Nova Scotia Archives

Halifax and Its People / 1749-1999

Companion and Comparison Views

One hundred years ago, the Yarmouth Steamship Company's tourist publication, Beautiful Nova Scotia: The Ideal Summer Land, described the capital city of Halifax as a thriving and picturesque community with about 45,00 inhabitants. The writer noted that

From the summit of Fort George, better known as Citadel Hill, a superb view of the city, the harbor and the surrounding country may be obtained. The older portion of the town lies between it and the water, and the straight cross-streets lead the eye down to the harbor, where vessels bearing the flags of all nations are at anchor. On a clear, sunny morning the scene is one of the prettiest sights imaginable. To the north, shimmering in the summer sun and specked with the wings of pleasure boats, lie the bright waters of Bedford Basin, into which the harbor opens out after passing through the Narrows. To the east are the low hills on the Dartmouth side, and George's Island, green and well-kept... Below and around [Citadel Hill] are the buildings of the town, with here and there a spire rising from among green foliage.

Regardless of the changes which a century has brought to the urban landscape, the view from Citadel Hill remains a perennial attraction. This particular vantage point, as well as those offered by other strategic locations around the Halifax Peninsula — Fort Needham, Cowie Hill, Georges Island and the Dartmouth shoreline — inspired various eighteenth and nineteenth-century landscape artists passing through the area. Whereas most of British North America remained primeval forest, open prairie or mere clearings in the bush through the last half of the eighteenth century and well into the nineteenth, Halifax was ideal for townscape painting.

Artists such as Richard Short, Edward Hicks, John Elliott Woolford, R.S.M. Bouchette, Robert Petley, William Egar and William Bartlett — to mention only a few — have left us with a legacy of panoramas and street-scapes, beginning in 1759 and carrying through to the mid-nineteenth century. Probably the most impressive views of Halifax, however, are not the landscape renderings, but instead the large photographic panoramas taken from the eastern side of Citadel Hill by the Notman Studio in 1883 and again ca. 1892.

Spectacular as the panorama views are, by their very nature they exclude the human figure. Even the earlier urban vistas and streetscapes dwarf the inhabitants of Halifax, almost losing them within the vast openness of the young community. It is only with the development of modern photography that the people of the city are — collectively and individually — brought clearly into focus, for they are both a part of the changing cityscape and its most distinctive, enduring feature.


Results 1 to 14 of 14 from your search: Companion and Comparison Views


Harbour of Chebucto, with inserts: "A Map of the South Part of Nova Scotia and it's [sic] Fishing Banks...; "A Plan of Halifax Survey'd by M. Harris"; and "A View of Halifax Drawn from ye Topmasthead", 1750
Date: 1750
Medium: engraving, 31 cm. x 42 cm.
Artist: Moses Harris and D'Anville; published according to an Act of Parliament, 25 January 1750; printed for T[homas] Jefferys, St Martin's Lane, Charing Cross [London, England]
Reference no.: Maps Nova Scotia Archives  S.B. 4

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"Part of the Town and Harbour of Halifax in Nova Scotia looking down Prince Street to the Opposite Shore shews the Eastern Battery, George & Cornwallis Islands, Thrum Cap, &c. to the Sea off Chebucto Head", 1759
Date: 1777
Medium: engraving with etching, 33 cm. x 50 cm.
Artist: Richard Short, 1759; described & published by Short, 1 March 1764, London, England, James Mason, engraver; subsequently painted by D. Serres and published by John Boydell, London, 25 April 1777
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1979-147 no. 171

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"The Governor's-House and St. Mather's Meeting House in Holles [sic] Street looking up George Street shews Part of the Parade and Citadel Hill at Halifax in Nova-Scotia", 1759
Date: 1777
Medium: engraving with etching, 36 cm. x 51 cm.
Artist: Richard Short, 1759; described & published by Short, 1 March 1764, London, England, Aveline, engraver; subsequently painted by D. Serres and published by John Boydell, London, 25 April 1777
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1979-147 no. 169

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South Aspect of Halifax from near Point Pleasant Park, ca. 1780
Date: ca. 1780
Medium: aquatint with line etching (sepia tone), 38 cm. x 52 cm.
Artist: Edward Hicks; engraved and published, London, England, ca.1782
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1979-147 no. 611

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Halifax from Fort Needham, ca. 1780
Date: ca. 1780
Medium: aquatint with line etching (sepia tone), 31 cm. x 53 cm.
Artist: Edward Hicks; engraved and published
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1979-147 no. 614

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"View from Cowie's Hill near Halifax", 1801
Date: 29 April 1801
Medium: coloured aquatint; 37 cm. x 59 cm.
Artist: drawn, engraved and published by George I. Parkyns, London, England
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1979-147 no. 167

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"National School at Halifax, NS", ca. 1819
Date: ca. 1819
Medium: watercolour with touches of pencil and ink, 27 cm. x 39 cm.
Artist: Joseph Partridge
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1979-147 no. 178

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"View of Halifax, Nova Scotia from the Red Mill, Dartmouth, ca. 1853"
Date: ca. 1853
Medium: engraving
Artist: Robert D. Wilkie; P. Mayor, engraver
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives  Gleason's Illustrated Magazine, 10 September 1853

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Halifax Album, 1880
Date: 1880
Medium: lithograph, 15 cm x 144 cm
Photographer: Notman Studio; manufactured by Charles Frey, Portland, Maine; published by the Canada Railway News Co., Ltd., Montreal, PQ
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives  Album 15B

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Panorama View of Halifax from the Citadel, showing the Harbour and the Dartmouth Shore, 1892-93
Date: 1892
Photographer: Notman Studio, O.M. Hill, Manager
Reference no.: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 71431

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Aerial view of the North West Arm, Looking East to Halifax Harbour and the Dartmouth Shore, 1949
Date: 1949
Photographer: Royal Canadian Navy
Reference no.: Royal Canadian Navy Nova Scotia Archives  no. 1391

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"Aerial View, City of Dartmouth, October 1988"
Date: 1988
Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives  no. 36043

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Halifax Regional Municipality Electoral District Map. September 1995
Medium: Scale: 1:125,000 white print, 135 cm. x 68 cm.
Author: Engineering & Works, Halifax Regional Municipality
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives

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"Halifax Waterfront, July 1997"
Date: 1997
Photographer: Visual Nova Scotia, # 17-4
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives  courtesy Communications Nova Scotia

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