While there are no specific dates here is archaeological evidence for First Nations use of the Waterway for over 3,000 years. The earliest known settlement in the Province is in the Debert area approximately 11, 000 years ago. However, there is no evidence these people used the waterway.
1797 - Legislature voted L250 for a survey to assess the practicability of construction of “a navigation” from Halifax Harbour to Minas Basin.
1801, 1814, 1820 - Follow up surveys were conducted.
1824 - Michael Wallace, President of the Legislature contracts engineer, Francis Hall, to prepare plans for the canal.
1825 - July 25th Official Sod Turning in Port Wallace – Lord Dalhousie and James Kempt officiating.
1831 - Construction ceases.
1854 - Work on Canal resumes under the supervision of Engineer Charles William Fairbanks.
As sections of the Canal were completed boats began to make use of it – for example as early as 1857 boats were going from Portobello to Maitland.
1861 - Construction of Canal fully completed and in November Avery makes the first trip from the Harbour to Maitland thus satisfying the requirement placed on the Company by the Provincial Government.
1870 - Last recorded revenue from the Canal
1872 - Lock Keeper, Henry Findlay leaves his job..