Cumberland County
Kwesomalegek (Mi'kmaq)
Municipality of the County of Cumberland
Flag of Cumberland County
Location of Cumberland County, Nova Scotia
Location of Cumberland County, Nova Scotia
Coordinates: 45°42′N 64°06′W / 45.7°N 64.1°W / 45.7; -64.1
ProvinceNova Scotia
TownsAmherst / Oxford
EstablishedAugust 17, 1759
IncorporatedApril 17, 1879
Named forPrince William, Duke of Cumberland
Electoral Districts      

ProvincialCumberland North / Cumberland South
 • TypeCumberland County Municipal Council
 • MayorMurray Scott
 • MLAElizabeth Smith-McCrossin (Independent)
Tory Rushton (PCNS)
 • MPStephen Ellis (CPC)
 • Land4,275.77 km2 (1,650.88 sq mi)
 • Total30,538
 • Density7.1/km2 (18/sq mi)
 • Change 2011-16
Time zoneUTC-4 (AST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-3 (ADT)
Area code902
Median Income*$38,433 CAD
  • Median household income, 2005 (all households)

Cumberland County is a county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

Cumberland County was named in 1755 in honour of the Duke of Cumberland. The county was founded in 1759 and was later divided in 1840. The area thrived in the 19th century with the development of lumbering, shipbuilding, and coal mining, but rural outmigration and deforestation led to some communities being abandoned in the 20th century. The county spans an area of 4,271.23 km2 making it Nova Scotia's second largest county, with resources including extensive forest land, several mineral resources, and agricultural areas that concentrate on wild blueberry harvesting. As of the 2021 census, Cumberland County had a population of 30,538, with the majority residing in the Municipality of the County of Cumberland. The county includes two towns, Amherst and Oxford, and two large population centres, Parrsboro and Springhill.


The name Cumberland was applied by Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Monckton to the captured Fort Beauséjour on June 18, 1755 in honour of the third son of King George II, William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, victor at Culloden in 1746 and Commander in Chief of the British forces. The Mi'kmaq name for the area was Kwesomalegek meaning "hardwood point".

Cumberland County was founded on August 17, 1759 as one of Nova Scotia's five original counties. At the time of its founding Cumberland encompassed all of what is now New Brunswick,[3] as that province was part of Nova Scotia until 1784. It is possible that Cumberland's original boundaries extended into what would become the U.S. state of Maine, but this is unconfirmed. When the Township of Parrsboro was divided in 1840, one part was annexed to Cumberland County and the other part annexed to Colchester.

The dividing line between Cumberland and Colchester was established in 1840. In 1897, a portion of the boundary line between the Counties of Colchester and Cumberland was fixed and defined. The county thrived in the 19th century with the development of lumbering, shipbuilding and coal mining. Deforestation and rural outmigration in the 20th century led to the abandonment of some communities such as Eatonville and New Yarmouth.


Cumberland county landscape at Fraserville with Spencers Island in background

The county has a total area of 4,271.23 km2 (1,649.13 sq mi).

Cumberland County is rich in natural resources with extensive forest land supporting lumber mills and pulp contractors. It has many mineral resources, including 2 operating salt mines. Until the 1970s it also had several coal mines which extracted coal from seams that run from Joggins to River Hebert and on to Athol and Springhill.

Agriculture is concentrated on wild blueberry harvesting throughout the Cobequid Hills, as well as mixed farms located in the Tantramar Marshes region, the Northumberland Strait coastal plain, and the Wentworth Valley.

The northwestern edge of Cumberland County forms part of the Isthmus of Chignecto, the natural land bridge connecting the Nova Scotia peninsula to North America. As such, the county hosts several important transportation corridors, including Highway 104 (the Trans-Canada Highway) and CN Rail's Halifax-Montreal railway line. The county line bordering New Brunswick is around 30 kilometres long (18.5 miles). Cumberland is the only county in Nova Scotia that borders another province.

Two towns are located in Cumberland County: Amherst and Oxford. Parrsboro and Springhill both have populations exceeding 1000 people, but lack their own town governments.


As a census division in the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Cumberland County had a population of 30,538 living in 14,139 of its 18,363 total private dwellings, a change of 1.8% from its 2016 population of 30,005. With a land area of 4,275.77 km2 (1,650.88 sq mi), it had a population density of 7.1/km2 (18.5/sq mi) in 2021.[4]

Forming the majority of the Cumberland County census division, the Municipality of the County of Cumberland, including its Subdivisions A, B, C, and D, had a population of 19,964 living in 9,126 of its 12,988 total private dwellings, a change of 2.9% from its 2016 population of 19,402. With a land area of 4,253.04 km2 (1,642.11 sq mi), it had a population density of 4.7/km2 (12.2/sq mi) in 2021.[5]


Main article: List of communities in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia

County municipality and county subdivisions


See also


  1. ^ a b "Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Division". February 9, 2022.
  2. ^ [1] Population and dwelling counts, for Canada and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data
  3. ^ Canning, Kerr (January 22, 2024). "Road to Cumberland".
  4. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada and census divisions". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  5. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), Nova Scotia". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  6. ^ "Canada Year Book 1943-44" (PDF). September 10, 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 10, 2017.
  7. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census
  8. ^ Statistics Canada: 2011 census
  9. ^ "Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada - Data table". April 2, 2008.