Guysborough is located on the scenic Marine Drive halfway between Canso and Port Hawkesbury at the head of Chedabucto Bay. Guysborough County is one of the largest counties in Nova Scotia.
About 500 people live in this picturesque village and although small, Guysborough is the backbone for a number of communities in the surrounding area. It is the administrative centre for the County as well as the main meeting place for community events.
History of Guysborough
This area was first settled in 1632 by Isaac de Razilly when he built Fort St. François à Canso on Fort Point at the entrance to Guysborough Harbour. Nicolas Denys, Governor of the newly formed La Province de la Grande Baie de St. Lawrent, changed the name of the settlement in 1655 to Chedabuctou after the Mi’Kmaq name for the region, and built Fort Chedabuctou on Fort Point as his capital. The fort remained open until 1672. In 1682 the Bergier regime was given rights to the area and established Fort St. Louis à Chedabuctou on Fort Point. This fort was attacked by an armed force from Boston in 1690 and destroyed.
In 1697 the fort was re-established and remained open until 1702. In 1714 the area was given to Bernard LaSonde as a reward for his services during the war with England. During this time the residents of Chedabuctou prospered thanks to the natural resources of the region. They enjoyed peace under the Treaty of Utrecht until 1718 when the English launched a surprise attack on Fort St. Louis in an effort to establish possession of Chedabuctou.
No one knows for certain what happened to the Acadians living here during this battle, but France kept the area until 1764 when the Treaty of Paris surrendered northern Nova Scotia to Great Britain and the Acadians left Chedabuctou for good.
Following the exit of the French inhabitants, a few English settlers moved into the area known as Milford or Chedabuctou. The town was renamed Guysborough after Sir Guy Carleton, Commander-in-Chief of British forces and Governor General of Canada in the 1780s. The major influx of settlement to Guysborough occurred in 1784 when lands were granted to soldiers of regiments disbanded after the American Revolutionary War and to settlers from the former American colonies, who remained loyal to the British crown.
In the 19th century the town became the administrative and service centre for the surrounding county due, in part, to its natural harbour. Since World War II, with the development of an extensive system of roads throughout the county, the harbour’s role has diminished. Today Guysborough village remains the administrative capital of the county, and the forest, fishing and agricultural industries that have long supported the people of Guysborough, continue to support the local economy.