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About Nova Construction

Nova Construction Co. Ltd. was incorporated in 1963 and has operated since then in a wide variety of sectors of the heavy construction industry.  Nova has a rich history, filled with countless examples of entrepreneurial leadership, industry-changing innovation and environmental stewardship, combined with an impeccable reputation for quality and an extraordinarily skilled workforce.


Founded by Donald and John W. Chisholm of Antigonish, John’s pioneering spirit, ingenuity, attention to detail and ability to see the bigger picture enabled him to lead Nova Construction through decades of projects, big and small.  Since 2006, the next generation, Donald Chisholm, has been at the reigns of the company, leading it into ever growing markets and continuing the great legacy of his forefathers.  


Nova Construction Co. Ltd. is a driving force in the road building industry.  Over the years, Nova has built, upgraded and/or paved more than 500 miles of highway in Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for the provincial and federal governments.  For example, as a contractor to the Atlantic Highways Corporation Group, which built the Cobequid Toll Highway (the first privately funded highway in Atlantic Canada), Nova lent its experience to the construction of the 45 kilometre, four lane, divided Trans Canada Highway. The $113 million dollar project was completed two weeks ahead of schedule and would be celebrated as one of the country’s most successful projects, for coming in on time and on budget.  In all, 3.2 million cubic metres of earth was moved and half a million cubic yards of rock was excavated.  History came full circle when, in 2014, Nova Construction returned to "the pass" to resurface an 18 kilometre stretch on that highway.  

The late 1990s and 2000s saw a triumphant return to the road building industry for Nova Construction.  Completing highway projects, including part of a four lane, divided highway through Pictou County, NS, which also included five concrete structures.  The exceptional quality, efficiency and commitment to safety very quickly made Nova a driving force in the industry.  A lasting testament to this growth period is the South River Bridges project, one of the largest contracts issued in Nova Scotia in 2012, wherein twin structures, more than 300 metres in length, were constructed as part of the Antigonish Bypass.  

2013 marked another historical homecoming for Nova Construction.  In the 1980s, Nova left the asphalt paving sector to focus on other areas of operations, but in 2013, with the purchase of an Astec asphalt plant, Nova was soon leading the way, once again, in the asphalt industry.  The sleek, modern plant, by 2016, is operating on propane, providing a much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to produce asphalt.  Highly trained and efficient crews, with state of the art equipment, prepare and pave residential and commercial projects but with a nod to the more than 50 years of history in road building, the vast majority of asphalt work is in highway resurfacing work for municipal, provincial and federal governments.  

Nova Construction, and its subsidiaries, have designed and constructed marine facilities – the Mulgrave Multi-User Wharf, the CN Ferry Dock in North Sydney, Louisiana Pacific Marine Facility and what would become an international success story for Nova, the Cape Porcupine Marine Quarry at Canso Strait.  Nova Construction went on to create a large modern quarry on the Porcupine Mountain site that was world renowned and wildly successful.  Tough new environmental regulations, as well as noise and dust laws, had forced the closure of a number of roadside quarries, enabling Nova’s quarry to flourish, coupled with its location directly on the waters of St. George’s Bay.  It was not difficult for Nova to hire a ship and send the aggregate to various locations across North America, the Caribbean and the West Indies.  And the quality of the aggregate was second to none, which kept it in high demand; it was hard and it had low moisture content, which made it easy to work and cheap to dry for asphalt.  It had a fine, cubic shape that meant less cement powder was required in order to make a yard of concrete.  

Well known as an expert in "earth moving", it comes as no surprise the success Nova Construction found in site clearing operations.  Various locations, including the Antigonish Regional Mall site, the Georgia Pacific Gypsum site in Port Hawkesbury, the Louisiana Pacific site at Point Tupper and the Burnside Industrial Park site in Dartmouth, among many others, have all benefited from Nova’s competency, skills and meticulous attention to detail.  Returning to Dartmouth in 2016, this time adjacent to Burnside at the new Dartmouth Crossing, Nova Construction has undertaken a massive expansion to clear a site for a new commercial centre.  

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