The Avenue

The following excerpts are from “Survival of an African Nova Scotian Community: Up the Avenue, Revisited” by Adrienne Lucas Sehatzadeh, 1998. An incredible resource of the Black history of Dartmouth that is certainly worth your time to read.

“The part of Crichton Avenue above Lyngby Avenue is the area where the Black settlement started. Crichton Avenue winds its way north/south from the downtown area, along the western shore of Sullivan’s Pond and Lake Banook.”

“Crichton Avenue has been a major roadway in Dartmouth for over 100 years and intersects Ochterloney Street in the downtown area, about one kilometre from Halifax Harbour. The Avenue portion of Crichton Avenue extended across the circumferential highway to The Extension, where the Black community ended.”

“Crichton Avenue Extension was expropriated in the late 1960s because of the expansion of the circumferential highway. The circumferential highway (not shown on the sketch) runs east less than one-half kilometre north of the last Lucas house on Crichton Avenue.”

“The Extension was the continuation of Crichton Avenue just north of the highway. The few references to this Black community in the literature refer to the area as ‘Colored Meeting House Road’ until the Legislature passed a bill in 1892 to name the roadway Crichton Avenue. Street signs bearing the name Crichton Avenue were erected in 1894 (Martin, 1957). However, the Black settlement at the top of Crichton Avenue was never officially named.”

“Although the Black settlement did not have a formal name, my experience has been that people always talked about going up The Avenue to spend time and socialize. The Avenue is a familiar referent for this community. The phrase evokes powerful imagery for individuals who are familiar with the life and times of the people from this area. I have, therefore, arbitrarily named the area ‘The Avenue’.”

Sehatzadeh, Adrienne Lucas. “Survival of an African Nova Scotian Community, up the Avenue, Revisited.” Thesis / Dissertation, Dalhousie University, 1998.