Single-Family House Values in Metropolitan Halifax, 1981

“The overall pattern of home values in metropolitan Halifax has been strongly influenced by the early (mid-nineteenth-century) establishment of a prestige sector in the South End. This sector failed to develop outward due to the barrier of the Northwest Arm, which, paradoxically, was not bridged, since to have done so would have marred the original attraction of the sector.

While nearly all ‘exclusive’ housing remains in pockets on or near the Arm, new prestige housing areas have been developed in the suburbs, wherever fine settings and the absence of wartime shacks allow. In particular, the presence of extensive ‘low-value’ tracts south of Armdale has forced most new high-value developments in Halifax to the north mainland. Finally, while public housing has tended only to reinforce the low-value pattern established by 1950, publicly funded land developments, particularly Forest Hills, have created large peripheral areas of below-median value.”

Published in Canadian Geographer | Hugh Millward | 1983,,

Peri-urban residential development in the Halifax region 1960–2000: magnets, constraints, and planning policies

“Since the late 1950s there has been an explosion of residential development within the commuter belt of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This city region is unusual in having very little farming or pre-existing settlement, so that land prices are low, and development controls have been minimal. Conversely, however, the predominantly hardrock environment presents severe difficulties for the extension of sewer and water lines, and has thus constrained the growth of serviced residential subdivisions. This paper documents the regional progression of both suburban residential development, which is generally serviced, and exurban or country residential development (CRD), which is generally unserviced.

The author’s aims are, first, to describe the locational sequence of peri-urban residential development in the Halifax city region over the 40-year period 1960-2000. Secondly, to analyze and explain that sequence in terms of three sets of factors: magnets or attractors for residential development, constraints or inhibitors, and planning policies designed to control or direct development. Thirdly, to identify lessons from the past which suggest useful policy options for planning of future residential patterns. An assessment of past development processes and current options is particularly timely, since the region’s four municipal units (the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, the town of Bedford, and the Municipality of the County of Halifax) amalgamated in 1996 to form the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM–see Millward 1996, 12-14). This regional government now stands ready to prepare a new land-use and transportation plan for the region.

While Halifax’s special environmental circumstances have produced a pattern of development which is unique in its particulars, many of the driving factors operative in the Halifax region are also actively or potentially operative throughout the developed world. The lessons from a detailed case study should therefore have considerable transferability, particularly to other city regions possessing high personal mobility in combination with low rural land valuations. Halifax allows an exceptionally clear view of the dramatic effects of automobile-induced commuter development, since its hinterland was remarkably devoid of resource-based settlement prior to 1950, there are no alternative urban employment centres within commuting range, rural land prices are extremely low, and competition or conflict between housing and resource industries has been minimal. The combined effect of these conditions is that pre-1960 housing within the commuter-shed has been swamped by post-1960 development, both in suburban and exurban areas. The paper also has wider relevance in that it highlights the local importance of broad shifts in styles of governance and planning philosophies. These shifts occurred worldwide after 1980, and the Halifax case illustrates the impact of policy and funding changes on the promotion and control of peri-urban residential development.

The Regional Situation to 1960 Halifax was founded as a fortress and naval base, not as the central place for a region of agricultural settlement (Millward 1993). Indeed, the physical environment almost precludes farming, being a forbidding land of glacially-scoured igneous and metamorphic rocks (granite, slate, and greywacke), poorly-drained, strewn with boulders, and lacking topsoil. Within the area depicted on Figure 1, only a few areas had sufficient depth to bedrock to enable settlement for semi-subsistence farming (Canada Land Inventory classes 3 to 5): these are the softrock environments to the north and a discontinuous area of drumlinized glacial till extending from Halifax east to Chezzetcook. Glacial till also enabled small pockets of farming in the Sackville river valley at Hammonds Plains, and on the north-east margins of St. Margaret’s Bay. Elsewhere the interior remained virtually unsettled through to 1960, with the exception of several Black communities–North Preston and Beechville (near Lakeside)–which began life as subsistence farming communities despite their lack of topsoil (see Henry 1973; Pachai 1987/1990).”

Published in Canadian Geographer | Hugh Millward | 2002,,

“The city is an apartment house”: property, improvement and dispossession in early twentieth-century Halifax, Nova Scotia

“In early twentieth-century Halifax, municipal policies of property taxation and assessment became an important object of political discussion and contestation. Central to these political contests was a particular, theoretically informed distinction between “land” and “improvements.” This distinction would ultimately ground a set of changes in municipal taxation and assessment (introduced between 1914 and 1918) and would help to constitute a new and consequential logic of state action within property relations. Drawing on the literature on property “enactment,” this article examines how early twentieth-century struggles over municipal taxation and assessment reshaped the prevailing understanding of real property in the city of Halifax.

Consistent with existing research, I demonstrate how a new perspective on property—including a new distinction between land and improvements—gradually came into being through a series of performances, practices and material devices. Embedded within this new perspective, crucially, was a specific logic of dispossession, a new and calculative rationale for the expropriation and redevelopment of the city’s “underimproved” land. While the literature on property enactment has quite often investigated practices of dispossession, I point out that its analysis of dispossession’s logic or rationale has tended to be confined to a single property theorist, John Locke, and his justifiably famous distinction between land and improvements. Emphasizing the rather different, post-Lockean conception of property that emerged in early twentieth-century Halifax, I suggest that more attention ought to be paid to the multiple and varying logics of dispossession that are liable to be contained within prevailing property enactments.”

Published in Urban Geography | Ted Rutland | 2015,,

Building Lots in Dartmouth

For Sale. Eight eligible sites for private residences, east of Canal bridge, and in vicinity of the new Presbyterian Church, Dartmouth, offering a pleasant view of the harbor and neighboring heights. The charming prospect afforded by those grounds, combined with the vicinity to the ferry, render them desirable to those seeking airy and healthy residences.

That level plot of ground at Dartmouth Cove, two hundred feet wide by two hundred and fifty feet depth, having a fine run of water passing through it, making it a most desirable point either for a manufacturing or other business establishment. Also – the water lots in front of same, extending four hundred feet into the harbor, adapting them for a Coal Depot.

As a branch of the Intercolonial railway will most probably be taken into Dartmouth, there is no point on the harbor of Halifax so likely to be benefitted as the above.

For terms, etc., apply at the office of W.B. Hamilton.


British Colonist, May 3, 1873. Page 1, Colum 6.

Modern Homes


Monday July 15, 1957: Show modern trend – Modern homes are steadily increasing in number along the Cole Harbor Road and when it recieves its hard surface, already started, will probably mount by the score.

The Homes Front: The Accommodation Crisis In Halifax, 1941-1951

dart wartime housing

“Cobbled thoroughfares, unpaved sidestreets, an overburdened public transportation system, obsolete water supply, inadequate health services, draconian liquor control regulations, and overcrowded restaurants, cafes, and cinemas combined to produce an atmosphere that would have been oppressive even without the damp climate, gasoline and food rationing, or blackout regulations. In many respects the city resembled a military camp more than an urban community, yet authorities refused to declare Halifax a restricted area.

Halifax landlords were roundly criticized in the national press for charging exorbitant rents, but in reality the cost of housing rose everywhere, as workers arriving from smaller communities to work in war industries competed for available accommodation. Unlike sugar or gasoline, the supply of housing remained essentially unregulated. Even after rent controls were imposed in mid-1941, tenants and landlords found ways to circumvent the system. Native Haligonians did not like what the war had done to their city, although many benefited economically from the war boom. There were too many strangers, too many ships, too many uniforms, too many camp followers.

Halifax was less prepared to house a large influx of workers than cities with a larger industrial and manufacturing base, since industry tended to stimulate housing construction. Under normal conditions, a revivified local economy would soon have spilled over into the building trades, and the housing stock would have expanded to meet the increased demand. That this did not happen in Halifax may be attributed to two main factors: military priorities affected the availability of labour and materials for residential construction, and the majority of the wartime transient population were not industrial workers, therefore the government made scant provisions for housing them.

