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Beaver Pond Municipal Heritage Site

Harbour Breton, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/02/25

View of Beaver Pond, Harbour Breton, NL. Date unknown.; Doug Wells 2009
Beaver Pond, Harbour Breton, NL
Historic photo showing men cutting ice on Beaver Pond, Harbour Breton, NL. Date unknown.; Sunny Cottage Heritage Centre 2009
Beaver Pond, Harbour Breton, NL
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/04/01

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Beaver Pond is located along Route 360 at the entrance to the community of Harbour Breton, in an area of the community known as The Arm. The municipal heritage designation includes the body of water known locally as Beaver Pond and a buffer zone of ten metres from the edge of that body of water.

Heritage Value

Beaver Pond has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Harbour Breton because of its historic and cultural values.

Beaver Pond has historic value for the community of Harbour Breton because of its long association with the fishing industry, in particular the supply trade that flourished in the community. Beaver Pond was an important source of ice for fishing schooners. The pond is shallow and produces thick ice. During the winter months many residents cut the ice and sold it to schooners from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, who used the ice to preserve bait on the journey to the fishing grounds. Beaver Pond was a primary source of ice from the early 1800s, when the British merchant firm Newman and Company were established in Harbour Breton, up until the mid 1900s.

Once the pond had frozen, the ice was cut into blocks using pit saws. The blocks measured approximately 45 or 50 centimetres square. The ice blocks were loaded on wooden slides and hauled to icehouses that were constructed from heavy timbers and located near the waterfront. The ice was covered in sawdust that was obtained from sawmills in Bay d’Espoir and the icehouses were surrounded with boughs to shade them from the sun. The ice was stored in the icehouses until it was sold. During the 1930s ice often sold for five dollars a dory load and many icehouses held twenty dory loads of ice. It would take about two weeks to cut this amount of ice. The demand for ice would drop once the caplin run was over, usually around the latter part of June.

Cutting ice was a successful enterprise for many individuals, families and businesses in Harbour Breton, as numerous fishing schooners used the port as a supply centre. Over the years, business people such as Mr. John Rose, Mr. Henry Elliot and Mr. Hugh Coady all “put up ice” in Harbour Breton. They sold ice to the bankers, along with keeping a supply for their own usage. Mr. George Chapman and his two sons, Tom and Bill and the Pierce family also cut ice from Beaver Pond for many years.

Beaver Pond has cultural value because of its continued use by the community - historically for subsistence activities and modernly for recreational uses. As well as being a source of ice, the frozen pond was used as an access route to good stands of timber, particularly in the Bungay’s Pond and Bobby’s Droke (now known as Moonlit Valley) areas. Beaver Pond is still used today as a winter recreational area for ice skating and snowmobiling.

Source: Town of Harbour Breton Regular Council Meeting Motion 09-012:W February 25, 2009

Character-Defining Elements

Those elements relating to this landscape feature’s historic and cultural values, including:
- public access to and use of Beaver Pond, and;
- the name Beaver Pond.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

2009/01/01 to 2009/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Extraction and Production

Function - Category and Type



Nature Element

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
1 Springdale Street
St. John's, NL
A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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