History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

Commercial Cable Company
Canso Cable Station Final Years: 2006-2017

Main building entrance
Copyright © 2006 Roger Cyr

Once a major waypoint in the Commercial Cable Company's worldwide network, the Hazel Hill cable station at Cape Canso, Nova Scotia, was closed in 1962. Many of the original buildings are now gone, and what is left has fallen into disrepair.

An 1886 article from The Telegraphist gives some idea of the scale of the Canso station:

“The first glimpse of the station is got from the foot of Gaspereau Lake. The cable crosses the lake and lands in a little cove, which seems specially made for the purpose, right below the station.

“On arriving at the Company's grounds, any one not knowing the locality would imagine himself at the outskirts of some town. The buildings, twelve in number, are erected on the slope of the hill, in the form of a crescent, and, as the view of them from the lake shows, present a very pleasing appearance. Each cottage is fronted by a terrace. The office is distinguished by having a small tower and flagstaff, where, on high days and holidays, a flag is displayed. The interior of the building is very conveniently arranged, operating-room, testing-room, and battery-room, the three chief desiderata of a cable office, being splendidly adapted for their various uses.”

Commercial Cable Company Canso Cable Station, 1886

“A little over twelve months ago the place now occupied by these buildings with their town-like appearance was a partly cultivated field filled with stumps, around which a small crop of hay was gathered. It has been quite a transportation scene for Hazel Hill, and the wondering inhabitant can scarcely yet believe it is true. The company propose building another large house during the coming summer, several of the single men having taken to themselves life partners, thus requiring a cottage for themselves instead of the one room they have hitherto occupied.”

Commercial Cable Station, Hazel Hill, Canso, N.S.
Undated postcard

The site as of 2006, shown in these photographs courtesy of Roger Cyr, is hard to recognize from the above description.

Main building facing East
Copyright © 2006 Roger Cyr

Main building facing South
Copyright © 2006 Roger Cyr

The Commercial Cable Rehabilitation Society worked for many years to raise funds to stabilize the remaining structures at Canso. The building was listed on the Canadian Register in 2016, and Canada's Historic Places website has the details.

Unfortunately, the preservation effort ultimately failed, and in 2017 it was announced that ownership of the building had been transferred to the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, which contracted its demolition in September 2017.

See also the main Commercial Cable Company page and the page on some of the Commercial Cable Company's other offices.

Last revised: 7 September, 2017

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