Refuge: The Loyalists Come to Nova Scotia


61 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-920427-02-2




Reviewed by Ian A. Andrews

Ian A. Andrews is a high-school social sciences teacher and editor of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association’s Focus.


Doris Hilchey spent 32 years as a school teacher, and the organizational talents of the teacher are evident throughout this short outline, which deals with the 30,000 Loyalists who entered Nova Scotia in the years immediately following the American Revolutionary War. The titles of several chapters (“Who”, “Why”, “When”, “How”, and “Where”) indicate the educational directness in her approach — a straightforward narrative that is designed to inform those who know little about the subject. The use of primary sources and documentation provides an intimate look into the problems and successes experienced by the refugees from the American colonies. Twenty pages of illustrations and maps and a glossary supplement the narrative.

Hilchey explains the British policy regarding the Loyalists, the difficulties with land grants, the construction of instant towns, and the treatment of the diverse groups among the refugees — including minority groups such as the Blacks, whose descendants remained in significant numbers in Nova Scotia. The important role of the Church and education, and the interrelationship of each, in the lives of the Loyalists is also mentioned. This book will be useful to those who wish a basic introduction to the Loyalist beginnings in the East Coast province of Nova Scotia.


Hilchey, Doris, “Refuge: The Loyalists Come to Nova Scotia,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,