“Disaster is frequently the parent of legislation. In surveying the long history of Nova Scotia, we find this saying particularly true.” “The first recorded instance of illness in Nova Scotia is the account of Champlain of an outbreak of scurvy at Port Royal in 1606. His group of settlers had spent the winter of 1605 at St. Croix Island, where, of a group of seventy-nine, forty-four died of scurvy. In Port Royal in the following year twelve of forty-five died.” “Of all the epidemics, that of smallpox carried with it the greatest destruction and terror. In 1694 an epidemic was …

The Development of Public Health in Nova Scotia More…

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Remember that time Dartmouthians got so fed up with the substandard ferry service offered by Haligonians, they charted their own course, and organized a committee that started a rebel ferry service? We do. A service that became so popular that the Haligonian run service was abandoned in favor of the people’s service. This group of rebels even organized a ferry boat buying expedition to the United States. “The Spirit of Dartmouth”, that’s what they should’ve named a county masquerading as a city’s new ferryboat 😉 (Pictured, Dartmouth’s Yankee sourced “The Annex” ferry, alongside a friend, the USS New Orleans – also, …

The Annex More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: The year 1899 marked the beginnings of Empire Day in a few large Canadian centres. Nova Scotia led all other Provinces in placing Empire Day among its legal institutions, and on May 23rd patriotic exercises were conducted in every important school section of this Province. At the celebration in Dartmouth a tree was planted at Greenvale School to honor Joseph Howe, our former townsman. The Town tax rate for 1899 was $1.30. A public meeting of ratepayers voted down a proposal to borrow $10,000 for a new Town Hall. A …

1899 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: January of 1898 was very cold and snowy, resulting in the worst harbor freeze-up since 1875. Mill Cove and a wide area off the cradles of the Shipyard provided a hockey and skating surface for about ten days. Often boys would venture out to the middle of the harbor where a channel was kept open by running intermittent trips of the ferry throughout the day and night. By the first of February all three boats had their paddle-wheels so badly damaged that they abandoned the ice-battle. For the next three …

1898 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: In January 1897 George Foston’s house near Maynard’s Lake was burned to the ground early on a below-zero morning. Later that year a dreadful holocaust took the lives of two people at the former; Lennox homestead on Chestnut Lane, Cole Harbor Road. Youthful James Harrison, clad only in night-clothes, heroically rescued injured George Tulloch from the flaming building. Mr. Tulloch later succumbed to burns received. The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria was celebrated in June. Over 1,000 flag-waving school children were marched by their teachers to the Common Field where …

1897 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: In February 1896 the Dartmouth Board of Trade was organized with E. M. Walker as the first President, and Arthur C. Johnston, Secretary. A new industry started in Mumford’s former foundry on Maple Street where a Rolling Mill with 15 men on the payroll commenced to manufacture merchant bar-iron. One big buyer was the Rhodes Curry Company of Amherst. In favorable winter weather a popular pastime of young people consisted in the exhilarating sport of coasting down long hills like Synott’s near the Rink, or Bell’s hill on upper Portland …

1896 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: On January 3rd, 1895, Mayor Sterns and the Councilors attended the state funeral at Halifax of Sir John Thompson, Prime Minister of Canada, who had died at Windsor Castle in December. In the spring, the “Atlantic Weekly” moved to the southern half of McDonald’s “skyscraper”. The man-power press was usually operated by Tommy Hyles. If he failed to appear for the Saturday morning run, we newsboys used to take turns at the big wheel until enough papers were rolled off to supply our needs. (I walked to South Woodside and …

1895 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: The bridge over the Canal at Portland Street was reconstructed under the direction of Street Superintendent Bishop, and the hollow filled in with material excavated from the water trenches. The sturdy stones on both sides which are now visible only on the northern side, are from the ruins of the Canal Locks, and bear the familiar 7-point etchings of stone-cutters of a bygone day. The stones were set in position by Messrs. Synott and Barry. Thus went the last of our downtown wooden bridges. The railway bridge over the Narrows, …

