaelic revival in the area and as of September 2013, more than 260 children in Antigonish were studying Gaelic at 4 of the local schools.
The annual Antigonish Highland Games have been held since 1863. The first games were held to raise funds for the construction of St. Ninian 's Cathedral.
Antigonish is a service centre for the surrounding region that includes Antigonish and Guysborough Counties and many local businesses are based in the service sector. There are no major industrial operations located in the town or county. The workforce is primarily white collar with the largest employers being St. Martha's Regional Hospital and St. Francis Xavier University. Until 2011, Antigonish accommodated Canada Post 's National Philatelic Centre, which provided mail-order services for worldwide collectors of Canadian stamps.
Antigonish info reproduced from Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigonish,_Nova_Scotia under the Creative Commons License