Terence Bay

Former mines and quarries often become parks and protected areas. For example, the Terence Bay Wilderness Area includes two sites that were quarried for building stone used in some of Halifax’s most beautiful buildings.

Stone was extracted at the Brookfield Quarry, at the mouth of the Terence Bay River in Halifax, from 1900-1907 by Samuel M. Brookfield. The quarry had two derricks and a wharf. Stone was loaded onto barges and towed to Halifax where it was used in buildings like the Bank of Commerce Building (aka Merrill Lynch Building, 5171 George Street) which was built in 1906. The stone was chosen to convey the strength and stability of a bank.

Brookfield immigrated to Nova Scotia from England in 1852. He became a prominent entrepreneur and builder in Halifax from 1871, when he became president of his father’s successful construction company, until his death in 1924. He also had a range of other business interests, including mining and serving as the first president of the Maritime Telegraph and Telephone Company which later became Bell Aliant.

Not surprisingly given its name, there was also extraction done at Quarry Lake in the early 1900s. Blocks of stone were hauled to the Terence Bay River, loaded onto barges and taken to Halifax.

Terence Bay also had a brief and unfortunate period of gold exploration. Four shallow shafts (a couple of metres deep) and several small test pits were dug around 1940-41. 

Father J. J. Lanigan, the local pastor, staked the property on behalf of his parish and parish funds financed the exploration work. It seems that Lanigan found quartz veins – which is what most Nova Scotia gold is found in – but the veins contained fool’s gold (aka pyrite).

Bank of Commerce Building in Halifax.