Nova Scotia Archives

Halifax and Its People / 1749-1999

Glimpses of a Lost Halifax

In 1749 Halifax was a rough settlement of wood-frame buildings hastily thrown together behind a palisade that stretched between Citadel Hill and the harbour. These early structures gradually gave way to a Victorian downtown, constructed largely of brick and stone: commercial establishments, shops, government and private offices, churches, small manufacturing concerns — and an inner community of wooden structures, home to seamen, longshoremen, labourers, shop assistants, tradesmen and their families. The face of downtown Halifax began to change again, drastically, especially after the city's bicentenary — and continues to change today, as large numbers of surviving Victorian buildings, and even entire streetscapes, are demolished and replaced by the glass-and-steel office towers and high-rise apartment buildings that are the trademarks of the late twentieth century.

Other areas of the present Halifax Regional Municipality, beyond the old downtown core, have also experienced complete transformations over time. North End Halifax was totally redeveloped after the Explosion of 1917. The Mi'kmaq community at rocky Turtle Grove, just outside the old town of Dartmouth, was a landmark on the harbour until it, too, was devastated by the Explosion. And the old established Black community of Africville, on the south shore of Bedford Basin, survived the Explosion — only to fall victim to city officialdom, who decreed its destruction and the relocation of its residents to modern public housing in the 1960s.

As the city continues to grow and evolve in an age of rapid change, a cursory glance at our colourful past quickly reveals that the horse and wagon have given way to the automobile, the horse-drawn streetcar to Metro Transit, the telegraph to the cellular phone, and the typewriter to the computer. For better or worse, time continues to march on, the one constant being the faces of the people who make up our collective identity as Haligonians, those people who live in a city by the sea called Halifax.


Results 1 to 11 of 11 from your search: Glimpses of a Lost Halifax


"Micmac Indian Encampment near Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1812"
Date: 1812
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives  Photo Drawer - Indians - Micmac [courtesy National Archives of Canada]

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Mi'kmaq at Tufts Cove, Dartmouth, ca. 1871
Date: ca. 1871
Photographer: Joseph S. Rogers
Reference no.: Joseph S. Rogers Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-412 Photographic Advertising Album, 1871, p. 18

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"'Jock' (William) Craig, who for 54 years was the letter carrier of the General Post Office, Halifax, N.S. Photo taken 1 Aug. 1871, when 81 years old"
Date: 1 August 1871
Photographer: Notman Studio
Reference no.: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 6248

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F.H. Baker, Editor of the Mayflower, ca. 1878
Date: ca. 1878
Photographer: Notman Studio
Reference no.: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 96891

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"Halifax Police Court & City Hall (formerly Exchange Coffee House), City Market House (built 1851 or '58), and Market Square, at corner of Bedford Row & George St., Halifax, N.S., taken on a Saturday morning, July 1886, by Dr. G.L. Sinclair, looking NNE"
Date: July 1886
Photographer: G.L. Sinclair
Reference no.: G.L. Sinclair Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-319 no. 1

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"Gabriel Hall, 94 years old (Mar. 92), came to this country on board the Chesapeake [and] was a slave", 1892
Date: 1892
Photographer: Geo. H. Craig
Reference no.: J.J. Stewart Nova Scotia Archives  Photo Drawer - People - Hall, Gabriel

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The Canadian Atlantic and Plant Steam Ship Company Wharf and Building, "After the fire at T.J. Egan's [177 Lower] Water Street" [i.e. after 15 September 1904]
Date: after 15 September 1904
Reference no.: Thomas W. Chisholm Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1981-457 no. 1

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"Winter on Hollis St., Hfx., N.S. – Xmas trees", ca. 1947
Date: ca. 1947
Photographer: Robert Norwood
Reference no.: Robert Norwood Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-480 no. 263

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City of Halifax Stray Animal Patrol Van, [195-]
Date: 1950s
Photographer: Robert Norwood
Reference no.: Robert Norwood Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-480 no. 384

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"Outside Old City Market, Halifax, N.S.", ca. 1953
Date: ca. 1953
Photographer: Robert Norwood
Reference no.: Robert Norwood Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-480 no. 407

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Africville Relocation Meeting, Seaview Baptist Church, Halifax, ca. 1962
Date: ca. 1962
Photographer: Bob Brooks
Reference no.: Bob Brooks Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1989-468 series C

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