Historic Dock Street and Water Street Loop

Take a stroll through local history on Shelburne's heritage waterfront

Historic Dock Street and Water Street Loop

Shelburne, Nova Scotia B0T 1W0, Canada

Created By: Shelburne area chamber of commerce

Tour Information

Shelburne's heritage waterfront covering nine blocks is bordered by historic Dock Street to the west and Water Street to the east.

Historic Dock Street will take you back in time with its remarkable heritage buildings spanning three centuries along the shore of the third best natural harbour in the world. Water Street has been the commercial district of Shelburne since the Loyalists landed in 1783 and many of the buildings erected during the 18th and 19th centuries are still in use.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

This Georgian style house was built in 1804 for the Rev. Matthew Dripps, the first Presbyterian minister in Shelburne.
Built by George Gracie in 1785, a blind Loyalist and provincial legislator who started the first whaling company in Shelburne. He was also the primary shareholder of The Nelson, Shelburne's only privateer vessel.
J. Chandley Smith, a one-time owner of the Cooper’s Inn, started the Barrel Factory in 1917.  Most of the original tools from 1917 are still in use. For 41 years, co-owner Donna Rhuland was the only female cooper in Canada.
The Joseph McGill Shipbuilding and Transportation Company is one of the last surviving buildings from the Golden Age of Sail and has remained mainly unaltered since its construction in 1857.
Patrick MacDonough, a Loyalist customs officer, built this Georgian-style house in 1785.
Georgian-style house built in 1785 by Loyalist merchant Peter Guyon. The original stone rubble foundation is still visible today.
Georgian-style house built in 1784-1785 by Loyalist merchant Patrick Coyle with the original stone rubble foundation. The Coyle House is part of the Shelburne's Museums by the Sea complex.
Ross-Thomson House & Store Museum, a Nova Scotia Museum site, is the last Colonial-era store in Nova Scotia. It was established as a business in 1785 by the Ross brothers who were merchants and slave traders. The store was operated unti... Read more
The building, originally constructed as a warehouse in 1865, was acquired by John C. Williams in 1887 who produced wooden dories until his death in 1939. The building continued to operate as a dory factory until the 1970s. The Dory Shop Mus... Read more
The Nairn House was built in 1787 for David Nairn, a cooper from Scotland. It was extensively renovated in 1979 and converted into the Shelburne County Museum, a community museum facility showcasing Shelburne County's culture and history. ...
The Cox Warehouse was built in 1902 by local merchant George A. Cox. The building forms part of Shelburne’s Museums by the Sea complex.
The Ann Street well is the last remaining communal well that was constructed when Shelburne was first settled in 1783.
The Muir-Cox Shipyard, which now houses the Shelburne Sailing Academy, was in continuous ship production starting in 1826. It was a multi-yard site, meaning it could build two ships at once – usually a large one and a small one.
The George Street Shipyard Mill, a steam-powered through mill built in 1903, was part of the Muir-Cox Shipyard complex. The architecture and tools are original to the building.
This intersection is unique in North America as all four buildings on this corner are original wooden structures built  between 1783 and 1785.
This house was built by William Cox Jr. in 1889 and occupied by Cox descendants until 2021.  The last owner, Bill Cox, now aged 105, is a well-known 5th generation shipbuilder who also served two terms as Mayor of Shelburne.
This property was built in 1784 by Samuel Marshall, a Loyalist potter and brickmaker. In 1791, the property became one of the holdings of the Gideon White family for over 100 years. Mr. White was a prominent citizen who is best remembered... Read more
This property started as a church in the 1800s, became a dry-cleaning business in the 1950s and is now a popular fitness centre.  
This striking 1780s property was once a home for the Minshull family who also rented out rooms.  One of their renters tried to skip town without paying his bill, and turned out to be an impostor who passed himself off as a French knight. ... Read more
This property has functioned as a home and commercial storefront since its construction in 1875. It was owned by shoemaker John A. McGowan Sr., and passed it on to his son John A. McGowan Jr., who operated a dry goods business.
This two-storey dwelling in the Second Empire style was built in 1876 for local merchant John McGowan Jr. It remained in his family until 1918. The house still has the original hardwood floors, high ceilings, and U-shaped windows with wid... Read more
This long, narrow building in the Greek Revival style was constructed around 1850 and is typical of the stores and shops seen on Charlotte Lane during that time period. Over the centuries, the building has housed a Chinese laundry, a bowli... Read more
This Municipal Heritage Building deserves special mention. It was built in 1908 from Scotia Grey granite quarried right here in Shelburne and served as Shelburne's Post Office until 1964. At the start of WWII, an 18-foot / 5.4 metre exten... Read more
This property is commonly referred to as the Kelley Block, constructed around 1872 by William T. Kelley, a former master mariner originally from Yarmouth. It was opened in 1928 as one of the largest retail outlets on the south shore. ...
The original building on this lot dated back to the arrival of the Loyalists in 1783. It operated as the Atlantic House, described as one of the finest hotels in the province in the early 20th century. It was demolished in 1979 and develo... Read more
The initial building was destroyed by the great fire of 1885. This three-storey Second Empire style structure was rebuilt in 1911. Albert Lodge, a local Masonic Hall has occupied the top two floors of the building ever since.
The original 1780s structure was destroyed by the fire of 1885 which destroyed many buildings along the east side of Water Street. It was subsequently rebuilt and operated as the Loyalist Inn.  It is currently under new management and und... Read more


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