The lists of men working on the Canal often classified them on the basis of their roles and responsibilities. We have already spoken about Stone Masons, Blacksmiths and Carpenters. One of the most common categories is that of “Navvie”. This is not a term or name presently used in our area. However, during the canal-building era in Great Britain it was common practice to refer to the labourers on Canals as navigators or “navvies” and this was the case on the Shubenacadie Canal during the first construction phase (1826-1831). The Navvies would do much of the heavy lifting and would assist the skilled tradesmen such as the Masons and Carpenters. Do you recognize any of these names all of whom were classed as Navvies and all of whom have the first name John? They are John Dunn, John Fanning, John Orman and John Stacks. Please contact us if any of these family names are familiar to you.