Few people had ever flown in an airplane in 1931, but thanks to one airborne photographer of the day, the Nova Scotia Archives has issued a fascinating collection of aerial photos.

A pilot and photographer flew over much of Nova Scotia in the summer of 1931 and snapped more than 200 black-and-white photos.

The collection is called “Nova Scotia from the Air: The Richard McCully Aerial Photograph Collection” and is available on the archives website.

“You may be able to see your grandparents’ farm, including the curtains that your grandmother hung at the window, or you may be able to see industrial complexes that have disappeared,” says Lois Yorke, director of the Nova Scotia Archives.

The Town of Truro is among the 39 communities on display.

In one shot two people are playing tennis, and there’s also an aerial view of Stanfield’s factory, which looks just slightly different today.

“Beautiful, beautiful photographs,” says Nan Harvey, an archivist at the Colchester Museum. “It’s really, really neat to realize that they were done in the 1930s and they were aerial and they’re still around.”

Museum volunteer Gladys Otterson knew about one of the old photos, but didn’t realize there were so many more.

“What I like about it is that it shows the roundhouse and it shows all the, a lot of streets, Truro streets,” she says.

Richard McCully is credited with pioneering commercial aerial photography in Atlantic Canada while his partner on the project, David Reid, worked in photography studios in Amherst, Saint John and Moncton.

“The pilots also did a route through New Brunswick and that portion of the collection has been at the provincial archives in Fredericton for several years,” says Yorke.

She hopes the collection will connect Maritimers with their past and offer a new perspective on their community.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh