History | Waterfront Development
History
Building on the greatness of the ocean since 1976.

Building on the greatness of the ocean since 1976.

Waterfront Development creates experiences and opportunities, and invests in infrastructure at the water’s edge. We began with a focus on the Halifax Harbour but have since expanded our operations to the Bedford, Dartmouth, and Lunenburg waterfronts.

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A brief history of the Halifax waterfront

The waterfront has always been the historical core of commercial and naval Halifax.

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A bustling working harbour in a growing city. 

At the turn of the twentieth century, the Halifax waterfront featured a busy working harbour in the heart of the city’s downtown development. While there was a movement initiated by the business community (a group called the Halifax Civic Improvement League) to make Halifax “the most beautiful city in Canada,” their vision didn’t relate to the waterfront specifically.

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The rise of container shipping and the decline of commercial fishing. 

The post-WWI downturn in traditional waterfront activity was followed by containerized shipping growth, which led to property deterioration as businesses moved elsewhere in the harbour. Over this same period, Halifax declined as a fishing port because of improved transportation connections to more remote coastal areas.

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Protecting our waterfront from highway traffic.

In 1960, a proposed Harbourfront Highway— similar to other North American “urban renewal” projects— came to light. However, the community of Halifax refused to let this happen and demanded a more progressive strategy for their waterfront.
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Waterfront Development is born. 

All three levels of government came together to develop a plan that would generate economic and social property on the waterfront. Their committee was soon transformed into a Crown Corporation for Nova Scotia— with the mandate of redeveloping and revitalizing the lands surrounding Halifax Harbour (and any other lands designated by its shareholder, the Province of Nova Scotia)—and named Waterfront Development.

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Decades of inspiring developments. 

Since our inception in 1976, Waterfront Development has worked with partners on a number of key development projects, including Marriott Harbourfront and the award winning Bishop’s Landing in Halifax. The current portfolio includes Cunard and Queen’s Marque in Halifax, Dartmouth Cove, and Waterfront Lands at Mill Cove in Bedford. In Lunenburg, we work with the community on various projects with the goal of turning sustainable waterfront operations back to the community. See Developments.

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Today Halifax and Lunenburg waterfronts are two of the most visited destinations in Nova Scotia.

Thanks to Stephen Archibald’s “Noticed in Nova Scotia” Blog for a selection of images.