Located in downtown Dartmouth, Lock 1 is the first lock boats would enter when coming from Halifax Harbour. It connected Sullivan’s Pond, which was artificially created as part of canal, with Lake Banook. Currently, Lock 1 is surrounded by Henry Findlay Park, named for the lock keeper responsible for the southernmost third of the Shubenacadie Canal between 1858 and 1872. The park features parking off Nowlan Street as well as a playground and adult exercise equipment.
During the first canal construction period from 1826 to 1831, this lock was intended as one of a series of as many as seven locks between Halifax Harbour and Lake Banook. When construction stalled in 1831, it was designated as Lock 6. It became Lock 1 in 1854, when the Dartmouth marine railway was proposed to replace all of the locks to the south.
Lock 1 was constructed in the British style using granite from Purcell’s Cove, with much of this material dating from the first phase of construction in 1826. The wooden lower gates, meanwhile, are replicas of what would have been in place while the lock was operating in the 1860s. This blend of British and American influences is characteristic of many of the older locks on the Shubenacadie Canal.
The upper gate is a much more recent innovation. In 1971, Hurricane Beth caused severe flooding in downtown Dartmouth. To prevent this from happening in future storms, a modern water control gate was installed shortly thereafter to regulate the water level in Lake Banook and the connected Lake Micmac. This structure effectively replaced the falling leaf gate that would have been present while the lock was operational.