ST PATRICK’S DAY AND THE SHUBENACADIE CANAL

“What in the world does the Shubenacadie Canal have to do with St. Patrick’s day?”  Well, at the very least, it is clear the Canal has a lot to do with the Irish.  It was in 1827, the year after the official sod turning which initiated the work on the Canal, that the ship Corsair arrived from Scotland with a number of Canal workers and their families.  “But what’s this got to do with Ireland”, you ask.  Well, the year before this there had been a strike of Canal workers in Scotland and it was only because men were brought from Ireland that work on the Forth and Clyde Canal in Scotland could continue. 

However, this project ended in 1827.  What were these Irish workers to do then?  Well several Nova Scotians who were in Scotland seeking experienced Canal workers had an answer to this question.  “Come aboard the ship Corsair which is bound for Nova Scotia and we will hire you to work on the Shubenacadie Canal”.   And come they did.   Once they arrived in Dartmouth they built crude homes of stone, wood and sod.  The remains of a few of these are still visible.  A number of families settled around the area we now call Sullivan’s Pond Park which was named after the man who oversaw the excavation of the Pond.

You have probably noticed that the name of the lower part of what was Pine St. is now, very appropriately, called Irishtown Rd. 

 Irishtown can be seen in this historical photo of Sullivan's Pond. It is the area around the pond and South towards the harbour. 

Irishtown can be seen in this historical photo of Sullivan's Pond. It is the area around the pond and South towards the harbour.