Doctor’s Brook and the British Columbia Packers Limited Dam are located in the vicinity of Rocky Point Road, on the south side of Harbour Breton, NL. The site includes the remains of a concrete dam, approximately 20 feet wide and 10 feet high. It was built by British Columbia Packers Limited circa 1960 as a component of their fish plant operation in Harbour Breton. The designation includes the brook and the ruins known as the British Columbia Packers Limited Dam.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Doctor’s Brook and the British Columbia Packers Limited Dam have been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Harbour Breton due to its aesthetic and historic value.
Doctor’s Brook has aesthetic value as a well-known landscape feature in the community of Harbour Breton. The brook flows down from Bread and Butter Pond, located in the hills above the town, through a gorge and into a small lagoon called Mackay’s Pond (named after Rev. Herbert Mackay who lived by the pond for a number of years), and reaches the ocean by cutting through a section of Thompson’s Beach. On its journey it runs under a road leading to an old Anglican cemetery. For years there was a well-constructed bridge crossing the brook and the general area became a favourite gathering place on Sunday afternoons for picnics by locals who lived in that area of the community.
Doctor’s Brook has historic value for its associations with the English mercantile firm Newman and Company. The firm carried on a business in Harbour Breton for most of the 1800s and their land grants show that they owned the land on both sides of Doctor’s Brook. The name Doctor’s Brook may have originated from the doctors Newman and Company brought from England to serve the medical needs of the residents of Harbour Breton and the fishermen and their families who lived in Fortune Bay. The brook would have supplied fresh water for the Newman’s Harbour Breton properties and vessels travelling back to England. The earliest residents of Harbour Breton also inhabited this part of the community and no doubt the brook was a source of fresh water for them as well.
The British Columbia Packers Limited Dam has aesthetic value as a good example of utilitarian design and functionality. In 1960, British Columbia Packers Limited started a fresh fish processing plant in Harbour Breton and a dam was constructed on Doctor’s Brook to provide fresh water for the plant. The concrete dam created a reservoir from which water flowed by gravity through pipes to a large storage tank on the fish plant premises. Even after a municipal water system was installed in Harbour Breton in 1963, the water from Doctor’s Brook was still used from time to time at the fish plant and the water line was not completely disconnected until years later. Today, the dam is still very much intact and water continues to flow from its outlet pipe. It stands as a reminder of a time when it played a very important role in the life of the community.
Source: Town of Harbour Breton Regular Council Meeting Motion #18:086 June 5, 2018.
Character Defining Elements
All those elements which represent the aesthetic and historic value of Doctor’s Brook and the British Columbia Packers Limited Dam, including:
-the present-day course of Doctor’s Brook;
-the name Doctor’s Brook;
-Doctor’s Brook’s association with Newman and Company;
-the dam’s association with British Columbia Packers Limited, and;
-dimension, location and orientation of and the British Columbia Packers Limited Dam.
Location and History
Town of Harbour Breton
Rocky Point Road
1960 - 1960
British Columbia Packers Limited