“East side of Bedford Basin: The winding shore above the narrows has many picturesque points and coves to recommend it to the lover of natural scenery. It has also historical associations, but not, perhaps, of such prominence as that of the western side. High hills, clad with pine and spruce, rise conspicuously above the sparkling waters, affording wide views of the city and harbor of Halifax. Tuft’s Cove, which was named after Gerisham Tufts, who belonged to a family extensively known in the United States, was the first to obtain a grant of the land surrounding this cove. The impression prevailed that he belonged to New England and came to Halifax early in the settlement of the town. The land above the Tufts property was granted to Ezekiel Gilman. He was one of the two army majors, retired, that accompanied the first settlers to Halifax. Leonard Lochman, after whom Lockman …

Footprints Around and About Bedford Basin Read More…

“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 present among the [Indigenous people] of Acadia, but we have no knowledge of the number dying as a result. We may be sure it was large, however…” “There was again an outbreak in Acadia in 1709 where there is evidence to suggest that the disease was of the haemorrhagic type. …

The Development of Public Health in Nova Scotia Read More…

“Nine years later, one finds this institute arranging an excursion to Portland, “under the auspices of the Marine Charitable Mechanics’ Association of Portland”, which brought not only much pleasure, but a £60 profit for the building fund . Dartmouth Mechanics’ Institute, Nova Scotia, arranged a picnic and bazaar, under the patronage of Lieutenant Governor Falkland, on neighbouring McNab’s Island in 1845, and this was recognized as ” the outstanding summer event in the social life of the community.” Four thousand people were conveyed by ferries to a picnic ground, where displays were intermingled with refreshment stands, with music provided by a military band, and with everything from quoits, balls, and swings, to dancing on the green. A gross profit of £500 was realized and was to facilitate construction of the institute’s new building in the following year. The neighbouring Halifax Mechanics’ Institute, doubtless chagrined that this more recent foundation was …

The Work/Leisure Ethic in Adult Education Read More…

“The Telephone Utility is one of the oldest and largest public utilities, and perhaps the one which comes into direct contact with the most people in their workaday lives. The telephone was invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, a man well and favourably known in Nova Scotia, as during the last years of his life he made his home in Cape Breton, just outside of Baddeck. The first telephone in Halifax was installed in 1877, and the first actual commercial use of the service was at the Caledonia Mine, Cape Breton, also in the same year. At this time the receiver and transmitter were not separate, but the same instrument was used for both, being changed back and forth from ear to mouth. In 1878 the first long distance call in Nova Scotia was placed from Halifax to Truro. In 1879 the first switchboard to connect the different lines …

Public Utility Regulation in Nova Scotia Read More…

“Isaac Deschamps and James Brenton, puisne judges of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court [NSSC], had, charged the colonial Assembly in April 1790, committed “divers illegal, partial, and corrupt acts” such as to justify “Impeachment” for “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”‘ These words come from the preamble to a list of seven “articles of impeachment” passed by the Nova Scotia Assembly on 5-7 April 1790. The seven articles, distilled from thirteen draft articles which had been introduced on 10 March, listed ten cases in which the judges were alleged to have acted incompetently or partially, or both, and also included accusations that they had lied to the Lieutenant-Governor’s Council of Twelve when it had conducted an inquiry into some of the allegations two and a half years earlier. The “trial” of the judges on these articles of impeachment took place before the Committee of the Privy Council for Trade and Plantations in …

The Impeachment of the Judges of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, 1787-1793: Colonial Judges, Loyalist Lawyers, and the Colonial Assembly Read More…

“Because post-Revolutionary American government resembled the practices of the corporation colonies, proprietary governments often have been neglected. Yet, the proprietary form represented an equally plausible approach to delegating governance authority. Englishmen interested in the settlements viewed the invention of the proprietary form as an improvement over the corporation colony; proprietaries achieved real settlement success. Nova Scotia (1621), Avalon (1623), Maryland (1632), and Maine (1639), as well as Carolina (1663), New York and New Jersey (1664), Pennsylvania (1681), and East Jersey (1682), all followed the proprietary form. The coexistence of settlements with authority delegated through corporate governance practices and those with authority delegated to individual feudal proprietors indicates the absence of preconceived notions about the appropriate manner of government for colonies. Although we tend to think of the charter as emblematic of democratic constitutionalism, the term charter first appeared in the early proprietary grants. The proprietary form involved governing practices under …

