Body politic, Body corporate; City limits
An examination of the legislated spatial dimensions of Dartmouth – from its initial definition as a township, care of the Royal instructions that accompanied Cornwallis in 1749, to its dissolution by fiat into a county masquerading as a city in Nova Scotia’s municipal coup of 1996.
“And whereas for the better security, regulation and government of our said settlement, it will be necessary that such persons as we shall judge proper to send to our said province should be settled in townships; you are therefore hereby authorized and required to appoint such proper persons as you shall find there fully qualified to carry along with you forthwith to survey and mark out the said townships in such manner and at such places as is herein directed, that is to say, to townships containing 100,000 acres of land each be marked out at or near our harbor of Chebucto, as also one township of the like extent at each of the aforementioned places or such others as you shall judge most proper; and you are to take particular care in laying out such townships that they do include the best and most profitable land and also that they do include the best and most profitable rivers as may be at or near the said settlements and that the said townships do extend as far up into the country as conveniently may be, taking in a necessary part of the seacoast.”.769: Laying out townships in Nova Scotia (I). 1749-1752; (§§ 770, 766).
Labaree, Leonard Woods. “Royal Instructions To British Colonial Governors”, Volume II. New York, Octagon Books, 1967.
“the inhabitants of the town plot of Dartmouth…in said town…the district of Dartmouth”Chapter 6 of the Acts of 1789, “An act to enable the Inhabitants of the Town Plot of Dartmouth to use and occupy the Common Field, granted them by his excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, in such way as they may think most beneficial to them”
“Common of the town of Dartmouth…the common of the township of Dartmouth; situate on the eastern side of the harbour of Halifax, in special trust, for the use of the inhabitants settled and resident in the town plot, or that might thereafter settle, and actually reside, within the township of Dartmouth… Within the township of Dartmouth”Chapter 2 of the Acts of 1797, “An act to enable the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Commander in chief for the time being, to appoint Trustees, for the Common of the Town of Dartmouth, on the death, or removal, of the Trustees holding the same, and to vacate that part of the grant of the Common aforesaid, which vests trust in the heirs, executors or administrators, of the Trustees, named in the said grant, on the death of such Trustees”
“Town plot of Dartmouth… The said town… The town plot of Dartmouth, bounded on the North by the Common, on the South and West by the Halifax Harbour, and on the east by Mill Brook… Of the said towns respectively, within the said limits.”Chapter 23 of the Acts of 1818, “An act to extend the provisions of c15 of 1761 relating to Trespasses, to the Town of Pictou and the Town Plot of Dartmouth”
“The town of Dartmouth”Chapter 32 of the Acts of 1820-21 “To extend the Act for appointing Firewards to the Town of Dartmouth”
“the Town of Dartmouth… inhabitants of the said town… the jurisdiction, powers and authority, of the commissioners so to be appointed for the said Town of Dartmouth, shall be confined and restricted to the bounds and limits following, that is to say:- to the direction or space of one Mile, measured in a southwardly, Easterly, and Northerly direction, from the Public Landing, or Steam Boat Company Wharf, in the said Town.”Chapter 27 of the Acts of 1828 “To extend the Act relating to Commissioners of Highways to the Town of Dartmouth” https://0-nsleg–edeposit-gov-ns-ca.legcat.gov.ns.ca/deposit/Statutes/at_large/volume3/1828.pdf
“Inhabitants resident in the Town Plot of Dartmouth, at a meeting to be called for that purpose… Annual Meeting of the said Inhabitants”Chapter 52 of the Acts of 1841, “An Act for regulating the Dartmouth Common” http://0-nsleg–edeposit.gov.ns.ca.legcat.gov.ns.ca/deposit/Statutes/1841.pdf
