Another Yard Gone

Another shipyard is being turned into condos with an expensive view of a harbour front, following the trend across Canada that is seeing our ship repair business dwindling to a few survivors.

Dartmouth Marine Slips started business in 1890, though a marine shipyard was located at Dartmouth Cove beginning in 1830.

I found the aerial photo, below, online, which shows the yard in the 50s.


I joined my first ship there in the 80's. It was sitting on a slip on the end of the facility, 90˚ to the rest of the slips. The ship had been there for months having bottom damage repaired.
( Legend had it the the 2nd engineer, who was afraid of heights, would leave and rejoin the ship through the hole in the bottom, coming out in the engineroom and frightening the on-duty oiler half to death). On the first slip nearest the railway tracks, a fishing vessel sat for months. It had slipped off the blocks while the dock was being winched from the water and laid against the dock wall. Then one day she was gone, I never found out if they broke it up there or gambled that it would refloat and launched her.

The yard hummed with activity back then, with several smaller ships being hauled and undergoing refits at the same time. The machine and welding shops were busy and the fitters would go to ships throughout the harbour to do work.

As the years went by, business dried up and the workforce was laid off. In 2003 the Dartmouth Marine Slips was closed for good. The last ship they had worked on was the CCGS Parizeau in 2000, before that the CCGS Cygnus life extension. This was a far cry from the 40's when the yard was flat out doing repairs to naval and other ships.

Today the slips are gone, the marine railways pulled up and bulldozers and dump trucks are busy infilling. In a few years only housing for the wealthy will be on this locations.

In the picture to the right, the red brick buildings and dock, is the Maritime Regions Canadian Coast Guard base. Cutbacks over the years, have left those docks in bad repair and with the movement of the last two large icebreakers to Newfoundland, this base will be closed and the remaining ships based out of BIO. It is coincidental, I am sure that while this is happening, Quebec had a huge influx of cash to facelift their CG base, for the 400 anniversary of something. This waterfront area will be the next expensive condo development.

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