English Settlement and Local Governance Read More…

Did you know that the beginning of the right to vote for women in Nova Scotia started in the Town of Dartmouth in 1886? If you rely on the Province of Nova Scotia to inform you, you won’t find a mention of Dartmouth (https://nslegislature.ca/about/history/women-in-nova-scotia-politics), perhaps because their copy of the Statutes of 1886 omits page 253, which just happens to be the page that details who is eligible to vote in Dartmouth’s elections. http://0-nsleg-edeposit.gov.ns.ca.legcat.gov.ns.ca/deposit/Statutes/1886.pdf Luckily Google has digitized a copy held by Stanford Law Library. “All ratepayers of the town whether male or female” Check it out here, on Page 252 (275)(https://ia902706.us.archive.org/6/items/statutesnovasco01scotgoog/statutesnovasco01scotgoog.pdf) On April 26th 1918 the franchise was further extended to female property owners Province wide via the Nova Scotia Franchise Act (1918, c. 2, p. 2). In 1920 further changes were made with the “Act to Amend Chapter 2, Acts of 1918” (1920, c. 49, p. 65) – …

Universal Sufferage in Canada, and the Dartmouth Connection Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: “The first move towards procuring women’s suffrage in Nova Scotia was taken by the Town of Dartmouth in 1886 when they got an Act through the Provincial Legislature extending to female ratepayers the right to vote at municipal elections. It was effective the following year. Our 1873 Act of Incorporation stated that the privilege of voting was granted to “every male ratepayer.” In other words, widows, and spinsters owning property within the Town had no voice in the election of the Town Council. Evidently, it was then an unheard of thing for women to be associated with polling booths. In thus extending the franchise to females, Dartmouth led all other Nova Scotia towns and even the capital City of Halifax.” Dartmouth Annual Report, 1886: http://legacycontent.halifax.ca/archives/DartAnnReps/documents/101-1m-1886.pdf

Sinclair Williams…A Local Hero from empowerfulproject on Vimeo. “Youth and seniors from the East Preston community have been working with a Halifax based video company, Pink Dog Productions to produce a video honoring one of East Preston’s local cultural heroes Mr. Sinclair Williams who was the first African Nova Scotian police officer for the Dartmouth Area.”

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: BEGINNINGS OF WOODSIDE “Woodside” was the name of a beautiful rural estate, commanding a full view of the harbor, which was laid out about 1830 for Hon. John E. Fairbanks. The description of these highly ornamental grounds occupies a whole page in Mrs. Lawson’s History of Dartmouth. His private duck-pond was across the main road in that filled-in oval running westerly from the present base-ball park. The old Fairbanks dwelling is still used as a recreation hall. All that residential section of South Woodside commenced developing when the “Company” houses were constructed in 1886. The first sugar refinery, composed largely of brick, was erected in 1884, and destroyed by fire in 1912. The present building occupies much of the old site. There has been no sugar refined at this plant since June 1942. The stoppage was caused by world conditions during …

1830 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: In 1920 we had the coldest winter for years. There were 21 days of good sleighing, and 11 days of sub-zero weather in January with the mercury down to 17 below near the month-end. In February the harbor froze over for the first time since 1898. The ferries kept a lane open, and the tug “Ragus” bucked her way daily from the Sugar Refinery to the Imperial Oil wharf at Halifax. On a Sunday afternoon, a number of us skated from Mill Cove to McNab’s Island, without experiencing any difficulty except in hopping over the ice-pans in the channel of the “Ragus” off Woodside. Robert Lynch, who had been eight years in the Town Council, opposed Dr. Simpson in the Mayoralty election and got 525 votes to the Doctor’s 617. A motor-driven ladder truck was purchased and the first Town Engineer …

1920 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: During 1919, shipload after shipload of defence forces were brought back to the port of Halifax to be discharged. The work of repatriation went on for months. In Dartmouth, a local Housing Commission was set up for the purpose of aiding returned men in the financing of new homes. Stocks of building material, hitherto limited in quantity, were now made available for all kinds of construction work. Several new contracting firms established themselves in town, bringing artisans and craftsmen to assist in the rehabilitation of the devastated northend and other sections of Dartmouth. The population was increasing and rents were rising. New houses were started along the Park lots of Windmill Road, and also farther north. The Ropeworks built six dwellings on Jamieson Street. A whole block went up on Park Avenue east of King Street, and on Victoria Road in …

