Building on the value of the waterfront since 1976
The province of Nova Scotia has always recognized the value of its spectacular waterfront spaces. In 1976, the Waterfront Development Corporation took on the task to create experiences and opportunities and invest in infrastructure at the water’s edge. The Corporation began with a focus on the Halifax Harbour, but in July, 2018, Develop Nova Scotia was formed with a new pan-provincial mandate to develop strategic economic infrastructure to support inclusive economic growth in Nova Scotia. In December 2022, Nova Scotia Lands Inc., Develop Nova Scotia, and the Healthcare Infrastructure Renewal group combine to become Build Nova Scotia.This means that the legislation that governs this new Crown corporation is now in force, made official by a proclamation on order by the Governor in Council.
Build Nova Scotia oversees opportunities to transform our province’s lands and properties in ways that drive our economy forward and improve quality of life for all Nova Scotians. This includes managing the addition and renewal of infrastructure that keeps Nova Scotians healthy, connected, and thriving no matter where they live.
A thriving community is a powerful thing. And for our communities to reach their full potential, they need partnership, support, and platforms for growth. Build Nova Scotia believes that by working together, we can ensure the projects and places that matter most to Nova Scotians are brought to life in ways that improve our home and enrich our lives.
A brief history of the Halifax waterfront
The waterfront has always been the historical core of commercial and naval Halifax: a bustling working harbour in a growing city. 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. In 1960, a Harbourfront Highway proposal was replaced by a community that was looking for a more progressive strategy for their waterfront. To view an in-depth look at the history of the Halifax waterfront, click here.
Waterfront Development is born
Three levels of government came together to develop a plan that would generate economic and social property on the waterfront. The committee became a Crown Corporation with the mandate to redevelop and revitalize the lands surrounding Halifax Harbour (and any other lands designated by its shareholder, the Province of Nova Scotia), and was named Waterfront Development Corporation. Since 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. Today, Build Nova Scotia has a province-wide mandate with the same basic principles to capitalize on Nova Scotia’s wealth of waterfront assets, and ensure residents, visitors and entrepreneurs have access to the spaces in a well-planned and inclusive manner. See Projects.