“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 …

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

“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 …

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

CITIZENS OF DARTMOUTH, 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 …

Annual Report 1953 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…