Mahone Bay's Heritage Boat Yard Co-op

Celebrating our heritage, our legacy, our pride. Mahone Bay, NS


did not fined image Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia was founded in 1754 by Ephram Cook.  Ephram was required to build 2 boats in order to found the community.  So was the beginning of our town.  For over 200 years boatbuilding was the core of our community. Building boats to meet the demand of our and neighbouring communities involved in the fishing, transportation, trade and war efforts.  In the early 1900’s a demand arose from the recreational yachting market. Mahone Bay was the first major builder of high end luxury yachts with Obed Ham Yachtworks. This industry thrived until the mid 1970’s when Paceship Yachts closed.  Our legacy as a community of boatbuilders ended then.  Now hardly a trace remains of this vibrant and successful industry.

This Boatyard/Interpretive Centre would significantly add to the inventory of things to “see, do, and experience” in this part of the province, bringing in new activities that could be programmed from the site with an appeal to a broad range of visitors from those who want to see and experience the history of boatbuilding in the area, to those who are interested in more hands-on opportunities to learn the craft, to those who would be interested in commissioning a wooden boat for their own use or models, including model ships.

The Heritage Boat Yard Co-operative Limited was incorporated on March 2, 2011 as a member of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council by the Province of Nova Scotia with twelve subscribing members. Our stated objective is to establish and operate a small craft boat yard, model shop and interpretative centre.

With support from our local businesses, our Town, the Mahone Bay Marina and a great volunteer base we are constructing our Boatbuilding Shed on the Mahone Bay Marina's property. This little boatbuilding shed is constructed the traditional way using local hemlock wood and post and beam joinery. This is our fourth major project, with the shipyard database being our first, ship silhouette signage our second, interpretive panels on 6 of our major shipyards our third project. Looking forward to building 16 foot rowing skiffs in our Boatbuilding Shed as our fifth project.

Combining tourism, business, educational and historical perspectives, this project will be of historic significance to the South Shore of Nova Scotia and will highlight the distinctive characteristics of the shipbuilding industry from this area. It will appeal to:
- Tourists,
- Descendants of the area's settlers and ship building families,
- Heritage motivated people,
- Boat builders who ply their trade in this area,
- Amateur boat builders who love the look of traditional boats,
- Students of the area.

Heritage BoatYard Co-op's three primary goals

The Heritage BoatYard Co-op's primary objective in celebrating Mahone Bay's ship building heritage is to build small boats the traditional way in our own boatyard.

Host model builders, the models they make and a model builders association in our Heritage BoatYard. Today we host the Annual Model Show since 2012 in Mahone Bay during the Mahone Bay Museum's Home and Garden Festival

Host information, artifacts and stories of the shipyards, ships and people who in our own boatyard.

Our Silhouette Project is completed. Below are 16 ships silhouettes displayed about town, representing ships built in Mahone Bay.

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Links to similar activities, celebrating our Nova Scotia boatbuilding heritage.