“This paper, read in part before the Nova Scotia Historical Society on March 18, 1898, is an attempt to supply a missing chapter in Canadian history — a sombre and unattractive chapter, it may be, but necessary nevertheless to the completeness of our records. If instances given seem too numerous, it must be remembered that the scepticism of many of the best informed Provincials as to the presence at any time of Negro slaves on the soil of Canada has challenged the production, on the part of the author, of more repeated facts than he would otherwise have deemed necessary. …

“The Slave in Canada” More…

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

The Development of Public Health in Nova Scotia More…

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“Gradually the trees fell away from the clearing, and with their going the Indians crept farther into the long miles that held their birch bark lodges, and their fading heritage of a fertile land, but the red man did not lightly give up his claims. One night, while the dark brooded over the tiny settlement of Dartmouth, whiling away the time by folding and refolding the shadows, the light, swift canoes of the Micmacs swept down the lakes and inlaid waterways, and with these canoes rode the unspent years of a number of the white settlers. Halifax was awakened by …

“Within This Gate” More…

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Is Dartmouth different? In the 19th century it certainly was. From the Reports of the London Vaccine Institution, we have a contribution from July 28th, 1823 about Dartmouthian and Quaker Seth Coleman and how he tended to the people of Preston (and Dartmouth at large) who had smallpox. In 1814, when the “medical gentleman of the town of Halifax were not to be induced to cross the harbour”, Seth Coleman stepped in and saved the lives of at least 423 people, including 285 Black refugees and 59 Mi’kmaq. Coleman regretted the racial prejudice expressed by most colonists and Nova Scotian …

Seth Coleman More…

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This study of a lake in Lunenburg County gives us a good idea of Nova Scotia’s historical climate, vegetation and habitation potential since the last Ice Age, and the animation below illustrates some of the changes noted in the following paper abstract. Abstract: A high-resolution, multi-proxy lake sediment record was used to establish the timing of Holocene environmental change in Canoran Lake, southwest Nova Scotia, Canada. Canoran Lake is a small, shallow (11 m) lake with two ephemeral inlets and an outlet. The site was deglaciated at ca. 15,300 cal (calibrated) year BP and elevated %C values indicate the establishment …

Post-glacial climate change and its effect on a shallow dimictic lake in Nova Scotia, Canada More…

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On July 17th 1795, Joshua Evans arrived at Dartmouth, and stayed for almost two weeks, visiting with local Quakers Seth Coleman and Thomas Green, among ten other local families. Evans, a Quaker minister and abolitionist, was born in 1731 in West Jersey. He was a vegetarian and a fervent proponent of the peace testimony, Quaker plainness, and ending slavery. “…Wherever he went, Evans was acutely sensitive to all suffering. He would visit any Indian village near his route, relaying the needs he found there to whatever Meeting he was visiting, suggesting members take action, which they usually did. He often …

Joshua Evans More…

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It has been the Mi’kmaq who have inhabited these lands, for at least 11,000 years if we are to base settlement on radiocarbon dating and archaeological remains (such as the site near Debert). No discussion on the deinstitutionalization of Dartmouth can occur without recognition of, without reflection on, the colonization of Miꞌkmaꞌki, part of the Wabanaki Confederacy, the ongoing genocides by European Settlers, a region that had its own people, culture, and system of governance, pre-contact. For an idea of what the region looked like geographically and climactically since glacial times, check this out. The following is a sample of …

Punamu’kwati’jk: Salmon Place More…

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1870 map of Dartmouth superimposed on 2013

From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: Marine Street was Point Street. South Street was Boggs Street. Portland Street was Front Street, Princess Charlotte Street and Hartshorne Street. At the lower Canal bridge, Portland Street followed the route of the present Prince Albert Road, and continued north to the Town boundary at Carters Pond Queen Street was Quarrell St., and appears to be unchanged from its location of 1750. Ochterloney Street was “the road from Skerry’s Inn”. Park Avenue was Stairs Street. On early plans, the hillside near Edward Street, is marked “north range”. Commercial Street was …

Dartmouth Street Names of Olde More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: The year 1905 ushered in the winter of the big snow when drifts around the streets and on the sidewalks accumulated to a height of over ten feet. Traffic was either at a standstill or was so tied-up that milkmen from rural Dartmouth had to use two horses tandem to haul light sleigh-loads. On a dozen different nights that winter, the thermometer went below zero, reaching a minimum of 22 below on February 6th. In those years there was a specific part of Dartmouth from which the law required that …

1905 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: Whether the 19th century terminated at the beginning, or at the end of the year 1900, was a topic which occasioned lengthy newspaper discussions about that time. Readers who will be alive at the end of the present century should look up the articles. In reviewing important events during the first decade of the 20th century, we note that in 1900 Victoria Road between Quarrell and Ochterloney Streets was widened sufficiently to allow wagons to pass each other. A start was made cutting away the cliff of slate rock just …

1900 More…

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

1894 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: 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 …

1889 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. 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 …

1888 More…

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin: As the people of Nova Scotia had voted so overwhelmingly against Confederation at the polls, one of the first acts of the new House of Assembly in 1868 was to send a delegation to London praying for a repeal of the B.N.A. Act as far as it regarded this Province. Although Joseph Howe was a member of the House of Commons at Ottawa, he was nevertheless among the number selected. Dr. Charles Tupper, also a member of the Federal Parliament, likewise went to England to use his influence in favor …

1868 More…

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