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  • A.F. Theriault & Son: Craftsmanship for 80 years

A.F. Theriault & Son: Craftsmanship for 80 years

Sunday, September 1, 2019

By the time most of us reach our 80th birthday, we might be forgiven for putting our feet up and taking it easy. For A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd., Nova Scotia’s oldest and largest family-owned shipyard, last year’s 80th anniversary marked new vitality and new investment.

After working closely with NSBI Regional team member on detailing the company’s growth plans, A.F. Theriault & Sons Ltd. was the first client approved by NSBI for its Innovation Rebate Program, which provides incentives to companies in Nova Scotia that undertake capital investments to increase their competitiveness in global markets.

A.F. Theriault & Son made a $6.65-million capital investment that included more than doubling its marine railway’s capacity and enabled the company to produce larger boats and to work on several projects at the same time.

Now the expansion work is almost complete, says managing director Gilles Theriault, and the company is growing. “The NSBI program made a great difference,” he says. “It felt good to know that the Nova Scotia government is on our side. The team at NSBI has been very helpful throughout the whole expansion.”

"The team at NSBI has been very helpful throughout the whole expansion.”

Over its 80-year history, the company has built more than 900 vessels of up to 45 metres (150 feet) at its yard in Meteghan River.

“How much we diversify often surprises people,” Theriault says. “We’re a one-stop shopping boatyard, dealing with aquaculture, fishing vessels, and commercial vessels. We build steel, aluminum, and fibreglass boats. We provide a full retail service to the public. And we have a full repair facility. So we can design and build a boat from scratch, and then afer it’s built we can service it on our repair site.”

Community is key to the company’s success, he believes. “We live in a very special part of southwestern Nova Scotia,” he says. “Clare is a beautiful place to bring up your family. It’s safe and secure. There’s good education. There’s good work around. Many factors make us appreciate our roots and support our community. Our people are dedicated, committed, and creative in their work with us.”

Theriault’s commitment to his community and his staff is about making sure that Nova Scotians can stay in Nova Scotia and work, and new Nova Scotians can call it home. “That’s the bottom line,” he says. “Our goal is to keep our people in our community employed – to make it work together with our community and our team.”


Is your business considering a capital investment to increase your business' competitiveness globally? Reach out to a Regional Business Development Advisor and learn how the Innovation Rebate Program can help grow your business.