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Lock #5, Shubenacadie Canal

53 Kings Road, Wellington, Nova Scotia, B2T, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1996/02/19

Looking north through Lock 5 into Grand Lake, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage
North view into Grand Lake
Looking south from Grand Lake, entrance to Lock 5, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage
Entrance to Lock 5
Detail of lock wall and gate of Lock 5, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage
Detail of Wall and Gate

Other Name(s)

Lock #5, Shubenacadie Canal
Lock Five, Shubenacadie Canal
Shubenacadie Canal, Lock 5

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/10/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Lock #5 of the Shubenacadie Canal chain is located in Wellington, N.S. It is a masonry structure approximately 142 feet long by 17 feet wide by 22 feet deep that connects Grand Lake to the Shubenacadie River system. Provincial registration applies to structures and the surrounding land.

Heritage Value

Lock #5 in the Shubenacadie Canal system is valued as a representation of a significant civil engineering achievement and because of its important role in the history of Nova Scotia transportation. It was an integral part of a 115 kilometer, trans-province inland waterway that consisted of nine locks, seven lakes, two inclined planes (ship railway) and the Shubenacadie River. The Shubenacadie Canal linked Halifax Harbour to the Bay of Fundy between 1826 and 1870.

Lock #5 was designed by engineer Frances Hall and was first constructed in 1828, rebuilt in 1856 by C. W. Fairbanks and restored in 1991.

The Lock 5 Canal site reportedly housed up to thirty masons and labourers during construction and on the east side of the site there was a shipyard that built the steam vessels and barges that plied the Canal route. Lock keeper William King also lived on the site and kept valuable logbooks and diaries that gave insight into life on the Shubenacadie Canal in the mid-nineteenth century.

Source: Provincial Heritage Property Registry files, File No. 00PNS0208

Character-Defining Elements

Character-Defining Elements of Lock 5 in the Shubenacadie Canal system relate to its use as a functioning lock and include:

- elements that connect water levels of Grand Lake and the Shubenacadie River;
- building materials of large blocks of cut granite, set in mortar;
- steel and cast iron gears and operating machinery;
- lock gates constructed of heavy timber with steel reinforcing.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1856/01/01 to 1856/01/01
1991/01/01 to 1991/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Canal or Canal Works


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Registry found at Heritage Property Program, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3A6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Records relating to the building of the Shubenacadie Canal are available at the Dartmouth Heritage Musuem, inlcuding plans and logbooks of the canal keeper.

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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