Ships Start Here

Nova Scotia. Built to build.

Nova Scotia’s response to the
Government of Canada’s National
Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

Halifax Shipyard

Modern History of the Shipyard

Halifax Shipyard has a long history of shipbuilding and manufacturing. Through ups and downs it has been a consistent reminder that this place and this shipyard is built to build.

The Halifax Graving Dock Company was destroyed in the 1917 Halifax Explosion, but in 1918 a Montreal group purchased the facility and established Halifax Shipyards Limited.

The facility and stocks changed hands a few times, and during World War II the shipyard built the first all-Canadian destroyers. And it also repaired over 7,200 ships that had been damaged in the battle of the Atlantic.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the shipyard built many small ships, as well as several oil drilling rigs and a self-dynamically positioning SEDCO drill ship.

In the 1970s, the shipyard received $7.5 million in upgrades, including the purchase of a floating dock.

In 1983, a Panamax floating dock was installed, which gave the shipyard the capabilities to repair the largest ships on the eastern seaboard. In 1985 the shipyard was purchased by a group of Nova Scotians who renamed it Halifax-Dartmouth Industries Limited.

In 1994, it was purchased by Irving-owned Saint John Shipbuilding Limited. It was renamed Halifax Shipyard.

In addition to commercial and military ship repair projects, Halifax Shipyard proceeded to build 12 coastal defence vessels for the Canadian Navy as well as a number of commercial vessels such as offshore supply ships.

In 2009, 120 years of quality shipbuilding was celebrated at Halifax Shipyard and Irving Shipbuilding experienced one of the most important years in its history in terms of unprecedented growth and success. In 2010, the organization more than doubled in size to a workforce numbering 1,200, in order to deliver on projects won and to effectively position itself for the future.

Today, Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax Shipyard is focused squarely on its vision of becoming “a trusted Centre of Excellence for building and maintaining the federal fleet for the next 30 years.” The team at Halifax Shipyard stays on track toward this goal by being Project-driven, Process-centered, and People-focused.


More information:

Samuel Cunard played a massive role in Halifax’s early shipping and shipbuilding industry. His legacy lives on in Halifax today. [More on Samuel Cunard]

Read this 1918 article from the New York Times about the Halifax Shipyard [PDF]

(Information for this page provided by the Nova Scotia Archives)