This failure to expand the housing stock during the war only exacerbated an already chronic shortage of affordable, adequate accommodation caused by two decades of slow economic growth.

Many Hydrostone dwellings administered by the Halifax Relief Commission during the 1930s remained vacant for months on end because the rents were so high. Low income wage-earners— young adults, seasonal workers in primary resource industries, domestic servants—survived the depression by staying at home longer, working short term positions while living in rooming houses, taking cheaper accommodation outside the city and commuting, and returning to smaller communities—where the cost of living was lower—between jobs. New housing construction in Halifax was confined to a relatively small area in the western portion of the peninsula. In older sections of the city, conversion of large homes into apartments was more common than replacement of existing structures. The multiple-family apartment building was almost unknown in Halifax other than the occasional dilapidated tenement where sanitary facilities were often totally inadequate.”

Wartime Housing Limited bungalows for war workers under construction in Dartmouth, ca. 1942. A similar project, the first in Canada, was built by WHL in the north end of Halifax in 1941, and is visible in the background of this photograph. (SOURCE: Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Bollinger Collection #84)

White, Jay. “The Homes Front: The Accommodation Crisis In Halifax, 1941-1951.” Urban History Review / Revue D’histoire Urbaine, vol. 20, no. 2/3, 1991, pp. 117–127. JSTOR,

From Study to Reality: The Establishment of Public Housing In Halifax, 1930-1953

During the Great Depression, various sectors supported the idea of providing shelter for low-income families, but the first public housing project didn’t open until 1949 in Toronto’s Regent Park. The second project arose in St. John’s, Newfoundland, after Confederation, and the third in Halifax, despite perceptions of maritime conservatism. Halifax had advocated for public housing since 1930, with previous attempts failing due to factors like the Halifax explosion and post-war residential construction booms. A coalition of labor unions, professionals, religious leaders, and the building industry campaigned for low-rental housing in Halifax since 1931.

The resistance to public housing, primarily from the federal government and local conservatism, delayed its implementation. Efforts to address housing shortages during World War II faced opposition, leading to delayed action until 1949 when public housing projects for veterans were initiated. The final establishment of public housing in Halifax, particularly the Bayers Road project, was a culmination of over two decades of effort by various social and labor movements. Despite initial opposition, Halifax became an innovative hub for housing programs once federal policies became conducive to public housing development.

“During the great depression, a new vision of shelter for low income families received widespread support from surprisingly varied sectors of the population. Yet, despite the encouragement of labour unions, social workers, planners, architects and important parts of the construction industry, the first public housing project did not actually open until 1949 in Toronto’s Regent Park. The second arose in St. John’s, Newfoundland, immediately after Confederation, and the third, despite the myth of Maritime “conservatism”, was located in Halifax. In fact, Halifax had been one of the first centres of continued agitation for public housing, which began in 1930. The long and tortured history of the public housing campaigns in Halifax tells much about the social forces which both promoted and delayed the birth of public housing across the nation.

Like other Canadian cities, Halifax had experienced pressures for public housing prior to the depression. In 1913, the Nova Scotia legislature passed a measure for the establishment of limited dividend housing corporations, in response to concerns in the city. There was, however, no housing constructed under this act and the efforts to build limited dividend housing collapsed under the impact of the Halifax explosion.1 The city participated in the short-lived federal post-war public housing scheme. It was also the site of the first public housing in Canada, the Hydrostone complex designed by international planning expert Thomas Adams to provide medium income rental housing for those displaced by the Halifax disaster. As in other Canadian cities, the campaign for better low income housing quieted down after the nation experienced a boom in residential construction starting in 1923. At the end of 1930, however, an alliance of labour unions, professionals concerned with housing and social work, religious leaders and the building industry, began to come together.”

“On 31 March 1931, the Labor Council’s newspaper, the Citizen, announced that labour had begun a major campaign for low rental housing. Pledging that “Filthy Tenements Must Go”, the Citizen warned “greedy dabblers in real estate, hungry landlords who thrive on human poverty and want” that “organized labor” was “girding its loins” for the coming “battle”. By this time, as the Citizen noted, organized labour had received the support of service clubs and “the churches in the city of all denominations”, for low rental housing. Representatives of Halifax’s service clubs, churches and unions all served on the Citizens’ Housing Committee. Its members included Major Tibbs of the Halifax Relief Commission, who was favourably impressed by the public housing projects he viewed while on a visit to Vienna. Another prominent member was S.H. Prince, an Anglican priest and social worker, who had been active in relief efforts following the Halifax explosion and who wrote a study of the disaster published by Columbia University”

“At the outset of assuming his housing duties, the federal Cabinet suggested to Cousins that the removal of 4,000 persons from the city would create “the equivalent of 1,000 homes”. Wisely, however, Cousins decided against immediate evictions and commissioned a special housing census. Under his orders, the navy also provided barracks for an additional 3,000 officers and ratings by mid-April 1944. Rejecting entrance controls, Cousins had the federal government undertake a publicity campaign against unwarranted travel to Halifax, “through the C.B.C. news, moving pictures in every theatre in Canada, general press publicity and warnings as to travel in the Halifax-Dartmouth area in the various railway stations in Canada”. Another 4,000 service personnel were removed from the Halifax area, largely through the RCAF’s moving out of the city.

The view that the indolent caused Halifax’s housing problems was finally abandoned by Cousins in his report of 17 July 1944, based on a Halifax-Dartmouth population census, conducted under a special Order-in-Council. This census found that 19,195 arrivals had been added to the city’s pre-war population of 65,000. With the exception of 501 women married to service personnel, only a “very few” were unemployed, or not “members of families whose heads are in business employed in Halifax”. The 501 women did not cause housing shortages, as all but 119 lived in rooming houses, which currently had 349 vacant rooms, and 46 of the 119 persons “living in houses, flats or apartments” were employed in “necessary war work”. The 73 women eligible for eviction consequently amounted to “.890 per thousand of the population” and their deportation would provide only “negligible” relief. The census revealed very clearly that housing shortages continued, as witnessed by cases of a family of eight living in a single room, 25 persons in a four-room house, and 36 in a twelve-room structure. Some 270 houses had been condemned by the Health department, but tenants could not be evicted due to the prevailing overcrowding. A surprising 43 per cent of Halifax’s dwelling units were “not structurally good”. Some 18 per cent had inadequate sanitary facilities; 400 dwellings lacked inside toilets and 2,500 both bathtubs and showers. Another 5,800 homes were heated by stoves.”

“The bizarre proposals for evictions epitomize the strong opposition within the federal government to expanding Wartime Housing’s operations. This conservative tenor was also reflected in the 1944 National Housing Act. It rejected proposals of the Curtis sub-committee of the James Advisory Committee on Post-war Reconstruction, whose members included NSHC Chairman S.H. Prince, for federally subsidized but municipally administered non-profit housing development. Instead, the legislation provided the same unworkable provisions for limited dividend housing as the NHA of 1938 and once again private investors refused to participate in the program. Typically, a 1947 memorandum from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Halifax office concluded that there was no interest apart from “some well-intentioned people who have no money to put into such a scheme themselves but who think it would be excellent for the general good”.

Since legislation for permanent low rental housing was unworkable, Wartime Housing was perpetuated from 1945 to 1949 to construct rental housing for returning veterans. These projects in Halifax had higher standards than those set by Wartime Housing for the homes of munitions workers. Wartime dwellings originally built in Halifax were placed on top of wood pilings, but the initial 274 units of veterans’ housing had permanent foundations. In 1948, CMHC developed two large veteran rental housing complexes, with 221 units in the first and 66 in the second. These projects on a former military base were developed along the lines of a limited access subdivision with attractive landscaping features. Even these large projects could not meet the demand for veteran rental housing; in 1948, Halifax had a waiting list of 900 persons for such shelter.”

“Although it went only part way to meeting the housing problems reformers decried, the final building of Halifax’s first public housing project was eloquent testimony to the long years of effort of pioneers such as S.H. Prince who had worked for over 20 years to bring it to the city. The Bayers Road public housing project was an achievement of the dedication of almost two decades of efforts by religious leaders and social service agencies, which had been sustained by the continual pressure of the city’s labour movement. In fact, organized labour had played the most important role in the achievement of public housing in Halifax, since its interest continued when that of other sectors of the community lagged or fell dormant.

