Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia

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Sheet Harbour
Rural Community
Sheet Harbour is located in Nova Scotia
Sheet Harbour
Sheet Harbour
Location within Nova Scotia
Coordinates: 44°55′N 62°32′W / 44.917°N 62.533°W / 44.917; -62.533Coordinates: 44°55′N 62°32′W / 44.917°N 62.533°W / 44.917; -62.533
Country  Canada
Province  Nova Scotia
Municipality Halifax Regional Municipality
District 1
Founded 1784
 • Type Regional Council
 • Governing Council Halifax Regional Council
 • Community Council Marine Drive Valley and Canal
 • Total 188.38 km2 (72.73 sq mi)
Highest elevation 114 m (374 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2013)
 • Total 882
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
 • Summer (DST) ADT (UTC-3)
Canadian Postal code B0J 3B0
Telephone Exchange 902 885
Highways Trunk 7
Route 224
Route 374
Part of a series about Places in Nova Scotia
Sheet Harbour Welcome Sign

Sheet Harbour is a rural community on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is part of the Halifax Regional Municipality and lies along the Marine Drive on Nova Scotia Trunk 7 approximately 117 kilometres (73 mi) northeast of Halifax.


Sheet Harbour is a small rural community located on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, in the eastern third of the Halifax Regional Municipality. It is the major community in the area, being the shopping, job and educational hub for about 5,500 people.[1] Sheet Harbour is located slightly inland compared to other coastal communities in the area, due to the shape of the harbour.

The population of Census Tract 2050154.00, which includes Sheet Harbour, as well as a large amount of land that is not in Sheet Harbour's borders is 3,478 as of the 2011 Census.[2] The population of just Sheet Harbour is 882 as of 2013.[3]

Physical harbour[edit]

Sheet Harbour is located on the shores of Sheet Harbour (the harbour itself), a 2-pronged harbour: The west and wider arm is the Northwest Arm. The eastern and smaller arm is referred to as the Northeast Arm. The two arms connect just below Church Point, southeast of where West River meets the Northwest Arm. The harbour continues southeast-ward, then southward toward the Atlantic.[4]

The Northwest Arm is the wider arm out of the two. It flows northwest until it meets the mouth of West River at the West River Falls.[4]

The Northeast Arm is the shorter and narrower arm. It flows northwest, then curves northeast, until it meets the head of the East River.[4]

The harbour from Church Point, where the two arms meet, to Sheet Rock is referred to as Sheet Harbour. It is wider than both than the NW and NE Arms. It gradually widens as it flows toward the Atlantic Ocean. After Church Point, It flows southeast-ward past the Sheet Harbour Industrial Port and the community of Watt Section, Nova Scotia. It then curves and flows southwest-ward/southward toward the Atlantic, passing southeast of Mushaboom, Nova Scotia, northwest of Sober Island, Nova Scotia and east of Taylor Head Provincial Park, where it meets Sheet Rock and subsequently empties in to the Atlantic Ocean.[4]

The Two Rivers[edit]

Two major rivers and several small streams empty into the harbour: West River into the Northwest Arm, and East River into the Northeast Arm.[4]

West River[edit]

West River begins near the Musquodoboit Valley. Several smaller streams flow into the river as it progresses southeast-ward toward Sheet Harbour. For the majority of it's length, the river follows a similar path to Nova Scotia Route 224. It gradually widens as it progresses toward Sheet Harbour. Lake Alma flows into West River via the Union Dam Flowage. A while downstream, the river flows in to Sheet Harbour Lake. Sheet Harbour Lake ends just before the West River Bridge, where Trunk 7 passes over the West River, just before the West River Falls. West River Bridge provides a great view of the falls. The falls carry water from 22 metres elevation down to sea level. The river then empties into the Northwest Arm.[4]

East River[edit]

East River originates in the extreme northwest of Guysborough County, then flows southwest-ward into the Halifax Regional Municipality. Similar to West River, Several small streams merge with the river as it flows downstream. Also similar to it's more westward counterpart, it closely follows Route 374, but not as closely as West River to Route 224. Lake Mulgrave and Governor Lake both flow into East River via streams. The river flows through the Liscomb Game Sanctuary. Immediately after exiting the Sanctuary and simultaneously flowing under Route 374, East River flows into The Marshall, Malay Falls and Ruth Falls flowages, first through last, respectively. After exiting the Ruth Falls Flowage, the river flows past The Ruth Falls Power Plant, a hydro generating station. It narrows back into a river for a short while, then flows into the head of the Northeast Arm.[4]