1919 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Throughout the winter of 1914-1915, Dartmouth pupils continued on half-time classes until the new Greenvale and Hawthorne Schools were finally opened towards the end of April. Old Hawthorne School, however, still had to be utilized to take care of the overcrowding. Legislation was obtained in 1915 empowering the Park Commission to sell building lots on the Common from the wooden Exhibition Rink to Lyle Street. The name of Quarrell Street was changed to Queen Street, and the Town tax rate was fixed at $1.67. A Town Planning Board was formed. It comprised Mayor Williams, Councilors Lynch and Russell; R. Leo Graham and Dr. W. H. Hattie. Collections for a machine gun were successful carried out by the Axe and Ladder Company under the leadership Harry Young. Recruiting speeches were made by military and other officials at every opportunity such as theatre …

1915 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by 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 they sang patriotic songs and heard addresses on loyalty from Rev. Principal Grant of Queen’s University, and from Attorney-General Longley of Nova Scotia. Dartmouth north-end residents commemorated the Victorian Jubilee in a more tangible form. They purchased from the Sinclair estate a two-acre block of land, then in a swampy and …

1897 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by 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 back, and averaged 6 cents.) According to this newspaper, local industries of that time included Starr Manufacturing Co., skates, bolts, nuts and electroplating; employed from 75 to 100 hands depending on orders. The skate business was then on the decline. Dartmouth Ropeworks, when running full time employed 300 hands; Oland’s Brewery …

1895 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: 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. On the western side of Water Street then ran a row of small buildings so that the house and one-chair tonsorial parlor of D. J. Symonds on the northwest corner was directly opposite our shop. Steamboat Hill was no wider than the rest of Portland Street. Next north of Symonds was Mrs. Morrissey’s window-array of three plates of taffy (not fly-screened), while behind the counter were displayed a few 4-cent figs …

1890 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: On New Year’s Day 1889 the Dartmouth Public Reading Room opened in the long building near the Ferry. This beneficial institution was our first library. The Board of School Commissioners was organized that year, and had for its first members Councillors A. C. Johnston, C. E. Creighton, F. G. Dares, together with Dr. Frank Woodbury and C. H. Harvey. So also was the Dartmouth Park Commission which comprised Mayor Frederick Searfe, Councillors Alexander Lloy, W. H. Sterns, with J. Walter Allison and F. C. Elliot as Government appointees. Towards the end of February the champion Chebucto hockey team went to Montreal where they played two games for what was then the equivalent of the Stanley Cup. They lost both. As the Canadian rules differed from those in our neighborhood, one-half of each game was played under Maritime rules. Preceding the first …

1889 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: In 1888 George E. McDonald came to Dartmouth as lineman and agent of the Bell Telephone Co., and set up the Exchange in his residence at 19 Edward Street. There were then some 30 telephones in use, including one at the Town Hall and another at Chief of Police McKenzie’s house above the lock-up. The latter instrument was mostly to receive fire calls. This innovation marked a great improvement over the established practice of messengers running on foot or galloping on horseback long distances whenever an alarm had to be sounded. Even after the fire-bell rang, disastrous delays often occurred because of the roundabout arrangements employed in moving the fire engine. One night in February, for instance, Williams’ two-storey boat-shop was burnt to the ground. The building stood at the foot of Church Street which location is almost within shouting distance …

1888 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Up to 1886 the Dartmouth civic year closed on April 30th. From 1887 onward it was changed to coincide with the calendar year ending on December 31st, and the Town elections were held on the first Tuesday of February instead of the first Tuesday of May as heretofore. In the February election of 1887 the first woman ever to poll a vote in Nova Scotia, voted at the Ward II polling booth in the Town Hall. Unfortunately the name of the lady is not preserved in local records but the candidates for Councillor that day were A. C. Johnston and H. C. Walker. The usual winter activities of Dartmouth centred around the lakes and the new skating rink. That season the Chebucto Club played a series of hockey matches with the Wanderers A.A.C., whose home rink was the Halifax Exhibition building …