It took so long to achieve public housing in Halifax largely because of the resistance to the idea that low income families needed subsidized shelter from the body that controlled the purse strings, the federal Department of Finance. Local conservatism also played a role in the long delay between the conception and birth of public housing in Halifax. Although there was a consensus that public subsidies were needed to house low income families, progress was stalled over the insistence that such shelter be operated by private limited dividend companies. Resistance to the innovation of public housing was deep enough to persist by making it taboo even after private investors indicated they did not wish to become involved in carrying out the development of low income housing envisaged for them. Despite such local opposition, when federal policy became flexible enough to develop a workable public housing program, the support nurtured for many years by housing reformers at the municipal and provincial levels permitted its relatively rapid introduction to Halifax. Rather than a bastion of supposed Maritime “conservatism”, Halifax became an important area of innovation for housing programs.”

BACHER, JOHN. “From Study to Reality: The Establishment of Public Housing In Halifax, 1930-1953” Acadiensis, vol. 18, no. 1, 1988, pp. 120–135. JSTOR,

Annual Report 1953



Ladies and Gentlemen:

I have the honour to submit my report and comments on the civic events of 1953. The year 1953 showed acceleration in the progress and expansion which has been evident in recent years.

The sale of Town owned land at Maynard’s Lake and on Boland Road opened the way for tremendous apartment developments, which as the year came to a close were well on their way to completion. A total of 638 apartments will be provided in these two projects which should do much to alleviate the housing shortage in the area. The opening of new subdivisions continued and many new homes have been built.

A block of Town owned land near the bridge head was also disposed of for the purpose of building a shopping centre. Upon completion this centre should add materially to the commercial assessment in the Town.

Road construction in new subdivisions continues to pose a problem. but with the expenditure of $30,000. out of revenue for this purpose we have been able to keep up fairly well with the demand. The Council has laid down more rigid restrictions in the matter of road construction applicable to the subdividers which we hope will help out the situation.

Legislation was obtained providing for the abolition of the household personal property tax. The effect of this legislation is reflected in the assessment notices for 1954.

Authority was given to the Fire Department for the purchase of an aerial ladder truck. A two—way radio was also provided in the Fire Department which has already proven its value. Another set of traffic lights was installed, this time at Five Comets. Special constables were appointed during the year to handle traffic in school areas.

Continued improvement in the street program was noted with the purchase of a patching machine which has speeded up the program very materially. Further widening of Windmill Road was carried out during the year and is scheduled for completion during 1954.

An arrangement whereby the Town Assessor, Mr. Symonds, could carry out the duties of Building Inspector, was entered into and has worked out very satisfactorily.

The Year 1953 saw the passing of an old landmark with the demolition of the old Park School. This was in line with the general program of improvements carried out in the park area during the past few years.

We are grateful to the Junior Board of Trade for the project started in 1953 to clear out the undergrowth on the Birch Cove property and improving this beautiful site as a picnic area.

Plans for two new elementary schools, one in the north end and one in the south end, were approved and are scheduled for completion in time for the 1954 school term.

With the completion of the new Work Shop building downtown, The Works Department building in the north end as well as the D.B.C. building were disposed of.

Work on the Harbour Bridge continued on schedule, drawing another year closer this long dreamed of improvement in our transportation.

Revenue at the Dartmouth Ferry again touched the highest point in its history and profit was satisfactory. The Commission are, however, faced with the problem of major dork repairs and anticipate some adjustments as the impact of the Harbour Bridge competition begins to make itself felt.

I should like to express my thanks to the members of Council and the various Committees and Commissions, and also to Town employees and citizens generally for the co-operation afforded me during the year.

I have the honour to be,

Yours faithfully, C. H. MORRIS, Mayor.

Newcastle Street
A view of Newcastle Street, perhaps from the water, as the railroad trestle is visible at bottom. A child at the bottom right is making their way across the trestle while two others can be seen along the shore. Johnstone Avenue is seen atop the hill with water tower.

FINANCIAL REVIEW Town of Dartmouth — 1953

While costs everywhere have been on the climb the Town by careful financing and by developing new sources of revenue made big news with the announcement in 1953 that it’s tax rate would be dropped by ten cents per $100. of assessment. The tax rate of $2.48 for that 12 months period was the lowest mark the rate had struck since 1918.

Net assessment for Dartmouth during the 1953 period was $21,602,000, which was a new high. This resulted largely from the reassessment survey_ of two years ago. Revenues from this source provided $535,725 for the town coffers with revenues from Poll Tax amounting to an additional $25,015. Revenues from other sources amounted to $328,940. making total revenues for the year of $889,680.

During the year however, total operating expenditures exceeded revenues by the amount of $25,780. This deficit was charged to the Revenue Fund Surplus account which at the end of the Town’s financial year stands at a deficit of $4,675. This amount will be rated for in the year 1954.

The deficit resulted from several of the departments exceeding their budgets. Most notable of these were Education. Police and Sanitation departments.

The over—expenditure in the education field is accountable by the fact that the Town was faced with considerably higher financial demands than originally expected to cover its share of operations and capital cost of the Halifax County Vocational High School in Halifax. It was felt when the 1953 budget was drafted that sufficient funds were in reserve to cover this account but unfortunately this was not the case.

During the year also, Town Council authorized the start of the School Safety patrol, involving the hiring of several additional Police officers on a part-time basis. The work of these officers has as a result released regular Police officers for routine Police work. An extensive program was also undertaken to replace and renew Traffic signs throughout the Town and these items together with the increased cost of operating Police equipment accounted for the over-expenditure in this department.

Town clerk's office

Main reason for the Sanitation budget exceeding its preliminary estimates was the cost of necessary repairs to the incinerator together with the purchase of a new truck for garbage collection, both of which had not been anticipated.

A big item on the credit side of the Town operations during the past year was the revenue arising from the sale of a number of Town owned properties. A total of $87,810 was realized by Dartmouth ratepayers from this source. Of this amount the sum of $30,000 was earmarked by Town Council for capital street construction work. Another $4,000 was voted by the Town for Park beautification. An amount of $17,000 was transferred to the Windmill Rd. widening account which enabled the continuation of this project also an amount of $15,000 was voted for the widening of Wyse Road and Windmill Road in conjunction with these arteries being used as main routes from the Halifax – Dartmouth Bridge. The sum of $2,500 from this money was used to purchase land from the Province of Nova Scotia at Maynard’s Lake, which was subsequently sold by the Town to Maxwell-Cummings and Son for the construction of one of the biggest housing projects ever undertaken in the metropolitan area, the Lakefront Garden Apartments.

With the rapid growth of this area, each year brings a new high in operational costs for the Town.

This past year operational costs showed an increase of some $53,000. over 1952, with the cost of Education being the leader in this increase.

The cost of providing adequate protection to persons and property in the Town also continues to grow as the Town expands. With an expanding Town like Dartmouth also goes the added costs of providing additional sewer and water facilities, street lighting and innumerable other items.

Some of this additional cost in providing services for the newly developing areas is offset by the additional revenue received in taxes and other ways from these new sections, however for the first few years these districts do not begin to carry the cost of providing many of the services they receive.

The Town received a grant from the Dartmouth Ferry Commission during the year. This grant represents the net profit or surplus of the Ferry operation and amounted to $8,710.21.

An amount of $157,000. in serial debentures was retired during the past year plus interest of $98,624.75. This was composed of the following amounts: Genera1—$76,000.; School —-$24,000.; Water— $41,500. and Ferry $15,500. No sinking funds retired during the year but an amount of $15,155.65. was paid into Sinking Fund accounts.

Ferry Purchases Debentures

The Town had only three small issues of debentures during the year and all were purchased by the Dartmouth Ferry Commission.

One of the debenture issues was for $40,000. for school work, bearing 4 percent interest. It was bought for par value by the Ferry. There was also an issue of $25,000. water debentures and $25,000. sewer debentures, which were sold together, at 4} percent interest. These were also purchased at par.

