Toxic Legacy

The story of Boat Harbour

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Editor's Note: Toxic legacy was originally published at, which is no longer active. King's Journalism is moving various projects from the Investigative Workshop to The Signal. This story appears as it did when it was originally published.

In April 2009, students in the King’s Investigative Workshop launched their landmark series of stories on Boat Harbour.

Toxic Legacy told the story of how the Government of Nova Scotia turned a once pristeen coastal inlet next to a first nations community into an industrial waste treatment lagoon. The package revealed never-before-known information about how the scheme came to be, told the shocking story of how first nations leaders were misled so they would agree to the plan and showed how successive governments had failed to do anything about the resulting environmental catastrophe.
Since 2009, the controversy has only grown. After years of inaction, the Liberal government ordered Boat Harbour closed by 2020. The fight is now over the plan by the Northern Pulp paper mill to start dumping its effluent into Northumberland Strait.