About Downtown Antigonish

Antigonish, Nova Scotia
2016 People’s Choice – Neighbourhood

This vibrant community is alive with creative and historic culture, engaged citizens, an entrepreneurial and cooperative spirit and a strong sense of pride! A walk through Downtown Antigonish presents colorful buildings, heritage buildings, boxes and hanging baskets of flowers everywhere, giant murals on the sides of many of the buildings and trees all along the street. It is a beautiful setting, and you can tell that the community is proud of our Main Street. It is evident by the number of people that can be found enjoying one of the many patios, shopping at our unique retailers, gathering to socialize at a street corner, or taking a stroll through the Downtown. The community really becomes a-buzz during the many events and festivals that take place throughout the year, and that includes the annual September return of university students to the community.


What do you see in this space? How do people in the community enjoy it?

  • Colourful buildings
  • Heritage structures
  • Giant murals
  • Residents and visitors enjoy the patios along Main Street
  • Unique retailers
  • Numerous festivals and events
  • University centered town

Events and Festivals:

  • Antigonish Highland Games
  • Antigonish 55+ Games
  • Antigonish Art Fair
  • Music On Main
  • Canada Day Celebrations
  • Antigonight – Art After Dark Festival
  • Eastern NS Exhibition
  • Festival Antigonish
  • GoArts, The Gathering of the Arts
  • Antigonish International Film Festival
  • The Heartland Bike Tour
  • Zucchinifest Antigonish
  • Remembrance Day Ceremony
  • Holiday Parade

Economic and Retail Activities:

  • Independent Shops
  • Home-based Businesses
  • Summer and Winter Farmers’ Markets
  • Restaurants
  • Galleries and Art Studios
  • Hospital and Health Care Centres
  • Libraries
  • University, Public Schools and Daycares
  • Care Facilities

Historic and Heritage Features:

  • Town Hall is a historic building, constructed in 1905 and surrounded by numerous heritage homes
  • Saint Francis Xavier University has many of the original buildings, including Xavier Hall, built in 1880

Memorable and Unique Characteristic(s):

  • The Antigonish Movement of cooperation, supported by The Coady Institute is recognized internationally as an important contributor to international development
  • Water is significant to Antigonish, as significant flooding happens every year in close proximity to the Downtown. This occurrence has shaped development patterns of the Town and embedded environmental awareness into the fabric of the community


  • The Antigonish Design Guidelines preserve and support our built heritage while allowing modern development to take place
  • 142 Main Street pushed the height envelope with a 4 storey, modern but complementary, mixed-use building
  • 208 Main Street provides a different form of housing with convertible micro-unit apartments in this mixed-use building


  • As a small town with a big university, StFx students double our population for 8 months of the year
  • A larger percentage of the permanent population are in senior years, but the influx of students means that there is a strong youth presence in the community as well
  • Strong heritage and student pride have kept many young families in the community

Additional Comments:

Submitted by: Brynn Nheiley