With the Town owned Dartmouth Ferry Commission purchasing these debenture issues out of its reserve fund it meant that the Town received par value for their debentures, and did not necessitate the Town going to the Bond market, which was decidedly low during the year.

At the end of the year the Town’s debenture debts amounted to $2,694,261.03 which is made up as follows: General-—$936,600.: Schools -$434,000.; Water –$999,000.; Ferry -—$215,500, and the Town’s share of the Vocational High School $109,161.03.

During the year a total of $44,671.45 was expended on capital expenditures from revenue, and this was divided as follows: Police Department [car] –$1,331.45: Fire Department (mobile radio)— $1,140.: Street construction $30,000. Park Commission $4,000.: and Water and Sewer construction $8,200.

There are still some ratepayers who are slow in paying their tax accounts as evidenced by the fact that at the end of 1953 the amount of $97,104.61 was outstanding as Taxes receivable. Of the $560,740.13 current tax levy an amount of $68,130.38 is still outstanding.


Annual Report

Continuing a program aimed at encouraging minor hockey and developing the younger boys of the Town in hockey talents, the Dartmouth Memorial Rink Commission during the past year provided reduced rates for minor hockey so that more of the younger boys could participate. Through the assistance of interested citizens, such as Colenso Bowles, President of the minor hockey league, the Commission hopes to lay the groundwork for greatly increased hockey activity, and resulting increased revenue in the years to come.

Over the past year the Commission has also supported other minor activities in the skating field such as the work the Bluenose Figure Skating club is doing in developing skating talents in the young ladies of the Town. This groundwork is necessary in a Town that has been without a rink for the use of its young people for many years.

During the past year, according to the financial statement released by the Commission the operating profit before providing for Debenture Debt charges was $105.86.

The total revenue figures amounted to $31,201.84 including skating revenue of $11,340. ice rentals of $13,417., plus smaller amounts from dancing and wrestling events.

In the expenditure column salaries took up the biggest single item of $10,290. while light and power amounted to $5306. and maintenance costs on building and equipment totalled another $5,829.

The debenture debt charges, still very high on the initial borrowing for the rink, amounted to $18,240., resulting in a gross expenditure of $49,335.89 for the year. This amount less the revenue resulted in a deficit of $18,134.14 which has been provided by the Town from taxation.

One of the ways in which this deficit might be overcome in ‘ future years is the holding of a brand of senior hockey competitions in the Town which would develop a good following. Currently a proposal is being considered for the new year which would give a number of big league games per month to the Dartmouth Rink, and might be the first step to place the rink on a paying basis. Eventually the development of Allan Cup hockey or something similar might be the boost that is needed.

The Rink was sold out on several occasions last year, breaking records on two occasions, for playoff matches in the semi-finals of the Big Four league when Halifax came over here to play. Such support on an increased basis would solve all financial problems.


With a budget of $70,000. the Works Department concentrated on several big projects, and on other work did mainly maintenance and repairs during the past year. Biggest job of the year, and one which will have far reaching results on the development of the South end of Dartmouth was the installation of what can best be described as the Brook street sewer.

This is a thirty inch sewer, and extends parallel with Portland street draining the area in the valley between Portland and the hill sloping down from Rodney Road. Originally considered in the 1920’s when the late Mayor Vidito was in office, the big installation was finally undertaken and completed in 1953 at cost of $40,000.

This sewer drains much valuable property including a large block of about thirty town owned lots in what is known as the Prince Arthur Park sub—division. Completion of the storm sewer makes these lots available for development. It is in this same area that the new 16 room elementary grade school is to be constructed, and is just across the street from the Lakefront Garden Apartment project.

In all $50,000 worth of sewer and water extensions were handled during the year by the Works Department to assist in development of new subdivisions. Some work was done in the Wyndholme sub-division, also on Mount Pleasant Avenue. Crichton Park Road and the south end of Hershey Road.

Sewer and water extensions went to Scott Street. McNeil Street, Fenwick Street, Hillside Avenue and on a portion of Thistle Street between Beech and Mayflower Streets.

No permanent paving projects were undertaken during the year, and the street program was confined mainly to maintenance work. The Department purchased a mobile patch unit at a cost of $4,000. which while not elaborate. proved very efficient in quick patch work. It has been in use almost steadily since being purchased.

No other new equipment was purchased during the year excepting a vehicle for the garbage department. No curb and gutter work was done during the year due to the fact that the ratepayers of the Town turned down a plebiscite authorizing money for this purpose.

One big job undertaken and finished during the past year was the moving of Teasdale‘s grocery store back from Windmill Road at the corner of jamieson Street to make way for a general straightening and paving of this section which was quite hazardous. This project had been proposed as far back as 1920.

In the north-end of the Town the three Notting Park prefab Streets of Symonds, Russell and Chappell came in for considerable discussion by the Works Committee which laid out an overall plan whereby each year for three years one of the streets would be rebuilt and resurfaced with the aim of putting all in good shape. Last year a big job was done on Symonds Street. It was graded and levelled, and given a coating of penetration asphalt. It will be given a further coating this year and grading work will move on probably to Russell Street.

A similar type of program was undertaken on Crichton Park Road. This was a major job, costing close to $10,000. and involved grading of the street, installing storm sewers and catchpits, and coating the street with penetration asphalt. A storm drain was also installed up Forrest Road in addition to the sewer.

Slayter Street came in for some repairs and the Town made a start on construction work on streets in the newly developing Wyndholme sub-division.

The winter turned out to be generally light and the snow removal program was not too expensive, although motorists are now demanding more special attention each year with the result that snow removal and street maintenance in the winter is becoming an expensive problem. The Department now uses only salt on the streets because of the big saving in labour costs in cleaning up after, and also in the saving on catchpits and sewers which formerly became clogged with the sand and ashes used on the streets.

A better program of street cleaning was inaugerated and was especially followed out in the downtown area. Plans are to increase this service in the coming year.


With the new high pressure water system having now been in service for a complete operational year, many of the operational wrinkles have been ironed out and the installation is providing the Town and its customers with a water service of the PUMP HOUSE highest standards.

With this new service come additional costs and these expenses, coupled with the natural annual expansion of the water utility has made it necessary for the Utility to make application for a new rate structure. (This application will be heard by the Public Utilities Board early in 1954).

A misunderstanding over terms of an agreement between the Town of Dartmouth and the Municipality of the County of Halifax for the supplying of water to Halifax County was settled out of court by legal counsel for the two bodies, on December 31, 1953.

During the past twelve month period the utility had a gross surplus of $82,905.18 after providing for operation costs, taxes and depreciation. Out of this gross surplus the Debenture debt charges had to be paid and these amounted to $81,074.50, leaving the utility with a net surplus of $1,830.68.

Sinking fund payments during the year amounted to $2,542. Serial debentures retired amounted to $41,500. and interest payments were $37,032.50. The Tax payment to the Town of Dartmouth was $23,534.99.

Revenues for the Water Utility during the past year showed an increase of approximately $34,000. This actually represents a payment by the Municipality of the County of Halifax for water supplied during a three year period, and billed for under terms of an agreement. These accounts were not paid until December 31. as previously mentioned.

The Water Utility continues to make capital expenditures from revenue, using the depreciation funds to pay for these expenditures.These expenditures include new services, the cost of installing hydrants, etc.

To get a clear picture of what the Water Utility represents as an investment to the Dartmouth ratepayer it is well to realize that the Total Fixed assets of the Utility amount to $1,900,462.93. The total debenture debt of the Utility stands at $999,000.

The Utility continues to expand as the Town grows and every year Water service is being supplied to new developments and areas.


It is with profound regret as we prepare the annual report of the Dartmouth Ferry Commission that we must record the sudden death of the Ferry Superintendent, the late Captain Charles H. MacDonald. The late Superintendent passed away just shortly after giving his final report on the Ferry operations. He had served as Superintendent of the Ferries since the end of the Second World war.

