“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Dartmouth in Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia — The Canadian Atlantic

Historic Shubenacadie Canal System

Lock 2


—1824-31 ——— 1856-70 —

Historic Shubenacadie Canal System Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 15, 2014
1. Historic Shubenacadie Canal System Marker
Inscription. Vessels entering Lock two, traveling northward, were approximately 19 meters above the level of the Harbour. This lock would raise them another three or four meters enabling them the make their way along the canal to Lock three. This present lock was completed in 1857. However the first lock at this site was constructed by Irish and Scottish canal workers in the late 1820’s. It was built totally of granite and was much larger than the present one - six meters longer and over a meter wider. The granite was obtained from the King’s Quarry in Purcells Cove. Horse-drawn carts transported the rough stones from the Harbour to the foot of Lake Banook where they were loaded on a barge and transported to the shore close by. The final shaping of the stones was carried out in this area by highly skilled stone masons who lived in small crude huts just to the east of the lock.

The granite used on the east wall of Lock two was from the original structure. However, all the stones had to be removed and reset. The west wall was constructed following a procedure used on American waterway such as the Morris Canal in New Jersey which became a model for the Shubenacadie. Because of the two types of construction, this Lock is referred to by engineers as a “hybrid.” This may be te only such lock in existence.

Not far from this
Historic Shubenacadie Canal System Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 15, 2014
2. Historic Shubenacadie Canal System Marker
This marker is the one in the distance.
Lock, on the shores of Lake Micmac, was a camping area used by the Mi’kmaq who frequently canoed the canal system. When their craft were loaded, the Mi’kmaq used the locks and inclined plane in a manner similar to the canal barges. There are a number of referenced in the canal-keepers’ logs which speak of passing a canoe through the lock or over the incline. Other stop-over areas used by the Mi’kmaq were located near Red Bridge Pond and on lands now known as Findlay Park, adjacent to Lock one. During the 1970’s an archaeological excavation on the shores of Lake Micmac unearthed many stone tools which are now part of the collection of the Nova Scotia Museum.

(Sidebar on the left. To enlarge the map, click of the photo image.)

• Used by the Mi’kmaq for centuries, the Shubenacadie waterway was carved out of the bedrock by glaciers during the last ice age.
• Work on the Canal system began in 1826, ceased in 1831 and resumed in 1854. The Canal was completed in 1861. Construction of 9 locks, and 2 incline planes connected the chain of 7 lakes and the Shubenacadie River enabling boats to travel from Halifax Harbour to the Minas Basin.
• The Shubenacadie Canal opened in sections and operated between 1856 and 1870. Steam vessels hauled barges laden with goods along the System.
• By 1870, railways were able to transport goods cheaper and faster
Lock 2 image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 15, 2014
3. Lock 2
forcing closure of the Canal.
• Today the Shubenacadie Canal System is a National Historic Civil Engineering site and a popular recreation and heritage corridor.
Erected 2001 by Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE), Robin Hood Chapter.
Location. 44° 41.973′ N, 63° 33.166′ W. Marker is in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in Halifax Regional Municipality. Marker can be reached from Lock Road, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 54 Lock Road, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2X, Canada.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Barges, Steamboats and Scows (a few steps from this marker); A Testament to Hard Work (within shouting distance of this marker); Lightning Strikes at Canal Camp (within shouting distance of this marker); Unique Construction (within shouting distance of this marker); A Village of the Most Primitive Description (about 120 meters away, measured in a direct line); Of Bough and Bark (about 180 meters away); A Changing Lake-scape (about 180 meters away); Before the Canal (approx. 0.2 kilometers away). Click for a list of all markers in Dartmouth.
More about this marker. This marker is on the east side of Lock 2 near the bridge over the lock.
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 242 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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