1894 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: In January of 1893 a hockey league was formed consisting of the Chebuctos, Mutuals and the Turtle Grove Recreation Club who arranged a series of games to be played at Dartmouth Rink. Dartmouth teachers were then gathering samples of the best school work to be sent along with the Nova Scotia educational exhibit to the World’s Fair in Chicago. In the collection were photographs of the five Dartmouth schools taken by George Craig for a $10 fee. (These pictures are still on display at Dartmouth High School.) The Starr Factory …

1893 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: In the spring of 1892 the water-works project was carried on more extensively with trenches being dug concurrently in sections both without and within the Town limits. During that year and the next, main streets of downtown Dartmouth presented an extraordinary appearance with long stretches of yawning ditches topped by ridges of reddish clay and slatish stone which narrowed the thoroughfares into one-lane arteries. Gutters were strewn with long links of heavy iron pipe, while here and there the sidewalk was obstructed with breast-high piles of birch-brush used in blasting …

1892 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: Dartmouth collected over $1,000 for the Springhill Mine Disaster fund in 1891. The Dominion decennial census gave our population as 6,252. The Statistical Year Book gave it as 4,576. Newspaper comment was that the first mentioned figure must have included the whole polling district, and the 4,576 was for Dartmouth municipality only. (Compare the 1881 and 1901 census.) Dartmouth professional speed skaters of that era included Charles Moore, “Si” Faulkner, “Bob” Patterson and George Misener, Some fast amateur skaters were Ted Graham, Bud Swaffer, Jack Warner, Arch Mosher, William Foston, …

1891 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: From this point onward in our story, some word pictures of life in Dartmouth can be given from personal recollection. On May 1st, 1890, our seven-member family moved from “Asylum Road’’ to the roomy Quaker-built house at Sterns’ corner. The front door was on Portland Street. The premises had just been vacated by Frank Mowatt, grocer. Downstairs in the shop my father sold candy, tobacco, hop beer and table beer on draught. We served oysters on the half-shell which cost about a dollar a barrel and yielded a handsome profit. …

1890 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: SOUTH END LAWN TENNIS CLUB ABOUT 1898. The Old Ferry Road bordered by willow trees was at right. Mott’s “Candle Factory Hill” in the background. The site is about 50 yards west of 71 Newcastle St. Reading from left to right the players are: Miss Fanny Parker; John Menger; Lewis K. Payzant; Prescott Johnston; Miss Annie Strong; Miss Isabel MacGregor (sister of Prof. Gordon MacGregor of Dalhousie); Miss Louise Black; George G. Dustan; Miss Mary Ann Parker (Mrs. Rev. Dr. Keirstead of Acadia University); Miss Jessie Mackenzie; Miss Nora MacKay; Mrs. …

South End Lawn Tennis Club, 1898 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: ST. GEORGE’S TENNIS CLUB in the 1890’s. The clubhouse faced the three courts which extended towards Maitland Street. The railway track is seen just outside the wire-netted fence and the southern gate. Left to right bottom row: Miss Gertrude MacKenzie, A. C. Johnston, John Creighton. Middle row: Miss Josie Ilowe, Miss Hattie James, Mrs. H. D. Creighton, Miss Annie Strong, C. E. Creighton. Upper row:    Walter Creighton, Mrs. Walter Creighton, Miss Saidie James, man bending thought to be A. Stanley MacKenzie, Harry Strong. The last player on the right is unidentified.

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: This photo will convey some idea of the labor involved in blasting out the artificial river-bed to straighten the Canal stream. The natural course of the water, which was a few rods to the left, must often have flooded the flats thereabouts, especially in spring freshets. The wooden bridge was therefore a great boon to rural travelers, and provided a safe route to the main ferry. Date of this bridge is in the late 1820’s. About that time, the Old Ferry ceased running. Fishermen in dories are obtaining water in …

Portland Street Canal Bridge, 1890s More…

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