Quarry St. Anns

Many in places in Nova Scotia are named for their connections to mining!

Gypsum was quarried in Quarry St. Anns, about 20 kms northeast of Baddeck in Victoria County, from 1884-1916.

The Victoria Gypsum Company of Baddeck (later the Victoria Gypsum, Mining and Manufacturing Company Ltd.) operated a quarry there. Around 1912 the company opened a second quarry 1.2 miles to the west and in 1913, it was prospecting a third site one mile south.

In 1915, business was booming. A new warehouse was built and the company made plans to build a calcining plant at its pier the following year. (Calcining gypsum means to heat and partially dehydrate it. It's part of the process of turning gypsum into plaster so it can be used in products like wallboard, mouldings and casts.)

The company was planning to switch to underground mining at its main quarry and a 180-feet adit (tunnel entrance) was dug.

However, the plan was not implemented because production slowed down in 1915 due to a lack of both shipping and men, presumably because of WWI. To illustrate the problem, the company employed 125 men in 1914 and produced 40,000 tons of gypsum. In 1916, it employed only 30 men and produced 18,000 tons.

In 1917, the quarries shut down, never to be reopened.

Had the underground mine actually gone into operation, it would likely have been Nova Scotia’s only true underground gypsum mine ever. Nova Scotia has world-class gypsum deposits and with so much available near-surface, there generally isn’t any reason to incur the much higher costs of mining it underground. While Quarry St. Anns shut down for other reasons, it is an open question whether the underground operation would have been viable.