Grand Lake, a large lake west of Sheet Harbour, also empties into the Northwest Arm via West Lake and Little West River in West Sheet Harbour.[4]


Almost all of the current land area was granted in 1773,[5] and the settlement began in 1784,[5] by Loyalist refugees and British veterans of the American Revolution and became a prosperous centre for the lumber industry.

Sheet Harbour was named "Port North" on the Royal Navy Chart that was published in 1778. Alternate names for the settlement were Campbelltown and Manchester.[5] Campbelltown would have been named after Lord William Campbell, who was a Captain General as well as a Governor-in-Chief from 1776-1773.[5] It was decided that "Port North" was not descriptive enough so its name was changed to Sheet Harbour because of a white, flat rock that looks like a sheet (named Sheet Rock). Sheet Rock can be found at the entrance of the harbour. Sheet Harbour for about two decades was known as Cambell Town, this name fell into disuse and became known as Sheet Harbour.[6]


The economy of Sheet Harbour is based around tourism, fishery and forestry.


In October 1885 the Halifax Wood Fibre Company located the first sulphide pulp mill in Canada at East River, Sheet Harbour. The site is now occupied by the Wildlife Centre and a Campground. A stone monument commemorates the pulp mill. Later on October 5, 1925 a ground-wood pulp mill owned by the American Pulp and Wrapping Paper Co. of Albany New York began operation on the West River at the head of the Northwest Arm of Sheet Harbour. This pulp mill replaced a saw mill owned by Rhodes and Currie, which AP&W had purchased from Rhodes and Currie in 1923 and which remained in operation through a number of different owners until destroyed by Hurricane Beth in August 1971. (Coady 1988 and edited by John Wood of the MacPhee House Museum, Sheet Harbour 2015)


Sheet Harbour has a Chamber of Commerce. They operate a Visitor Information Centre at the MacPhee House situated on the site of the ground-wood pulp mill just east of the West River Bridge, where Trunk 7 crosses the West River at the entrance to Sheet Harbour. The MacPhee House Community Museum there has a collection interpreting "Life before plastic"(TM) For a virtual tour

West River Falls, where the old lumber mill used to operate until a storm destroyed it. The remains are still visible to the side of the picture. In the distance you can see the West River Bridge.

Sheet Harbour Industrial Port[edit]

In the 1990s, the Nova Scotia Government built a common user deep water dock and industrial park 5 minutes west of Downtown Sheet Harbour, aptly named the Sheet Harbour Industrial Port. It was purchased by and is currently operated by the Halifax Port Authority. It currently ships wood chips for the pulp industry and imports wind turbine segments, which are then transported across Nova Scotia and to the rest of North America. The Port was used to service the Sable Offshore Energy Project with natural gas pipes processed at coating plant therefore making them suitable for placement on the ocean floor. The docking area is 152 metres (499 ft) long and 36.5 metres (120 ft) wide. It also has 10.3 metres (34 ft) of draught, which is connected to a concrete pad.[7]


Sheet Harbour has a C@p Site for public use. It is located at the public library. It has a fax machine and is able to send emails.


  • Seaside Festival: Hosted by the local Lions Club every August for the last 60 years. It includes a parade, baseball tournament, fireworks and much more.
The beginning of the Seaside Festival Parade August 9, 2008
  • Winter Parade: It is held in December, near Christmas.
  • Annual Fish Derby: Hosted by the local Ground Search and Rescue. It is hosted in Malay Falls, Nova Scotia, a community 10 km (6.2 mi) north of Sheet Harbour, in early June.
  • The area has many ATV and walking trails.
  • Sheet Harbour's Rockets Field which is one of the two baseball fields in Sheet Harbour.
  • Taylor Head Provincial Park - a nearby day-use Provincial Park with extensive hiking trails. Main article: Taylor Head Provincial Park
  • Liscombe Lodge Resort and Conference Centre is located 56 km (35 mi) northeast on Trunk 7 toward Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia in Liscomb, Nova Scotia.
  • Spry Bay Campground: A campground located near Taylor Head Beach, just a minute west of the park.
  • The 2610 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps is in Sheet Harbour. This Corps has put Sheet Harbour on the map in Cadet circles for its ability to produce the best young Air Rifle shooters in Canada.