1887 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: In 1884, Dartmouth along with other centres adopted Standard Time of the 60th meridian. Timepieces were advanced 14 minutes before noon on March 1st. Louis D. Robinson resigned as Principal of Schools, and was succeeded by H. S. Congdon. William Mac-Kenzie became Chief of the two-man police force, in place of Robert Lehan. Construction of the railway bridge at the Narrows began that spring. M. J. Hogan of Quebec was the contractor for the timber and trestle work. The Starr Manufacturing Company under the supervision of John Forbes, made the 200-foot swinging drawbridge. Duncan Waddell did the stone work. One of his divers, Edward Whebby, recently returned from Honolulu, was the first casualty. After working in 20 fathoms of water, he complained of being unwell and died within a few hours. On Dartmouth side, the first sod for the railway was …

1884 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Ex-Councilor John F. Stairs of “Northbrook” became Warden of Dartmouth in May of 1883. In July he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as one of the Conservative representatives for Halifax County. Never before nor since has a Dartmouth resident performed such a dual function. After twenty years of earnest effort on the part of George G. Dustan, construction of the Woodside Refinery was commenced that year. The cornerstone was laid on July 3rd by Mrs. Dustan at the northeast corner of the building. Granite from the Northwest Arm was used in the foundation with the addition of large flagstones from the Beaver Bank quarries of Duncan Waddell. Contractor S. M. Brookfield had about 170 men on the job. On the main highway, Refinery officials were planning the erection of rows of “Company houses” similar to the project at …

1883 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Although the exodus of young people seeking work in the United States continued, and there were several houses for sale or let in 1879, yet the industrial situation seemed to be improving. The annual output of the Starr Factory was about 40,000 pairs of skates and many of these were shipped to the United States and to Europe. Of late years German competition was beginning to threaten their sales. About this time they commenced the manufacture of shovels, and the firm continually submitted tenders on government bridge-building projects. Among local jobs completed by the Starr Factory in 1879 was the making and setting-up of iron vaults and doors for the new Merchants Bank at Halifax. (Now Royal Bank.) Aggressive Dartmouthians kept up their agitation for a railway that spring. There was talk in the air that the Allan line might build …

1879 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: The first public demonstration of a telephone in Dartmouth, and also the first local broadcast over wires took place on March 21st, 1878, when a vocal and instrumental concert at the Town Hall was heard and acknowledged through telephone apparatus set up in the Dominion Telegraph Company’s office at 187 Hollis Street in Halifax. The Dartmouth hookup was made by connecting a telephone instrument to the local telegraph wire, an extension of which had been run in to the auditorium of the Town Hall. This Dartmouth exhibition of the newly-invented telephone, previously advertised as a feature of the concert, was highly successful. Communication was held with the City, and the notes of musical instruments were clearly heard by a group assembled in the Halifax office. They in turn rendered a short program which was listened to by the Town Hall audience. …

1878 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: In the leap year of 1876 the Cabbage Club paraded through town on their annual sleigh drive to Griffin’s Inn at Preston. This time they were accompanied by lady friends. The recently organized Red Caps Snowshoe Club of Halifax held a snowshoe race from First Lake to Porto Bello. Eli Veniot, carpenter at the ferry, was fatally injured while cutting ice out of the paddle box of one of the boats. Bowes’ icehouse at the foot of Nowlan Street was badly gutted by fire. The horse races drew a crowd to Second Lake in mid-February. A lengthy Act for supplying Dartmouth with water passed the Legislature that winter. The Act noted that the ratepayers had previously ratified the borrowing of $33,000 for such purpose. By this legislation the Town was now authorized to construct a water system, provided it received the …

1876 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: By 1873 the newly established industries of Dartmouth were commencing to participate in the usual practice of holding annual sleigh-drives hereabouts. These establishments could not be expected to advertise their wares in all of the numerous newspapers then being published in Halifax, and consequently took advantage of other opportunities to make their products known to the public. In February 1873 the employees of Starr Manufacturing Company boosted their Acme skates and new electro-plating department by parading in a long line of decorated sleighs through the business streets of Halifax, before proceeding to some popular hostel “out the road”. On the very next day, the employees of Symonds’ Foundry then numbering about 60 men, went through the same performance. Their destination was Bedford. With a Band discoursing music in the leading sleigh the horses jingled up George Street off the ferry followed …

1873 Read More…