With assets of over one and a quarter million dollars, and outstanding debenture debt of $215,500, the Dartmouth Ferry Commission faces the year 1954 in excellent financial standing, an aim which has been foresightedly sought by members of the Commission with a view towards being financially fluent in case of unfavourable developments with the opening of the Halifax—Dartmouth bridge.

Ratepayers of the Town again in 1953 benefitted as the owners of the Ferry service with the amount of $8.10.21 being turned over to the Town coffers, being the net profit for the 12 month period. An amount of $50,000. which also could be considered by any standards to be profits for the same period was transferred by the Commission to the Ferries contingency Reserve Fund to bolster even further its sound financial status.

Whether future years prove either prosperous or disasterous financially for the Ferry service, the Commission by making it financially fluent, has guarded against it becoming a burden to the owners, the ratepayers of Dartmouth.

According to the audited financial statements of the Ferry operations, revenues reached an all time high in 1953 of $597,565., making it one of the Town’s three top industries.

Expenses also reached an all time high in 1953 of $534,062., an increase of $7,000. over 1952. Salaries showed an increase of $20,000. reflecting the increases granted late in 1952 as well as the extra remuneration granted in December 1953.

A substantial decrease was noted during the past twelve months in the cost of maintaining the boats due to the extensive program of repairs carried out during the two previous years.

With the exception of the main dock in Halifax, which has been giving considerable trouble, the plant and equipment of the Ferry Commission are in good shape as the result of repairs and renovations carried out during the year.

Current assets in cash and investments at the Ferry have now reached an all time high of $340,000. While the debenture debt now stands at $215,500. In other words every cent of indebtedness could be paid off by the Commission and the plant and boats turned over completely paid for, to the Town at any time.

To increase even more solidly its standing, the Ferry, with some of its cash assets purchased two issues of Town of Dartmouth debentures during the past year, including 540,000. in July and $50,000. in December. In other words the Town of Dartmouth is in the situation that it is just borrowing money from itself for these two debenture issues, which is an excellent situation from the point of view of the ratepayers.

As previously mentioned, ferriage revenues for the past twelve months were the highest ever recorded in the Commission’s history. They amounted to a grand total of $597,565. as compared with $584,191. the previous year, which had been a previous high. It marked a two percent increase in revenue over the year.

Big reason for this increase was the tremendous jump in vehicular traffic on the ferries, with 592,473 being carried across the Harbour during the 12 months as compared with 568,841 in 1952 and 551,423 in 1951. This phase of the ferry operations has shown a steady climb.

The number of passengers, including all fares, showed a drop in numbers carried in 1953. During that period 4,03?,324 crossed on the Ferries as compared with 4,821,443 in 1952.

Cost of repairs on ferries during the year, together with maintenance of machinery. amounted to $18,937 for the S.S. “Scotian”, $l2.0?1 for the S.S. “Dartmouth” and $7,379 for the S.S. “Halifax.”

The capital fund balance sheet shows the general fixed assets of $1,228,092. are made up as follows:

Land and buildings -$87,818.; Ferryboats—$630,921.; Docks, wharves and bridges—–$413,432.; Machinery and equipment—~ $12,920.; Office furniture and equipment—$1,976. and Due from revenue fund -$81,021.



The Town’s Medical Health Officer, Dr. L. A. Rosere, in conjunction with the Victorian Order of Nurses provided Dartmouth with a sound Public Health setup during the past year. The school nursing service, carried out on a part time basis by the V.O.N. was an important phase of this program. Dr. Rosere and the nurses reported on the program carried out explaining that rapid classroom inspections were carried out three times a year in six Dartmouth schools. Records Show that Harbour Town students are almost 100 percent innoculated, and 100 percent vaccinated. In addition to this regular preschool immunization clinics were held.

Every new student in the schools was given a medical examination and in addition students in Grades 1, 3 and 5 were given special physical examinations. It was noted that in these examinations over 50 percent of the school children had dental defects. It was pointed out that no prophylactic dental program was in force in Dartmouth and the few dental clinics held were providing parents with a false sense of security about work being done which was incorrect. Only extractions were made at dental clinics, it was pointed out.

Proposals concerning fluoridation of the water supply were under way by the Water committee when the year came to a close.

During the year a very close check was kept on the Town water supply, and the condition of Town water, and schools were also rigidly inspected for health conditions by the Medical Health officer, and generally they were reported in good condition. Several minor health hazards in private residences were noted and the Board of Health took appropriate action.

The Health program by the V.0.N. was also extended outside the classroom with a total of 28 immunization clinics being held for infants, pre—school and school age children. A total. of 191 children were vaccinated against small pox, 553 children were immunized against diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus and 306 children were given reinforcing doses of toxoid. Arrangements were made during the year for patch testing and x-rays of students making use of the Province‘s mobile x-ray unit.

There were some changes on the V.O.N. staff during the year. Miss Daphne Harnett and Miss Louise Gillis resigned in the Fall, and were replaced by Miss Isobel Patterson and Mrs. Violet Orton (Mrs. Orton later resigned in January).


There was a certain amount of good news from the Public Welfare department in 1953 as the year end budget total revealed that the cost to the Town for services provided through this source had taken a drop during the year.

The total costs of hospital and medical debts incurred by residents in the Town of Dartmouth during the year in hospitals throughout the Halifax area amounted to $15,950.97, of which a portion is recoverable by the Town.

Total net expenses of the Public Welfare committee during 1953 amounted to $28,931.21 as compared with $30,888.22 in 1952

Under Provincial laws the Town is responsible for debts at hospitals in the Province incurred by residents of the Town, and that body must make its own arrangements for collection of these debts.

Charities and miscellaneous welfare costs were quite low during the year. They amounted to only $63.83 for groceries and coal, reflecting on the general prosperity of the area. Burials and sundries faced the Town with an additional $402.

Child Welfare costs included payments to the Department of Child Welfare. and the Children’s Aid Societies of Cape Breton, Lunenburg, and Halifax. Three institutions the St. Joseph’:-; Orphanage, St. Patrick’s Home and Maritime Home for Girls also cost the Town nominal amounts.

Maintenance of inmates in the Halifax County Home and other charitable institutions during the year amounted to $5,781., slightly more than the $4,733. cost last year.

Grants made by the Town to charity organizations in 1953 included V.O.N. $1,000., Halifax Visiting Dispensary $200., Canadian National Institute for the Blind $200., Children’s Hospital, $250., and Salvation Army, $300.


Like a giant mushrooming on every side, the development of the Town of Dartmouth reached an all—time high in the year 1953 with approved building permits totalling almost seven million dollars. Not even the total assessment of the Town stood at this high a mark a quarter of a century ago.

This big problem of providing adequate direction for this unprecedented growth fell to the capable hands of the Town Planning Board and its newly ap pointed Building Inspector Welsford Symonds.

The appointment of a building inspector to study all applications for building permits, and to . handle all preliminary details, ‘- – l leaving only major decisions for WELSFORD smouos Planning Board discussion, resulted in considerable additional time being made available to Board members for important discussions on zoning plans and other over—all building details.

With the building by-laws finally approved, and published in a booklet form, available to contractors and other builders, the Board finally saw one of its aims reach completion. A great deal of study was placed during the year on the Zoning by—laws and these will be placed before the Town Council for consideration in the immediate future.

Lakefront Apartments under construction at Maynard's Lake
Lakefront Apartments under construction

One big step was taken by the Board during the year, and it is one which will result in considerable criticism from builders, but must be faced with the rapid growth of this area, and with a view to keeping building under control, The Board asked Town Council to instruct the Building Inspector not to issue any permits to build, until sewer and water facilities were first installed, and streets graded to Town specifications. Council approved this step and placed it in the hands of the Town Solicitor to draft the necessary by-law.

During the past twelve months the total value of building permits issued was placed at $6,975,600. by the Building Inspector. The most amazing thing about this is that this figure did not include the permanent buildings being constructed at the Naval Armament Depot at a cost of $1,600,000. including a gun mounting and electrical shop. Nor did it include the millions being expended by the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission on the Dartmouth approaches of the Bridge.

