Construction on the replica ship Hector began in 1990. The keel of the ship was laid on August 19. American white Oak was procured from Virginia and the Carolina’s for the ship’s’ structural components. The “Rib Raising” ceremony took place in December.
A blacksmith shop and carpenter shop were re-located to the Quay site, a gift shop constructed and preparations started on the wharf soon after.
The three storey post and beam interpretation centre was opened in July 1992. The deck beams were fitted and the ship’s longboat—used for re-enactments—was constructed in 1993.
Work continued on the hull planking and the lower main mast, constructed in Lunenburg, was shipped to the site in 1994.
In 1995 deck planking was started using native Nova Scotia pine. Once the main deck planking was completed work started on caulking.
Deck planking on the lower flat and poop deck was installed and all exposed structure painted white in 1996.
An application was submitted for federal funding under the Millennium Program to assist with the necessary funds to complete the ship and launch the Hector.
The decision was made to attempt a sideways launch so that the launch-ways could be modified to construct the wharf. Hull planking was completed using Nova Scotia red oak.
By 2000, the hull was caulked, sanded, and painted and the decks varnished. Everything was ready for the anticipated launch, but heavy rain, high winds and lightning forced the cancellation of the launch—originally scheduled for September 16. The following day the trippers were released and the ship Hector started down the ways. Twelve seconds later it was afloat in Pictou Harbour, a spectacular launch watched by over 20,000 cheering participants.
Construction of the Wharf was completed and the Hector was taken over from its dry dock.
In September of 2001 all three of the lower masts were raised and stepped in one day and work commenced on the rigging.
Top sections of masts were constructed and installed and work continued on the Captain’s Quarters in 2002.
Finishing work continued as well as major repairs following the damage after Hurricane Juan in 2003, as well as a lightning strike in 2007 Planking was replaced, all seams re-puttied and painted and new rigging installed.
Ongoing maintenance continues aboard the Hector, as is necessary with all wooden ships.
The Ship Hector and Hector Quay site was purchased in late 2010 by the non-profit Hector Quay Society. On December 23, 2010 The Hector was towed to the Aecon Fabco shipyard for dry dock, winter storage and necessary maintenance. It returned to its home wharf in the spring of 2011 and is now operated and owned by volunteers from across Pictou County.
In 2013 the ship was downrigged (all masts and rigging removed) in order to facilitate necessary repairs. The following year the first stages of the masts were raised in time for a visit from Prince Charles and Lady Camilla in May of 2014.