The community is situated at the junction of three highways: Trunk 7, Route 224, and Route 374. The community also has a small harbour authority and a commercial port. The community has sidewalks that run from West River Bridge to East River Bridge, through the main part of Sheet Harbour. They were opened in 2010,[8] and cost $2,895,040.[9] The roads in the area are a mixture of both paved and unpaved roads. There are also many ATV trails/hauling roads in the area.

There are no 100-Series Highways that run through or near Sheet Harbour.

New East River Bridge[edit]

A new bridge is currently under construction to replace the East River Bridge, which is nearing the end of it's life span: It was built in the late 1950's. Minor repairs were originally proposed, but the Department of Transportation decided that building a new, 183-meter long bridge would be more cost-effective. Construction began in late 2014. There will also be road modifications because of the new bridge. The majority of these will take place on the Sheet Harbour side of the bridge;the other side is technically located in Watt Section. The bridge, along with surrounding road modifications, is expected to be completed in late 2015. The old bridge is scheduled to be demolished in 2016. There will be barges brought in to safely dismantle the bridge;they are not allowed to let the pieces simply fall into the water because it would severely contaminate the water because the bridge is rusting. The new bridge is expected to have a lifespan of 75 years.[10]

Distance Chart[edit]

Destination Distance (km) Distance (mi) Highways Notes
Middle Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia[11] 60.9 37.8 Route 224
Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia 82.6 51.3 Trunk 7
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia 91.1 56.6 Route 374
Truro, Nova Scotia 104 65 Route 224 / Route 336, Southside Rd, Route 289 / Hwy 102
Halifax Stanfield International Airport 105 65 Route 224 / Route 357 / Route 212
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia 110 68 Trunk 7 / Hwy 107
Antigonish, Nova Scotia 145 90 Route 374 / Hwy 104 (TCH)
Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia 203 126 Route 374 / Hwy 104 (TCH)
Kentville, Nova Scotia 210 130 Trunk 7 / Hwy 107, Akerley Blvd, Trunk 7 / Trunk 33 / Hwy 101
Amherst, Nova Scotia 206 128 Route 224 / Route 336, Southside Rd, Route 289 / Hwy 102 / Hwy 104 (TCH)
Moncton, New Brunswick 274 170 Nova Scotia: Route 224 / Route 336, Southside Rd, Route 289 / Hwy 102 / Hwy 104 (TCH)

New Brunswick: Route 2 (TCH)

Sydney, Nova Scotia 332 206 Route 374 / Hwy 104 (TCH) / Hwy 104 / Trunk 4
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 335 208 Nova Scotia: Route 224 / Route 336, Southside Rd, Route 289 / Hwy 102 / Hwy 104 (TCH),

New Brunswick: Route 2 (TCH) / Route 16 (TCH),

P.E.I: Route 1 (TCH)

Saint John, New Brunswick 423 263 Nova Scotia: Route 224 / Route 336, Southside Rd, Route 289 / Hwy 102 / Hwy 104 (TCH)

New Brunswick: Route 2 (TCH) / Route 1

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia 433 269 Trunk 7 / Hwy 107, Akerley Blvd, Trunk 7 / Hwy 102 / Hwy 103
Fredericton, New Brunswick 446 277 Nova Scotia: Route 224 / Route 336, Southside Rd, Route 289 / Hwy 102 / Hwy 104 (TCH)

New Brunswick: Route 2 (TCH)

Houlton, Maine 561 349 Nova Scotia: Route 224 / Route 336, Southside Rd, Route 289 / Hwy 102 / Hwy 104 (TCH)