A total of 152 single unit new buildings at a cost of $1,460,500 were constructed during the year, along with 5 duplexes amounting to $68,850. plus 55 new apartment buildings totalling 660 units, a tremendous development adding $5,125,000. to the building figure, also residential alterations and additions placing 56 more units available for the rapidly increasing population at a cost of $130,000. New commercial and industrial buildings added $41,800 to the total, while commercial alterations totalled $92,300.. and 42 private garages resulted in another $17,950. Completing the figure was another $39,200. resulting from small additions and repairs.

To climax the building year in Dartmouth for 1953 a total of 394 permits were issued adding a total of 880 units to the Town’s housing accommodations.


The sale of one house, the last of 214 prefabricated houses purchased by the Town from the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation in 1952, completed the final sale of these housing units by the Town to private ownership.

The amount of $2,800. received by the Town for the sale of the small four room pre-fab, together with mortgage interest received for the year amounting to $10,293.75. gave the Town of Dartmouth a gross income during the past year from the pre-fab houses of $13,093.75. From this amount a slight deduction for repairs was made, leaving net income over expenditures for the period of $13,048.81.

The balance sheet shows assets on hand in the Prefabricated Housing fund of $12,429.06 on deposit in the Royal Bank of Canada. together with $1 1 7,2 26. in mortgages receivable through the Eastern Canada Savings and Loan Company, and $84,079. in mortgages receivable from the Nova Scotia Savings, Loan and Building Society gives the Town total assets of $213,735.56, after all expenditures of permanizing these units have been taken care of.

This will represent a profit to the Town of close to a quarter of a million dollars on the transaction. The funds have to be paid into a special fund. which can only be dispersed by council with the consent of the Minister of Municipal Affairs


Board of school commissioners

Two new schools were born in the minds of School Board members during the past year, and tentative plans were considered for a third.

The year 1953 was another period of growth. Keeping pace with the tremendous development, both residential and commercial, throughout this area the population has been climbing steadily, and with it the student population in the Dartmouth schools has been increasing out of all proportions and facing local school authorities with dozens of problems.

Faced with part time classes in several cases during the year 1953, school authorities laid preliminary plans for a ten room school to be constructed in the south end of the Town to handle the rapid increase in population resulting from new subdivision developing. Suddenly these plans were all thrown out as the Lakefront Garden Apartments started work on a tremendous housing development which meant another 450 families, and an approximate increase in the number of elementary grade students. Finally plans were being drafted by architect D. A. Webber on a sixteen room school. which it was hoped would accommodate the new student body. The school is to be constructed in the Prince Arthur Park sub-division.

Meanwhile in the Northend of the Town a similar situation was developing. Here several new housing projects were underway and in addition another apartment project, with accommodation for 250 families was being started. Faced with tremendous overs crowding of facilities at present in use the Board decided it would be necessary to have a new ten room school ready for occupancy when classes commence in the Fall of 1954.

At year’s end both of these projects were in the stage of having tenders called for a start on construction.

During the year the Board recommended to Town Council the razing of the old Park school, located on the bluff of land looking down over Synott’s Hill.

Meanwhile the Board, after studying recommendations from Supervisor of Schools, Ian K. Forsyth, was faced with the possibility of needing a great deal of additional Junior High school space in another year. Reports were being considered on heavy increases in junior high school classes as the elementary grades advance, and action may be taken sometime next year in this regard.

Considerable work was done during the past year on school grounds, with a program aimed at improving the properties and laying asphalt surfaces for game areas being continued.


The cost of education in the Dartmouth public school system continued to climb in 1953 as the student population showed a steady increase.

Total expenditures during the year by the Board of School Commissioners amounted to $284,454.86 as compared with approximately $267,000. the Year previous, or $207,417. in the year 1951.

This climb will continue next year with the opening of two more schools, and the following year if another junior high school is constructed.

During 1954 Teachers‘ salaries accounted for $180,172.61 of the total amount. Principal installments on serial bonds took $24,000. and interest on bonds another $17,327. Other high items included janitor service which runs to $14,000. and fuel, another $1I.313.

Prince Arthur Park School started

Additional funds were used during the year to promote such items as Household Science, Music, Physical Education, and Industrial Arts, and these classes were felt to be providing a much needed service in the public education system.

The program of adult education through capably supervised evening classes, in such fields as Household Science and Industrial Arts, continued to meet with a great deal of favourable comment and have big followings. This program is arranged in conjunction with the Vocational Guidance division of the Department of Education and will be increased in the ensuing year.

One of the big items last year was the physical education display arranged by the P.T. Instructors, the Music Festival held at the Junior High School was also highly successful and warmly praised.


Direction of the Police and Fire Departments of the Town of Dartmouth was handled during the year 1953 under a single committee, designated as Public Safety.

One of the big projects of the year, and one which has done much to provide for a steadier flow of traffic in the downtown area was the installation of a set of traffic lights at the dangerous Five Corners intersection. A drop in the number of accidents at this corner, and encountering of little difficulty in the winter months has made the third set of lights installed in the Town very successful.

During the year a new police patrol car was purchased, and funds were also expended on the purchase and installation of a mobile radio-telephone unit in the Fire Chief’s truck to provide for more maneuverability of equipment in case of several fire outbreaks at one time.

Plans were considered during the year for the purchase of a new aerial ladder truck for the Fire Department to replace the obsolete chain driven model which has been in use for over 30 years.

The Civil Defence organization was in full operation during the year and is strongly set up to operate in case of an emergency. A Civil Defence pumper unit was obtained and is stored at the Fire station, a warning air raid siren was also installed by the committee, and a practice air raid drill was held during the year.


The Dartmouth Fire Department, headed by Fire Chief George Patterson had a busy year in 1953, but through the efforts of this department the total loss by fire throughout the Town was kept very low.

The total fire loss in the Town limits amounted to $173,619. Of this figure the amount of $155,1_54 was covered by insurance leaving only $18,465. actual loss suffered by property owners.

During the year the Fire Department responded to 245 alarms an increase of 29 over the previous year. Seven of these were general alarms, responded to by the members of the Volunteer departments.

The largest fire loss was the Vincent warehouse blaze on October 17, which contained the stock of Simpson Sears Limited. plus other stored items, resulting in a loss to the buildings and contents of$l43,005., representing the major part of the fire loss in the Town for the year.

Two other buildings were destroyed, including a combined shop and dwelling on Fairbanks Street and a bungalow on Woodland Avenue. In all during the year 14 buildings were damaged.

According to the Fire Chief the Volunteer departments are up to full strength and giving valuable service. working in conjunction with the 12 men on the permanent force. The Department responded to seven alarms in the County during the year.

The Department revealed that a number of local business firms have installed automatic sprinkler systems in their business places, and indicated it was endeavouring to have others installed in other public buildings in Town.


Town officials moved to bolstered the Dartmouth Police Department during the year 1953 and one of the most important steps taken was the installation of a separate School Safety Patrol. Four additional men were taken on duty on a part-time basis to serve during school days at rush hours on busy intersections, directing traffic to a certain extent and aiding students proceeding to and from school in crossing the street.

The results at the end of the year proved that the move had been justified, as school accidents were completely prevented during the year, despite the fact that traffic has increased greatly in recent years, and also considering that the 1953 school population was the highest recorded to date.

The strength of the Police Department in addition to the safety patrol officers, remained at 16 men including the Police Chief ‘John Lawlor, and other officers, plus the utility man.

The year was a busy one and the Department was praised for its work and investigations in breaking up several crime waves. including a series of breaks, and a bicycle resale gang of juveniles.

In all the Town Police court handled a total of 11,218 cases in comparison to approximately 900 the year previous. Fines and court costs collected amounted to approximately $8,500.

Considerable time was spent during the year by traffic authorities in studying the growing problem of downtown traffic and the traffic lights were found to be of great assistance. The new light installed at Five Corners was found to be a great assistance in handling the heavy flow of traffic in this area.

