Come explore the beautiful and historic Shubie Park with the help of Bernie Hart, our resident historian. Perfect for school groups, senior groups, youth groups, or families, this tour tells the story of the Shubenacadie Canal: its construction, the function of its locks, and how it enabled a water route across the province of Nova Scotia for the very first time.
Tours begin at the Fairbanks Centre, where you can examine various artifacts discovered within the park itself, including Mi’kmaq tools and arrowheads, and items left over from the temporary homes of canal workers. A wonderful Powerpoint presentation with Bernie is available to deepen your understanding of all the elements of the canal, both natural and engineered, and how they worked together seamlessly. A smaller-scale replica of Downtown Dartmouth’s fascinating Marine Railway Flume House, currently in the process of being rebuilt near Sullivan’s Pond, is also on display. A main attraction at the Fairbanks Centre is the hands-on, working model of the canal’s lock system; kids and adults alike will love transporting boats through the locks and up the canal, getting the unique opportunity to play the role of a 21st century lockkeeper.
The tour then moves into Shubie Park, which surrounds the section of the canal that connects Lake Micmac and Lake Charles. During the walk, you will see Locks 2 and 3 of the canal, the real-life versions of the Fairbanks Centre lock model. Seeing the true scale of the project makes clear what a feat of engineering the canal construction was, especially at a point in history when construction was almost entirely done by hand. The walk also allows you to explore historic canal features like the Holding Pond, the Deep Cut, and the remains of stone blackhouses, built by the canal workers as temporary homes during construction. The experience cannot help but impress upon you how little of this site has been changed over time. In addition to the historic elements of the park, this outdoor walk allows you to enjoy Shubie’s natural beauty, and includes discussion of the park’s abundant plant life, wildlife, and lakeside beaches.
I would like to thank both you and Bernie for a wonderful field trip. My class loved it! They were really engaged and excited to learn so many new things. One of my students announced that he now loves science and wants to be a scientist when he grows up! Thank you also, for including so many aspects in the tour: The history of the Mi'Kmaw, rocks and minerals of the area, plant and animal habitats, and of course the structure and function of the locks - it was a fabulous review of our science units and a great, hands-on way to do it! I hope to get a chance to take another group on a field trip with you sometime in the future. All the best!
Bryn Aldworth, Grade 3/4 teacher
Robert Kemp Turner Elementary School