Mi'kmaq were the first travelers on the waterways

It is well known that the Mi’kmaq were early inhabitants of what is now Nova Scotia and archaeologists have found clear evidence of dwelling sites, particularly in association with waterways. It was common for groups to move to the coast in the summer and to the hinterland during the colder periods of the year. The Nova Scotia Museum has wonderful exhibits depicting the life of the Mi’kmaq and their travels. The Mi’kmaq were the first users of a number of the waterways and they introduced the Europeans to these. Overnight Mi’kmaq camp sites were located at the North end of Lake MicMac and at the South end of Lake Charles. These would have been used as they made their way between the interior and the coast. It was through the Mi’kmaq the European settlers became aware of this inland, cross-province route and when the canal was complete the Mi’kmaq often made use of the inland locks.

-Bernie Hart

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On this day in history

On this date one hundred and ninety one years ago the sod was turned to launch the building of the Shubenacadie Canal. The man turning the sod was Lord Dalhousie, Governor General of British North America. this was taking place near the present location of Lock 2, not far from the shores of Lake Micmac. It was estimated that about two thousand people had come to witness the ceremony which was also attended by a Guard from the Citadel who were responsible for firing a Canon which had been transported to the site. Once the ceremony was over the Canal workers began digging what we now know as the Cut between Lakes Micmac and Charles. However, the dignitaries made their way to a fashionable home in downtown Dartmouth where the celebration was continued.

The Historic Marine Railway Flume House

The Marine Railway Flume House on the Dartmouth Greenway is really coming together! The project is a life-sized reproduction of the Flume House that controlled the Dartmouth Marine Railway from 1861-1871, allowing boats to travel from the Halifax Harbour into Sullivan’s Pond and thus enter the Shubenacadie Canal waterway. The Flume House used gears and a turbine to harness the power of the water flowing from Sullivan’s Pond, and then used that power to move a boat-carrying Cradle up and down the set of tracks that existed between the pond and the Harbour. The ongoing project to recreate this impressive structure is an initiative of the HRM, with support from the Shubenacadie Canal Commission on its historical aspects. The Commission is in the home stretch of fundraising efforts, but still needs a remaining $15,000 to complete the structure’s historic elements. Click here to donate. For more information on how the Flume House and the Marine Railway worked, check out this great video that outlines the process, or stop by the Fairbanks Centre at Shubie Park to see a smaller, complete model of the structure.

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