Extra funds were used during the year in erection of additional signs, traffic signals, and road guides to handle the heavy traffic. Further work was done to develop the downtown Parking lot at the corner of Commercial Street and Ferry Hill.


Mount Herman Cemetary

Space is rapidly being used up in the Town’s biggest cemetery, Mount Hermon. This large property has been becoming increasingly filled as the size of the Town’s populace has increased with leaps and bounds during the years since the end of the War.

The problem of a site for a new cemetery was studied very carefully during the past year by the Cemetery committee and thought given to the possibility that with burial space becoming steadily limited that only residents of the Town would be accepted for burial, and that Halifax County residents in the surrounding suburban areas would have to be refused space in this cemetery.

Further work was continued during the past year at Mount Hermon in removal of old brush, weeds and accumulated debris from the northern section of the cemetery. The installation of Town water in the cemetery has made it much easier for maintenance workmen to keep the grass and shrubs watered and fresh looking.

Despite increased lot and grave opening rates as set in 1951 the cemetery operated at a deficit amounting to $1,925.48 during the year 1953. Burial charges only netted the Town $1,105. which together with $700. provided from Town tax levy was still short of the $3,730. needed to operate during the year.

The biggest expenditure faced by the committee during the year was labor costs of $3,346.

In the overall picture of the balance sheet the assets held by the Cemetery committee amount to $8,086.36 including property and equipment while deduction of accounts payable, and minus the deficit for the current year the balance is cut to $7,389.97 as of December 31, 1953.


Build Retaining Wall in Dartmouth Park

Highlighting the development of Dartmouth Park properties in the year 1953 was the start of a concrete program of work on the beautiful Birch Cove property, which was obtained by the Town from the estate of the late L. M. Bell, and which in the future may be one of the Town’s most valuable Park properties.

The work in clearing out the underbrush, removing debris, having the terrain levelled and sand provided for a bathing beach was the start of a program which the civic minded men of the Dartmouth Junior Board of Trade sparked, in co-operation with the Park Commission.

After getting the go ahead signal from the Park Commission, a special committee headed by Charlie Clarke did a great deal of the preliminary work necessary to put the property into condition for use as an ideal picnic grounds. Located as it is on the scenic shores of Lake Banook, with easy access from Crichton Avenue, the location is fast becoming a popular gathering spot.

With a budget of $2,500 plus an amount of $4,000 from sale of Town owned land the Park Commission continued its program of beautification and maintenance on the Dartmouth Park. Considerable more work was done by Park workmen in constructing retaining walls along walks in the lower section of the Park.

Further shrubs and plants were planted and during the latter part of the Summer the whole section of the Park bordering along Synott‘s Hill and the Park Avenue Hill was a glorious array of colourful flowers.

Further work was done by the Park Commission in conjunction with work on the rock garden. This work is limited because of the lack of sufficient funds but the Commission has been following a program in recent years of doing a small amount of work in one section rather than trying to spread the small budget over too big an area. This has begun to pay off and now further work is being started in the Thistle Street extension area, a section which is also becoming a very heavily travelled route.

Considerable grass was planted in the Thistle Street area extending down from the Bicentennial Junior High School, and trees and shrubs were given special attention here.

A power mower was purchased during the year by the Commission to be used in assisting the small staff of the Park in keeping the new lawn areas well trimmed. A further amount of $400. was used by the Commission during the year in beautification and maintenance work on the centrally located Memorial Park at the intersection of Crichton Avenue and Ochterloney Street.

Benches were placed in this section of the Park and the area was widely used when Band concerts and other special events were held there.

At Victoria Park, the Victoria Park Commission continued its program aimed at making that section of property in the North end of the Town more useable for the residents in general.

Further seeding of the ground was completed here after it had been plowed up, and levelled off. The Commission hopes to add to the Kiwanis Club’s work of installing playground equipment. by providing walks across the Park, and benches for the use of residents of the district. With construction of the Dartmouth Park Apartments nearby, this will become an even more important Park area. Only the ordinary maintenance work was carried on during the year at the Wentworth Park.

The Tree planting program, which is rapidly beginning to show results in the Town was furthered during the past year with the expenditure of approximately $500. during the period for trees. Throughout the Park, and on virtually every Town street the new trees which have been planted are growing well and will soon add a great deal to the values of properties and to the beautification of the Town.


Continuing in a program to support the youth of the Town in various fields of progress the Recreation and Community services committee assisted financially in the sponsoring of Band concerts for the enjoyment of the general public, serving a double purpose in one of their 1953 projects.

The Committee arranged for a series of special Band concerts to be presented during the Summer months at the Memorial Park by the Kiwanis Youth Band. Realizing the heavy expenses the Kiwanis Club is undergoing in its efforts to assist the youth of Dartmouth in advancing culturally in the field of music, the committee decided to pay the club a nominal amount for each Band concert presented, as a boost in the Bands operation.

The strong general support of this move was evident by the large audiences on hand for the concerts on each occasion.

The committee felt that the young people interested in the Youth Band work should be supported as well as youngsters anxious to make use of Town ball diamonds and sports facilities.

Although operating on a limited budget the committee was able to assist further in the work of improving and maintaining present playing fields in operation in the Town. Considerable work was done at the Common field with approximately $200. being expended in repairs and maintenance on both grounds and bleachers.

The Community swimming pool, operated at the foot of Synott’s hill in the Dartmouth Park was as usual well patronized by boys and girls from all over Town. Two capable instructresses were on hand every day to direct the classes in Water Safety and Red Cross Life Saving and Swimming Methods. This pool provides well supervised swimming and has proven invaluable in providing instructions to Dartmouth children who with the nearness of the Lakes and seashores spend much of the summer in the water.

The Dartmouth Public Library, operated by a Board of Trustees, and still located in the Service Centre, was given a grant of $2,000. for operations during the year. A considerable number of private and public donations of books helped the Library to add to its wide array of reading n-iaterial. Attendance at this centre again topped all records and the Library is faced with a problem of needing larger quarters in the near future to accommodate a steadily increasing patronage.

In co-operation with the Dartmouth junior Board of Trade the Tourist Bureau was again operated at the corner of Elliot Street and Lake Road. The number of visitors and home-town residents making calls at this centre for information and literature increases every year, accentuating the need for this service in the Summer months. Outside visitors alone during the past year topped the 1.500 mark.


Grading Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge approaches

As the curtain came down on construction work on the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge for 1953 a great deal had been achieved.

Especially evident has been the progress made on the Dartmouth side of the Harbour. Concrete work had been completed and virtually all of the steel work stretching from the upper end of Lyle Street, down across Windmill Road to the waterfront, had been completed.

Construction work on the east main tower had been almost finished at the close of the year, and preliminary plans were being laid for the big job of erecting the catwalk and hauling the dozens of steel cable supports across the Harbour.

At the Wyse Road end of the Bridge, work on the approaches had been started at the end of the season. The approaches on the Bridge property itself had been levelled and given a preliminary coating of asphalt. Construction work had also commenced on the toll booths, administration and work buildings for the Bridge which would be located on the Dartmouth side of the Harbour.

The Town, under the direction of Mayor Claude H. Morris, who is the representative on the Bridge Commission was laying the first plans to start work on arteries which must handle most of the vehicular traffic from the Bridge. Through $100,000. obtained from the sale of a block of land to the Bridge Commission, and another $30,000. set aside in a special fund, the Town was planning to start work almost immediately in the new year on the Wyse Road approach. This would be widened and boulevarded for a distance of 100 yards in each direction of the Bridge entrance.

GENERAL MUNICIPAL STATISTICS (for year ended December 31, 1953)

POPULATIONDominion Bureau of Statistics Census (1951)15,037
AREALand. . .1,533 acres
Water. . .198 acres
Total1,731 acres
Land Exempt in Public Works and Playgrounds68 acres
ASSESSED VALUATIONAssessmentExemptionNet Assessments
Real Property. . .$23,538,970$7,156,550$16,382,420
Personal Property. . .$5,315,000$94,600$5,220,400
Total. . .$28,853,920$7,251,150$21,602,820
Government Property
Dominion. . .$5,223,400
Provincial. . .$24,000
Town. . .$242,800
Total Government Property$5,490,200
Property used for Educational,
Religious, Charitable Purposes
Widows. . .$245,300
Total Exemptions. . .$7,251,150.
TAX RATEGeneral Tax Rate 2.48%For General Purposes 1.40%For School Purposes 1.08%
STREETS AND SIDEWALK MILEAGEAsphaltConcreteGravel StoneBituminous
Streets. . .6.28Nil1116.55
Sidewalks. . .2.3014.0425.10Nil
Sewers. . .
Water. . .Total. . .