“the Town of Dartmouth, in the County of Halifax… the said Town of Dartmouth”Chapter 48 of the Acts of 1843, “An Act to extend to the Town of Dartmouth the Act to amend the Act to regulate the Assize of Bread” http://0-nsleg–edeposit.gov.ns.ca.legcat.gov.ns.ca/deposit/Statutes/1843.pdf
“Whereas some uncertainty exists as regards the limits of the Township of Dartmouth… Be it therefore enacted by the Lieutenant Governor, Council and Assembly, that the lines of the Township of Dartmouth shall be established and settled as follows, beginning on the Eastern side of Bedford Basin at the head of Pace’s cove at low water mark, and thence to run north seventy four degrees east until it meets the main stream running Into Lake Major, thence southerly through the center of Lake Major and West Salmon River to the waters of Cole Harbor and thence Southwestwardly along the shore the several courses of the shore to Roaring Point, thence northerly following the course of the shore of the Main Land at low water mark to the place of beginning, so as not to include any Islands lying on or near said shore.Chapter 17 of the Acts of 1846, “An Act to define and establish the Lines of the Township of Dartmouth”
“…the inhabitants of the said town of Dartmouth …within the space of one mile, measured in a southwardly, easterly and northerly direction from the public landing or Steamboat Company’s wharf in said town”Chapter 29 of the Acts of 1847, “In relation to Assessment for a Fire Engine at Dartmouth”
For Dartmouth…one mile, measured in a southwardly, easterly and northerly direction from the public landing or Steamboat Company’s wharf in the said Town”Chapter 46 of the Acts of 1847, “An act relating to Streets and Highways … in the Town of Dartmouth”
“After the first Annual Town Meeting in the Township of Dartmouth, Three Trustees of Public Property shall be chosen, in whom shall be vested the legal possession of the several Water Lots that have been reserved for the use of the Public along the shores of the Town Plot of Dartmouth, and of a certain Lot of Land and School House now known and distinguished as the School Lot, lying in the Town Plot, to be recovered, held and preserved by the Trustees for the uses to which the same respectively have been reserved and applied, but the School House and School Lot shall be preserved exclusively to the use of Schools and Education, and nothing herein shall excuse the possession and control of the Trustees to be appointed under the Act passed in the present Session for the support of Schools if the School House and Lot might otherwise come under control of such Trustees. Any other Public Property in the Township of Dartmouth not legally possessed by or under the charge and supervision of any person, shall also be legally vested in the Trustees appointed under this act… three trustees shall be annually thereafter appointed at each Annual Town Meeting of the Township,,, The Inhabitants, in Town Meeting, at any time may declare the purposes to which the Town Property shall be applied by the Trustees, provided those purposes shall not be inconsistent with the uses to which the property has been granted, reserved or legally appropriated… the next Annual Town Meeting of Dartmouth”Chapter 53 of the Acts of 1850, “An Act Concerning Town Property in Dartmouth” http://0-nsleg–edeposit.gov.ns.ca.legcat.gov.ns.ca/deposit/Statutes/1850.pdf
“residing within the town plot of the township of Dartmouth, in the county of Halifax, may assess themselves, at any public meeting… for the purpose of obtaining a good and sufficient plan of said town plot… Of said town plot… The Commissioner of Streets for the said township… inhabitants of the said town plot”Chapter 56 of the Acts of 1866, “To authorize an assessment on the inhabitants of the Town Plot of Dartmouth”
“The Trustees of the Dartmouth Common shall be a Body politic and corporate… the Commissioner of Streets for the Town of Dartmouth… A requisition signed by two thirds at least of the rate payers residing within the limits of the town plot of Dartmouth… Which town plot shall be construed to embrace an area within a distance of one mile measured in a southwardly, easterly and northerly direction from the public landing or Steamboat Company’s wharf in said town”Chapter 31 of the Acts of 1868, “To amend the several Acts relating to the Dartmouth Common”
