Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s three Maritime provinces and constitutes one of the four Atlantic Canada provinces. Its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest province in Canada, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton Island and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2011, the population was 921,727, making Nova Scotia the second-most-densely populated province in Canada.
It is Canada’s second-smallest province in area after Prince Edward Island. The province’s mainland is the Nova Scotia peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, including numerous bays and estuaries. Nowhere in the province is more than 67 km (42 mi) from the ocean. Cape Breton Island, a large island to the northeast of the Nova Scotia mainland, is also part of the province, as is Sable Island, a small island notorious for its shipwrecks, approximately 175 km (110 mi) from the province’s southern coast.
Nova Scotia lies in the mid-temperate zone. Since the province is almost entirely surrounded by the sea, the climate is closer to maritime than to continental climate. The winter and summer temperature extremes of the continental climate are moderated by the ocean.
Described on the provincial vehicle-licence plate as Canada’s Ocean Playground, Nova Scotia is surrounded by four major bodies of water: the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the north, the Bay of Fundy to the west, the Gulf of Maine to the southwest, and Atlantic Ocean to the east.