New Brunswick: Route 2 (TCH) / Route 95

Maine: I‑95


Sheet Harbour boasts a Home Hardware Store, an NSLC, a Post Office, run by Canada Post, a Public Library, which is owned and operated by Halifax Public Libraries, a convenience store, a small park, a takeout, a Police Station, which is run by the RCMP, a Fire Station, and 3 churches. The Fire Station is located near the Helipad, which is operated by the Sheet Harbour and Area Ground Search and Rescue. Sheet Harbour also hosts one apartment building, two gas stations, operated by Irving Oil and Wilson Fuel (Wilsons Gas Stops) respectively, a Foodland Grocery store and two banks, operated by Scotiabank and Credit Union respectively. Just west in Spry Bay, Nova Scotia is a Dept. of Transportation and Public Works, owned and operated by the Nova Scotia Government. The Sheet Harbour Industrial Port is located 5 minutes west of Sheet Harbour. It is run by the Halifax Port Authority. Ruth Falls Power Plant, a hydro generating station, is active just 5 minutes NE of Sheet Harbour.

Watt Section Wind Turbine[edit]

Watts Wind Energy, Inc. built a wind turbine in Watt Section in 2010. It was the outcome of favourable wind data that was obtained by a meteorological tower near the future site of the wind turbine. It was up and running in October of 2011. It currently produces about 1.5MW of power and powers approximately 375 households. It stands 85 metres (279 ft) tall.[12]

Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital/Harbourview Lodge[edit]

Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital is a hospital located in Sheet Harbour. It is owned and operated by the Capital District Health Authority. It has 16 beds for patients. Its purpose is to provide health care for the eastern third of the Halifax Regional Municipality, from East Ship Harbour to Ecum Secum. It was opened in 1949. There is a war monument and gardens in front of the site where Duncan MacMillan Nursing Home once stood. The hospital offers quite a few services. It is connected to Harbourview Lodge, a nursing home, by a hallway. Harbourview Lodge was built in 2011 to replace Duncan MacMillan Nursing Home, because DMNH was getting old; it was built in 1948 originally as ESMH. It was converted into a nursing home in 1983 after the current ESMH building was built.

Taylor Head Provincial Park[edit]

Just 10 minutes west of Sheet Harbour on Nova Scotia Trunk 7 in Spry Bay, Nova Scotia is Taylor Head Provincial Park. It has two beaches. The entire park is located on a peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. It contains over 15 km (9.3 mi) of coastline. Hunting and firearms are forbidden in the Park. The park contains over 22 km (14 mi) of walking/hiking trails, and over 1 km (0.62 mi) of beaches. It is open from May–October each year.[13]


  • Beach Walk 1 km (0.62 mi); Easy Hike
  • Bob Bluff Trail 3 km (1.9 mi); Moderate Hike
  • Spry Bay Trail 4 km (2.5 mi); Moderate Hike; Loop Trail
  • Bull Beach Trail 6 km (3.7 mi); Moderate Hike
  • Headland Trail 8 km (5.0 mi); Challenging Hike; Loop Trail
  • Note: These trails provide harsh conditions. Wear strong footwear.[13]


Duncan MacMillan High School (DMHS)[edit]

DMHS was opened in 1963. It is the smallest school in HRM, but covers the largest geographical area for students. It has three feeder schools: Sheet Harbour Consolidated School (SHCS), Eastern Consolidated School (ECS) and Lakefront Consolidated School. DMHS teaches grades 7 through 12. The school's official colours are gold and black and their mascot is Eddy the Eagle.[14]

Sheet Harbour Consolidated School (SHCS)[edit]

SHCS was opened in 1957. It is a feeder school of DMHS. It is the main elementary school in the DMHS feeder area. It teaches grades primary through 6. The school has peanut-free policies enforced currently.[15]

A new school[edit]

A plan is in the works for Halifax Regional School Board to close Sheet Harbour Consolidated School, Duncan MacMillan High School, Lakefront Consolidated School, located in Tangier, Nova Scotia, and Eastern Consolidated School, located in Moser River, Nova Scotia and replace those schools with a larger, more modern Grade Primary-12 School somewhere in Sheet Harbour. This new school would teach about 350 students and would serve an area stretching from East Ship Harbour to Ecum Secum, and northward to Beaver Dam and Malay Falls. It is unknown at the time where and when the school will be built, or if the new school will even be built.[16]



External links[edit]