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Discover Our Industrial Heritage

Historic industry is everywhere. Learn about a few of our sites below.

Dams and Generating Stations

The generating station at St. Croix has been operated by Minas Pulp & Power for decades. The generator rarely needs maintenance and is hardly ever offline, a testament to the longevity and practicality of water power. In May 2013, our IHNS members were given a tour of the generating facilities as part of our spring field trip.


The Burrell-Johnson Iron Co. is one of Yarmouth's most notable element of heritage industry surviving to the present day.

The community of Londonderry was once host to a massive iron foundry complex, including 66 brick-lined coke ovens. Pictured here is the remains of one of the ovens, missing the front half of its enclosure after being partially dismantled following the closing of the foundry.

Members, help us complete this category. We're looking for more images including the Robb Iron Foundry and the Hillis & Sons Foundry.

Engines and Equipment

A beautiful example of a working Acadia stationary engine, made ca. 1922. This engine is part of the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm collection.

Farming and Agriculture

Women at the Davies Poultry Farm sort and "candle" eggs to determine the condition of the yolks and whites. This photograph was taken ca. 1955, and is courtesy the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm.

Gristmills and Textile Mills

The Barrington Woolen Mill is part of the Nova Scotia Museum complex. The equipment found here is not part of a reconstruction - it's the original machinery used when the mill was operated as a business in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A water turbine below the building powered the belt-driven spinning mules and carding machines, all of which is still on display to the public.


Harvey Patterson built the first buses used in Dartmouth, as well as many other vehicles. His business later became Bluenose woodworkers and is now a Recycle Depot and store. Here is a wagon he built for use in the dairy business, ca. 1940. Image courtesy the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm.

Vogler's Oar and Handle Mill was the subject of a recording trip made by IHNS in 2010.

The Dartmouth Ropeworks stood on Wyse Road for many years, eventually becoming "The Old Mill" tarvern. The building has now been replaced by a modern Sobey's grocery store, where the memory of the old structure is preserved in the upstairs Ropeworks Community Room. The date stone from the original building (right, top of the building) was also salvaged and is now kept at the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm.

Mining and Fuel Production

The local furnace oil truck is a regular sight during Canadian winters. Trucks like this one were on the road in the 1960s to keep our Nova Scotian houses cozy. Image courtesy the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm.

Members, help us complete this category. We're looking for more images including DOSCO / SYSCO, Fundy Gypsum, and more.

Ship Building, Shipping, and Fisheries

The Shelburne Boat Shop

Sawmills and Log-Driving

The Sutherland Steam Mill is part of the Nova Scotia Museum complex. Here visitors will find not only the vertical and circular saws typical of a nineteenth century mill, but also examples of the band saws, patterns, and other equipment that made decorative gingerbread possible on many of Nova Scotia's historic houses.

A wood and iron log flume at Sandy Lake was one of Nova Scotia's last and possibly one of its longest at over 130 feet, designed to bypass a large dam. Sadly the flume has been dismantled in recent years, but not before IHNS was able to photograph and record the structure.

The modern Bowater-Mersey Mill shows that while some technologies have changed, the iconic sawdust pile is a staple of any lumber industry.

Railways and Roads

Trains and railways are important elements of industrial heritage, but equally important are the innovations which made railways possible. To the left is a steam shovel working on the Musquodoboit / Dartmouth rail line, and to the right, a stone crusher. Both images are ca. 1916 and are courtesy the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm.

When the Indian Sluice Bridge to Surrette's Island in Yarmouth County was constructed in 1909 it was an engineering marvel. At 300 feet the central span was the longest ever built in Atlantic Canada at the time. Due to the intense currents of the Sluice, the centre span had to be constructed upstream of the piers and floated into place at ebb tide.

Members, help us complete this category. We're looking for more images including the Shubenacadie Canal, the "Flying Bluenose," and the Chignecto Marine Railway.

Tradesmen's Industries

Members, help us complete this category. We're looking for more images including blacksmithing, cooperages, and more.