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Seal Cove Smoked Herring Stands National Historic Site of Canada

Seal Cove, Grand Manan, New Brunswick, E5G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/11/24

Aerial Photo of cove; Parks Canada  Parcs Canada 1996  (HRS 1075)
Aerial of cove
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Other Name(s)

Seal Cove Smoked Herring Stands National Historic Site of Canada
Seal Cove Smoked Herring Stands

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/02/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Seal Cove Smoked Herring Stands NHSC on Grand Manan Island consists of some 54 vernacular wooden buildings, most built between 1870 and 1930, and their associated landscape sited around a cove bounded by breakwaters at its mouth and a creek at its head. These stands are situated between the Atlantic ocean and the village and hills to their rear.

Heritage Value

The Seal Cove Smoked Herring Stands NHSC was designated because:
- their visual richness and evocative nature speak to the culture of the Atlantic smoked herring fishery from the late 19th century to the present;
- of Seal Cove's importance as a leading centre of the fishery as it developed in southern New Brunswick at the end of the 19th century;
- the historical importance combines with its aesthetic richness, resulting from the blending of natural landscape features, industrial buildings that provide vivid evidence of the technology and processes of the fisher, and winding lines of water, to create an extraordinary area once typical of maritime landscapes, but increasingly rare today.

The heritage value of the site resides in the meeting of built and natural features in an aesthetic whole typical of vernacular maritime landscapes of the late 19th century.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes November 1995.

Character-Defining Elements

Elements which characterize the heritage value of this building include:

- the siting of small wooden buildings in dense clusters constituting production units known as 'stands'
- the composition of the stands, comprising a smokehouse, a stringing shed, and sometimes, a boning shed, as well as smaller storage sheds
- the pole wharves and their attendant sluices, hoists and sheds
- the system of narrow, earthen paths and lanes, defining circulation patterns on the site
- the siting of buildings and wharves around the cove, in front of the village

Stringing sheds:
- their simple rectilinear massing, gable-roofed, wood framing and shingle-sheathing
- the use of modest materials in an unfinished state
- their placement along the waterfront, often on piers over the water

- their balloon framing, wooden sheathing, steep, open-gable roofs, sliding windows, and cement foundations
- their design as expandable series of bays providing an open space with drying runners spanning their width
- the use of modest materials in an unfinished sate

Boning sheds:
- their open plan and vernacular wood construction
- their close placement, sometimes joined, to other functional types
- the use of modest materials in an unfinished state




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Extraction and Production

Function - Category and Type



Food Supply
Fisheries Site

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Canadian Inventory of Historic Building Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 525, 25 Eddy Street, Hull, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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