The history of industry in Kentville is rooted in agriculture. The town has played host to the traditional industries of the time such as coal, timber, dairies, bakeries, food processing and local fruit stands. Manufacturing industries began to bloom after the surge of the industrial revolution of the late 19th century.
The Town of Kentville is known for the production of the first automobile in Nova Scotia. In 1910, an automobile name the MacKay rolled out of the Carriage Factory on Cornwallis Street in Kentville. Four years later the factory had produced 200 cars.
The Annapolis Valley Regional Industrial Park, one of Kentville’s most active business centers, was opened in September of 1979 and covers approximately 200 acres. The park has over 40 businesses and industries and is considered the economical core for large business sectors.
In 1982, Michelin North America Inc. expanded its borders and developed a tire plant in Waterville. The plant manufactures large truck tires and employs approximately 1000 people.
The Kentville Research Station was established in 1911 to serve the apple industry of the Annapolis Valley. The station, which sits on 473 acres of land, operates with a staff of over 200 people. The initial purpose of the research station was to develop and implement certain strategies for growing fruit. The centre has enhanced its facilities by adding a plant pathology laboratory in 1924 as well as the chemistry and entomology laboratories in 1938 and 1952. The official opening on June 15, 1981, saw the present facility specializing in insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers, as well as fruit and vegetable genetics.
Now named, the Kentville Agricultural Centre, the facility, with almost ninety years of experience, is considered one of the most modern and sophisticated research centres in Canada and houses the offices of Agriculture Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing. It has received national and international recognition in many areas, and welcomes visitors.