The crowd watched from a safe distance during a rainy opening ceremony.

By: Yvonne Fox

The Official Project Commencement Ceremony marking the start of construction on the Canso Causeway was held on September 16, 1952.

This was after many, many years of lobbying and waiting for a fixed link to become a reality at the Strait of Canso, between mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.

The building of camps, the assembling of heavy equipment for the job, organizing a stone quarry, and constructing access roads had taken a period of three months at Cape Porcupine since the project began the fourth of June, 1952.

Photos courtesy the Port Hastings Historical Society
Federal transport minister Lionel Chevrier sets off the dynamite charge marking the start of construction on the Canso Causeway.

Federal cabinet minister Lionel Chevrier was the one to pull the switch that set off the first official blast of explosives to loosen rock from Cape Porcupine for use as fill in the construction of the Canso Causeway. He was now head of the St. Lawrence Seaway Project for Canada and then Federal Minister of Transport.

Transport Minister Lionel Chevrier and Premier Angus L. Macdonald toured the new construction site.

Premier Angus L. Macdonald proudly dumped the first official load into the Strait of Canso. The achievement of a Canso Crossing represented a personnel challenge to him for many years.

Dan MacDonald, the 87-year-old former councillor for Iona in Victoria County, who presented a petition in 1902 regarding the fixed link that was needed at the Strait of Canso, attended a banquet following the official start ceremony.

Pictured at the opening ceremony are federal transport minister Lionel Chevrier (left) and Nova Scotia Premier Angus L. Macdonald.

This is the fifth in a series of columns from the Port Hastings Historical Society celebrating the 65th anniversary of the opening of the Canso Causeway, and marking the closure of the Mulgrave to Point Tupper ferry.