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 appointed in the person of H. E. R. Barnes. The Dartmouth Housing Commission was organized with J. J. O’Toole as Chairman. Other members were James A. Redmond, Albion B. Smith, George Mitchell and Ralph W. Elliot.

The Dartmouth Amateur Athletic Association was organized in March with a membership of nearly 400, and secured a 21-year lease of the Chebucto Grounds. Leo Graham was the first President. About that time an 8-page newspaper called “The Independent” was started by Arthur Johnston, son of A. C. Johnston. The Halifax Institute of Engineers now reported that an overhead bridge across the harbor was impracticable, and suggested a low-level drawbridge to accommodate rail and other traffic. The cost was $2,000,000. “The Independent” thought this decision a fortunate one, stating that if people had to wait for a $10,000,000 overhead bridge, “they would be still waiting when the new millennium dawned”. The Ferry Commission in February passed a resolution recording, “its hearty appreciation of the efforts of the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Committee, with the hope that their efforts would be crowned with success”.

Ex-Councillor John Ritchie died that spring, as also did James W. Tufts a member of the Dartmouth Park Commission continuously since 1891. Another prominent citizen to pass away was ex-Mayor Edward F. Williams. He had served as Chief Magistrate for a total of eight years, having previously sat six terms as a Councillor.

We got our first piece of permanent road on this side of the harbor in 1920 when Cavicchi and Pagano paved the stretch from the town limits to Horton’s Brook at Imperoyal. It was one of the first sections of permanent-surfacing completed by the Highway Department in the whole Province, and was commenced a few months before the local election. Considerable credit for this undertaking should go to Hon. Robert Finn, a former Dartmouthian, who was always alert to the interests of his constituents in eastern Halifax County

The work of rehabilitating explosion-damaged houses was just about finished up that summer. The stone Downey house on Coleman Street, built by Joseph Moore in early Canal days, was so badly shaken that it had to be demolished. More new residences went up in the north-end, also in Austenville, in Hawthorne-Sinclair Street sections, on Elliot Street, on upper Portland Street, in the Charles Harvey subdivision at Prince Arthur’s Park and on Rodney Road.

Falconer’s field was subdivided by Engineer J. Lorne Allan, and streets there were named for ex-Mayor Williams and Dr. M. S. Dickson. Sewerage and water pipes were extended to new houses on Elmwood Avenue, which had just been cut through the former Torrens field. At Manor Hill, where Andrew Shiels once wrote poetry the Eastmount subdivision of S. A. Heisler was selling lots as low a $100. Streets were named for military leaders in World War I.

The yearly report of the Housing Commission showed that 21 dwellings in Dartmouth were erected with their loans, on as many vacant lots. The Canadian Bank of Commerce opened a branch at the northeast corner of Portland and King Streets. Laurie Bell was now operating a small garage on the location of the present Police Station. The new Grace Methodist Church was completed and dedicated on Sunday, November 14th. South of the Church on King Street, Dartmouth’s second fire-engine house was torn down. This was an ordinary-sized shed in which were stored the watering cart and the antique fire-engine, pumped by hand. A valuable tourist attraction was lost when this relic was later sold for junk.

The school enrolment that year was 1,628. Grover C. Beazley joined the teaching staff to assist Principal Stapleton and Miss Findlay at Park High School where a class in Grade 10 was established in 1920. The Manual Training branch was abolished, and the work room converted into a shooting gallery for the cadet corps.

Ferry receipts fell and expenditures increased during 1920, for the second year in succession the Commission suffered a deficit. That year they went behind nearly $18,000.

The first electric street lights of Dartmouth were strung diagonally so that the light was suspended in the middle of intersections. In a wind-storm, the saucer-shaped disc rocked, swayed and almost turned turtle.

Central School served the Town for half a century until rendered uninhabitable by the 1917 Explosion, although the roof still remained tight. After that, the BBCA converted two upstairs rooms into a gymnasium for basketball and used it up to the time that the old landmark was demolished about the year 1922.

Henry Y. Mott, grandson of his namesake, who had left here in the 1870s for St. John’s, Nfld., occasionally contributed reminiscent letters to the Dartmouth newspaper. About this time another one appeared giving a list of members of the “Cabbage Club” which flourished in his youth, and included names like Charles and Harry Harvey, Edwin George and W. H. Sterns, Dr. Fred Van Buskirk, Charles Young, John Brown, Albert Wisdom, Fred Hardenbrook, W. C. Mott, W. H. Stevens, Alpin Bowes, Fred Bowes and others.

One of their popular events was the sleigh drive out to Griffin’s Inn on Preston Road, whither they were conveyed in teams supplied by W. H. Isnor, W. H. Greene or John Myers. “I saw Henry Isnor two or three years ago”, wrote Mr. Mott, “and found the patriarchial John Myers, white whiskered and bearing the marks of time, but in spirit as vivacious as a colt and possessing the old time fondness for his horses”.

The writer then commented on the changes in and about Dartmouth, noting that there was little left of many familiar scenes of his boyhood except the memory. “What Dartmouth boy of 50 years ago”, concluded Mr. Mott, “does not remember Mrs. Roberts’ taffy shop near the bridge (NW corner Victoria Road and Portland) and with what joy the treasured cent was expended. Then there was Mrs. Morrissey whose spruce beer, cakes and other juvenile attractions were sold in a little shop opposite the present palatial store of L. Sterns and Son. Could the old blacksmith forge of my friend John D. Murphy speak, what tales of deviltry and mischief would be revealed, of tricks played upon the citizens of Preston on market days, and indeed upon many other unfortunates who came under the spell of those who had not quenched the fiery vengeance of youth”.


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 the former Barss fields.

Hawthorne Street, Prince Albert Road, Sinclair Street and Erskine Street also saw considerable development. The Cleveland apartments were built on Myrtle Street. Damaged Methodist Church was pulled down, and the cornerstone laid of the present edifice. The crushed-in blacksmith shop on Portland Street where the well-known John D. Murphy had shod thousands of horses over the years, even up to Explosion Day, was finally removed.

On the site, James J. O’Toole erected the fireproof White Lantern building. Diagonally opposite, Samuel Thomson put up the two-storey structure now occupied by Jacobson Brothers. Gerald Foot moved his garage to a small shack near the location of his present showrooms. L. M. Bell and Carl Dares opened a vulcanizing shop on lower Victoria Road. (From such small beginnings, came in later years, the Bell Bus system.)

In March 1919 the Dartmouth Curling Club was organized, and later the Dartmouth Citizens’ Band was formed. A baseball league schedule was carried out that summer, and bleachers erected at the Chebucto Grounds. Later the whole field was fenced.

All this time only two school buildings were in use, but by September the new Park School was ready. Victoria School was again made habitable and two extra classrooms added. All senior grade students were transferred from Greenvale to Park School.

That summer, Dartmouth got its first motor fire-engine, and discarded the “Lady Dufferin”. Two permanent firemen were engaged to be on day and evening duty at the Engine House, where they stood ready to respond to silent alarms with the Motor Chemical Engine. This put an end to the 97-year old practice of ringing the fire-bell, and summoning the entire volunteer department for every type of blaze. Now it was to be rung only for general alarms.

After a five-year lapse, the Natal Day celebration was revived with a full program, interrupted by an evening rain. About the same time, beginnings were made towards the establishment of a Memorial Hospital. At a monster Fair held on the Common Field in September, $4,500 was realized. An open air rink was operated that winter on the swampy area of Starr property at the foot of Pine Street. This was conducted by young men of the town.