Upgrades underway for the Hector Heritage Quay

News release

Improvements to the Ship Hector site will better tell the story of the first Scottish emigrants to come directly from Scotland to Nova Scotia

August 30, 2023 · Pictou, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Tourism is the economic lifeblood of many communities in Atlantic Canada. In Nova Scotia, one of the province’s most beloved historic sites is undergoing improvements to attract even more visitors. The Government of Canada is investing in a series of upgrades to the Hector Heritage Quay at the Pictou waterfront to boost long-term tourism growth and help diversify the local economy.

An anchor for Pictou’s tourism offerings

Today, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Central Nova, announced a non-repayable contribution of $2.2 million to the Ship Hector Society. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA.

This contribution will help the Society enhance the visitor experience at the Hector Heritage Quay. Major upgrades at the interpretive centre will include new roofing, windows, doors, and the installation of solar panels which will enable the site to be carbon neutral. All educational elements in the centre and on the ship will be updated to more clearly tell the story of the support given to Scottish settlers by the Mi’kmaq people. These improvements will make the Hector Heritage Quay more accessible and appealing, drawing new visitors to the waterfront and strengthening the area’s economy. The society is also in the process of restoring the Ship Hector replica with new a exterior, sails, rigging and fibreglass body to make it more long-lasting and weather resistant.

In March, the Public Policy Forum published a report that confirms Atlantic Canada’s economy is bustling and the region is poised for exponential growth. Today’s announcement highlights how the Government of Canada is contributing to this momentum – strengthing our communities, creating new opportunities, and setting the stage for a strong, sustainable future. It also demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to ensuring that rural communities have the support they need to take advantage of new opportunities and diversify their economies.


“As we move toward a greener Canada, we’re helping communities that have traditionally relied on coal explore new opportunities to diversify their economies. Investing in valuable tourism assets like the Hector Heritage Quay is just one example of how we can grow and maintain community prosperity by supporting a diverse range of industries and businesses.”

-   The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“The Hector is not only a major part of our local heritage, but has the potential to serve as a major tourism draw for the Town of Pictou and Northern Nova Scotia. The upgrades to the Hector Heritage Quay will further enhance the tourism experience along the North Shore to help grow our region's economy.”

- The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Central Nova

“This contribution is crucial to ensuring the Society can tell this incredible story to future generations. Tourism is a critical part of our economy in Nova Scotia, and this investment will strengthen our visitor experience for years to come. The Hector Quay Interpretive Centre is committed to sharing the story of the Ship Hector and the story of the indigenous people of Pik'tuk, who played a vital role in the survival of the passengers as they began their new lives in Nova Scotia.”

- Wes Surrett, Chair of the Ship Hector Society

“The Hector Quay Interpretive Centre and Ship Hector replica are integral parts of the Town of Pictou Waterfront Plan and the economy of Northeastern Nova Scotia. As a result of the Ship Hector Society’s efforts, the site will continue to attract visitors. The Town of Pictou is appreciative of the efforts of the Ship Hector Society in recognizing the importance of this iconic attraction to the cultural and economic growth of the region.”

- Jim Ryan, Mayor of the Town of Pictou

“When the first settlers to come directly from Scotland arrived at Brown’s Point in 1773, many dispersed and homesteaded. This was the beginning of many of our rural communities. The Town of Pictou became the business and government centre for all these communities. The Hector Heritage Quay tells the stories of the early days of Scottish settlers joining our indigenous first settlers on our beautiful lands and forests of Pictou County. It pleases me that our senior level of government recognizes the value of investing, alongside our Municipality and the Town of Pictou, to keep these stories alive for future generations.”

- Robert Parker, Warden of the Municipality of the County of Pictou

Quick facts

  • The Ship Hector brought the first Scottish emigrants directly from Scotland to Nova Scotia. It arrived in Pictou Harbour in 1773.

  • The Town of Pictou commissioned the creation of the replica Ship Hector and the building of the interpretive centre in 1990. The ship was completed, and the Hector Heritage Quay opened, in 2000. The Quay is home to the Ship Hector, the interpretive centre, a blacksmith shop, carpentry shop, and rigging room. The site attracts over 12,000 visitors annually, about 40 per cent of whom are international tourists.

  • September 15, 2023, marks 250 years since the Ship Hector arrived in Nova Scotia. From September 15 to 17, Pictou will celebrate the anniversary with community events, including tours of the Ship Hector to view the restoration progress.

  • The Ship Hector Society is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization. The Hector Heritage Quay is owned by the Society and is managed by its 15-member Board.

  • The Society is continuing its Charting our Course fundraising campaign for the restoration of the Ship Hector.

  • The investment announced today is provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Canada Coal Transition Initiative (CCTI) – Infrastructure Fund. This fund was launched on August 20, 2020 and provides $150 million over five years, delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs), to help communities move away from coal by investing in infrastructure. ACOA is delivering $55 million under CCTI initiatives. The initiative is set to end on March 31, 2025. 

  • The Municipality of the County of Pictou contributed $120,000 to this project and the Town of Pictou contributed $100,000.

Associated links


Hugo Alvarez
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development

Anya Melzer
Communications Officer
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Wes Surrett
The Ship Hector Society

Michelle Young
Community Development Officer
Town of Pictou

Sueann Musick
Director of Corporate Services
Municipality of Pictou County

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