Laying a foundation for 162 years, The Shaw Group

Posted on February 03, 2023 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments


Brick manufacturing in the early days of The Shaw Group (photo credit: The Shaw Group Ltd.)


A single brick laid the foundation of this multifaceted Nova Scotian enterprise. Older than Canada itself, The Shaw Group’s initial operations date back over 160 years. What started as a simple brickyard has grown into a leader in Eastern Canada’s construction and natural resource industries.

Made from clay

Origins of The Shaw Group date back to 1861 when Robert Shaw opened a brickyard in Hantsport, Nova Scotia. Then named Robert Shaw Brickworks, all bricks were made by hand using Nova Scotian red clay.

In 1897, Shaw scaled operations to help rebuild the town of Windsor, N.S. following a devastating fire. So that production could meet demand, manual processes were upgraded to ones involving newly purchased brickmaking machinery. Robert Shaw Brickworks was also instrumental in supplying building materials after the Halifax explosion.

As the business grew, additional brick plants were added. By 1921, the business was incorporated as L.E. Shaw Limited with three plants in Nova Scotia and one in New Brunswick.


Robert Shaw, founder of Robert Shaw Brickworks in 1861 (photo credit: The Shaw Group Ltd.)

Brick by brick

L.E. Shaw Ltd. persevered through difficult times during the Great Depression. While it was forced to cease production to survive, it eventually rebuilt and was the only remaining brickyard in the Maritimes by the Second World War.

Growth continued for L.E. Shaw throughout the ‘40s, this time through expansion of the product line as it began using concrete to produce blocks, pipes and other construction materials. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, L.E. Shaw Ltd. continued to grow its facilities across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. It also established a relationship with Clayton Developments to add land development to its line of business.


A Shaw Group facility in Lanz, Nova Scotia in 1942 (photo credit: The Shaw Group Ltd.)

Adding to the group

In 1993, L.E. Shaw was officially renamed The Shaw Group Limited, a name more consistent with its ever-expanding line of business. The Shaw Group continued to expand its product divisions through the acquisition of Prestige Homes (a build of modular homes in New Brunswick), Ven-Rez (a furniture manufacturer) and a merger with GS Concrete. It also partnered with Bredero Shaw to begin activities in the offshore oil and gas industry.



The Shaw Group’s process of producing bricks, the product they’ve been making for 162 years (video credit: Eastlink on YouTube).

Strong than ever

Today, The Shaw Group consists of 11 different divisions including brick manufacturing, plus natural resources, transportation, community development, furniture and residential construction. Still privately owned and operated with head offices across the Maritimes, the Nova Scotian enterprise serves customers across Canada, the U.S. and worldwide. With recent additions like Shaw Lifestyle and Shaw Outdoor Living, it appears that growth for The Shaw Group will continue.

From solid foundations, brick by brick for 162 years.

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