Shubie Canal Flume House

UPDATE Feb. 2019: We have photos of the completed museum. See further down the page for explanations about the workings of the Flume House and pictures from its construction.

The big gears in the photos are made to scale, from Styrofoam. The size is not clear in the photos – they are bigger than you’d think. The small horizontal gear (Shubie_0140) is 3′ wide, and the drum with the rope around it is 12′ in diameter (Shubie_136 to 138).

In photo 140 you can also see a clutch-like mechanism that puts the whole thing in or out of gear.

The original flumehouse

The original flumehouse

In the mid-1800s, the Shubenacadie Canal System transported goods and materials between Halifax Harbour and the Shubenacadie River which empties into the Minas Basin and Bay of Fundy. Loaded ships of up to 100 tons were moved overland on a 300 meter marine railway up an inclined plane. The power was provided by water from Sullivan’s Pond driving an underground cast iron turbine. The equipment that drove the turbine was kept inside a flume house. The flume carried a 6-ft diameter tube that transported water to the horizontal waterwheel in a chamber underground.

Canal Greenway Park is being developed in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, on the west side of Prince Albert St between Ochterloney and Portland Streets, under the guidance of the Shubenacadie Canal Commission.

We at Arlington built the heavy timber frame for the replica of the flume house.

The second floor is 17’6″ above the first, to accommodate the 12′ diameter winch that pulled the ships from the harbour to Sullivan’s Pond. The big windows will allow the public to view the machinery. The water came down the hill through the flume, and fell down through the pentstock to the horizontal turbine below ground. Extremely powerful, it could pull a 90 ton ship from the harbour to Sullivan’s Pond in 12 minutes!

Here is a video that shows how the system worked:

See photos of the finished flume house with the penstock pipe installed on the Shubenacadie Canal website.

Here is a video of the first bent being raised by crane.

Read more about the project in the Chronicle Herald here and again here.