‘A municipality shall be erected within the County of Halifax, to be bounded as follows, that is to say: Beginning on the eastern side of the Harbor of Halifax, at a point in such Harbor distant three hundred feet Westerly from the South Western corner of a lot of land formerly owned by Judge Johnston and by him conveyed to John Esdaile; thence to run Eastwardly till it strikes the road leading to the property of the late John Esson; thence by the Southern side of such road and following the course thereof Eastwardly to such Esson property; thence along the Western boundary of such property, Southwardly to the South-Western corner thereof; thence Eastwardly to Gaston’s Road, and crossing such road to a point at right angles with the extension of a new road laid out by J.W. Watt through manor Hill Farm; thence Northwardly to such road and by such road for the length thereof; thence Northwardly to the causeway at Hurley’s on the First Lake; thence Northwardly to the causeway at Hurley’s on the First Lake; thence Northwardly to the North East boundary of Stair’s Ropewalk property; thence Westwardly to a point three hundred feet into the Harbor of Halifax; and thence Southwardly to then place of beginning; to be called and known as “The Town of Dartmouth”‘.Chapter 17 of the Acts of 1873, “An Act to Incorporate the Town of Dartmouth” https://0-nsleg–edeposit-gov-ns-ca.legcat.gov.ns.ca/deposit/Statutes/1873.pdf
“The inhabitants of the town of Dartmouth are constituted and declared to be a body corporate and politic by the name of the Town of Dartmouth…”Chapter 86 of the acts of 1886, “An Act to Amend the Acts relating to the Town of Dartmouth”
–We include a copy of the 1886 Statues from archive.org first, since the copy supplied by the Government of Nova Scotia is missing page 253, which just happens to be paragraph 1-3 of this Act to Amend the Acts relating to the Town of Dartmouth, which contains the above quoted passage, along with an explicit mention of male or female ratepayers, residents and nonresidents as qualified to vote.
‘The body so constituted shall be a body corporate, under the name of “The Dartmouth Ferry Commission…”‘Chapter 83 of the Acts of 1890, “An Act to provide for the establishment and operation of a Public Ferry between Dartmouth and Halifax”
“The Dartmouth Ferry Commission shall continue to be a body politic and corporate, as constituted under chapter 83 of the Acts of 1890 and amending Acts.”Chapter 37 of the Acts of 1894, “An Act to Consolidate the Acts relating to the establishment and operation of a Public Ferry between Dartmouth and Halifax”, https://0-nsleg–edeposit-gov-ns-ca.legcat.gov.ns.ca/deposit/Statutes/1894.pdf
“The assessors shall also insert on the roll the names of all yearly tenants in occupation of real property assessed.”Chapter 65 of the Acts of 1901, “Act to amend Chapter 50 of the Acts 1897, amending Towns’ Incorporation Act so far as relates to Dartmouth”
“The Town of Dartmouth shall continue to be a body corporate under the name “City of Dartmouth”Chapter 64 of the Acts of 1961, “The City of Dartmouth Act”
“The City of Dartmouth shall continue, subject to change in accordance with the provisions thereof to be a body corporate…”Chapter 67 of the Acts of 1962, “Dartmouth City Charter”
“…all persons of the full age of twenty-one years; whose names appear upon the last revised list of electors; whose names do not appear upon the last revised list of electors but who are Canadian citizens or British subjects and who have continuously resided in the City or in an area annexed to the City since the first day of May immediately preceding the date of election and who continue to reside therein on the date of election and who take the oath or affirmation in Form 14 of the schedule”Chapter 86 of the Acts of 1966, “An Act to amend Chapter 67 of the Acts of 1962, the Dartmouth City Charter”
“the City of Dartmouth shall continue… to be a body corporate…”Chapter 43A of the Acts of 1978, “Dartmouth City Charter”
And then: by fiat, without a plebiscite, without support from the body politic as composed by the citizens of the municipality:
“On and after April 1, 1996, the inhabitants of the County of Halifax are a body corporate under the name “Halifax Regional Municipality”“Chapter 3 of the Acts of 1995, An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality”