Port Hawkesbury History

Port Hawkesbury is a town located on the southwestern end of Cape Breton Island, on the north shore of the Strait of Canso, in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

The town was originally named Ship Harbour (after the harbour upon which it is located) and is largely a service centre for western Cape Breton Island with many of its residents working in large industries in an industrial park located in the adjacent community of Point Tupper, Richmond County. The town's schools are Tamarac Education Centre (Grades primary-8), SAERC (Grades 9-12) and the Strait Area Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College.The Port of Port Hawkesbury is the second largest by tonnage annually in Canada, second only to Vancouver, British Columbia due to large volumes of crushed rock and gravel shipments and oil trans-shipments. The Port handled 31.6 million metric tonnes in 2006, 21.6 million tonnes of crude petroleum.

Know by its first name as Ship Harbour, Port Hawkesbury built ships for the timber export trade in the early and mid 19th century, such as the brig James, the subject of one of the earliest ship portraits in Canada. Schooners and fishing boats were also built for the inshore and banks fishery by firms such as the noted boatbuilder H.W. Embree and Sons. The port further developed in the 19th century when railway connections arrived. The construction of the Canso Causeway increased the shelter capacity of the deepwater port leading to further growth in shipping of bulk commodities and the establishment of several heavy industries such as the pulp mill.

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Latest News
October 15, 2021
Committee of the Whole Meeting - October 19, 2021
There will be a Committee of the Whole meeting held virtually on Tuesday, October 19th.  For an invitation to view/attend virtually please...

October 14, 2021
Allen McDonald
  Allen McDonald served many years with the Town of Port Hawkesbury as the manager of the Port Hawkesbury Airport where he also owned and...

October 08, 2021
Notice of Special Public Meeting of Council - Tuesday, October 12, 2021
There will be a Special Public Meeting of Council held virtually on Tuesday, October 12th at 6pm. For an invite to attend/view virtaully please...

October 08, 2021
Town of Port Hawkesbury Municipal Office & Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre Box Office
      The Town of Port Hawkesbury Municipal Office and Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre will be closed Monday, October...