Canso, NS, incorporated as a town in 1901, population 806 (2011c), 911 (2006c). The Town of Canso is located on Chedabucto Bay, on the northeastern shore of mainland Nova Scotia. Its name derives from the MICMAC Kamsok ("the place beyond the cliffs"). Originally a seasonal camp for the Micmac, by 1604 Canso was well known to French and BASQUE sailors as a fishing and trading base. It remained a major salt-cod processing station for the French seasonal fishery throughout the 17th century. After the TREATY OF UTRECHT (1713), New England fishermen and merchants established a permanent town in the harbour and continued the profitable salt-cod trade with southern Europe and the West Indies. The British established a garrison there in 1720 following Micmac raids on the fishing stations, but it was unable to prevent the destruction of Canso by the French in 1744. The following year New England militia used the harbour as a base from which to launch their successful siege of the Fortress of LOUISBOURG.
By 1760 the community had re-established itself, but it was destroyed again during the AMERICAN REVOLUTION. After 1812, political stability brought prosperity through shipbuilding, trade and fishing.
Between 1881 and 1894 transatlantic cables were landed here, making Canso a major communications link between North America and Europe. Today the main employer is a fish processing plant with tourism increasing in importance. Each summer, the Stan ROGERS International Folk Festival draws music enthusiasts. Grassy Island National HISTORIC SITE is just offshore.