The History of Long and Brier Islands

Welcome to the History of Long and Brier Island,

a blog chronicling the stories and past of Long and Brier Islands, in Digby County, Nova Scotia.



Like the basalt they are built of, the islands have a rich history that is shaped by the sea.


Long and Brier Islands were first inhabited by the Mi’kmaq people, who came to the islands from inland during the summer months to fish and harvest shellfish.

Samuel de Champlain, in his explorations of the area in 1604, mapped and named the passages between the islands – Grand Passage and Petit Passage.

1769 marked the first European-descended settlers – a few families of fishermen and their families from Maine.

In 1783, the area was further settled by families of United Empire Loyalists.

Today, the islands hold four communities: Westport, on Brier Island, and Freeport, Central Grove, and Tiverton on Long Island.


Rodney Stark has spent more than a decade delving into newspaper archives, old ledgers, and other historical documents to research the history of Long and Brier Islands. He has filled dozens of binders with information on nearly 100 topics, and is now working to get that information online so it can be shared by all with an interest in our history.

See the latest blog posts