Do you think you know Dartmouth? Trivia about our beloved city on the other side of the Halifax Harbour

Published 09 January 15 03:07 PM | Merv Edinger 

Lesser Known & Interesting Facts About Our Beloved Dartmouth - Some history about the other side of the Halifax Harbour


As many of you know, I was posted from my origins in Ontario to CFB Shearwater in 1992.  I took one look at the ocean & decided that I was HOME.  My wife & I love living in Dartmouth & are proud to call this wonderful community in Halifax home.  I am also a fan of history.  Recently, I read & shared a blog that I found interesting regarding lesser known facts about our provincial capital of Halifax. So I thought I would create one about our fair city on the “other side of the Harbour”.

MacDonald Bridge with Dartmouth in the background
·         The Mi'kmaq occupied the region for millennia. The Mi'kmaq called the area Boonamoogwaddy, which means "Tomcod Ground" in reference to the fish which were presumably caught in this part of Halifax Harbour. There is evidence that bands would spend the summer on the shores of the Bedford Basin, moving to points inland before the harsh Atlantic winter set in. The Mi'kmaq resisted the settlement of Dartmouth by the British. One of Halifax's last surviving Mi'kmaq communities was located near present-day Tuft's Cove but was devastated in the December 6, 1917 Halifax Explosion. Today the Millbrook First Nation has a small satellite reserve in Cole Harbour on the eastern edge of Dartmouth.

·         Founded in 1750, an ocean vessel called Alderny arrived at the Dartmouth port carrying only 150 immigrants. The Halifax Council determined the new residents should make homes across the harbor in a settlement then called Boonamoogwaddy (Tomcod Ground) by the Mi'kmaq natives. The settlement was later named Dartmouth Nova Scotia, commemorating William Legge. Legge was a departed nobleman in Queen Anne of Great Britain's court and the inaugural Earl of Dartmouth

·         The ferry service between Dartmouth & Halifax is the oldest saltwater ferry service in North America & has been in operation since 1752. Ferry Terminal - Dartmouth to Halifax

·         Cameras scan all ships that enter the Harbour.

·         Allan Bundy was born in Dartmouth and was the first African Canadian to fly as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. After graduating from Dartmouth High School, Bundy received a scholarship to study chemistry at Dalhousie University. When WWII broke out, he enlisted in the air force and flew 42 missions in Europe

·         John Forbes (1833-1955 ) was an inventor. He is credited with designing the first spring-loaded ice skate, which revolutionized the sports of skating and Hockey. He lived in the “Lakeside House” which still stands on Crichton Avenue.

    During Father Le Loutre’s War, there were 8 raids on Dartmouth. During this War, In August 1750, 353 people arrived on the Alderney and began the town of Dartmouth. The town was laid out in the autumn of that year.[11] The following month, on September 30, 1750, Dartmouth was attacked again by the Mi'kmaq and five more residents were killed.

·         on May 13, 1751, Broussard led sixty Mi'kmaq and Acadians to attack Dartmouth again, in what would be known as the "Dartmouth Massacre".

·         Legend also has it that pirates or privateers had buried treasure in the still waters of Cole Harbour, just outside of Dartmouth. Lore has it that a group of men who knew of the legend found a treasure buried beneath a rock, which has since been known as “Money Rock”.

·         In 1785, at the end of the American Revolution, a group of Quakers from Nantucket arrived in Dartmouth to set up a whaling trade. They built homes, a Quaker meeting house, a wharf for their vessels and a factory to produce spermaceti candles and other products made from whale oil and carcass. Only one Quaker residence remains in Dartmouth and is believed to be the oldest structure in Dartmouth.

·         Lore also stated that a Norse axe was once found near Cole Harbour but its wearabouts has long since been forgotten.

·         Loyalists who arrived in 1785, and received a grant that included land bordering present-day Portland, King and Wentworth Streets. Woodlawn was once part of the land purchased by a Loyalist, named Ebenezer Allen who became a prominent Dartmouth businessman. In 1786, he donated land near his estate to be used as a cemetery. Many early settlers are interred in the Woodlawn cemetery including the remains of the "Babes in the Woods," two sisters who wandered into the forest and perished

·         By the early 19th century, Dartmouth consisted of about twenty-five families working as a sawmill and agricultural outpost of Halifax. Boy, has Dartmouth grown.

·         In 1860, Starr Manufacturing Company began operations near the Shubenacadie Canal. The factory employed over 150 workers and manufactured one of the world's first mass-produced ice skates, as well as cut nails, vault doors, iron bridge work and other heavy iron products

·         The Mott's candy and soap factory, employing 100, opened at Hazelhurst (near present-day Hazelhurst and Newcastle Streets). They were the first manufacturer of chocolate in Canada.  They also made soap, spices & candles.

·         How the Burnside Industrial Park got it’s name? A Scottish immigrant, D. Waddell purchased a parcel of land just North of Tufts Cove. When he named his homestead, he referred to the Scottish term “burn” , for stream, due to the fact that his new property had a stream running through it.

·         A canon from the ship The Mont Blanc, involved in the Halifax Explosion in 1917, was thrown through the air as a result of the World’s 2nd largest manmade explosion, & landed on the corner of Pincecrest & Albro Lake Road in Dartmouth’s North End.

·         Two attempts were made to bridge The Narrows of Halifax Harbour with a railway line during the 1880s but were washed away by powerful storms.

·          During World War II Dartmouth as with Halifax was busy supporting Canada's war effort in Europe. On July 18, 1945, at the end of the Second World War, a fire broke out at the magazine jetty on the Bedford Basin, north of Dartmouth. The fire began on a sunken barge and quickly spread to the dock. A violent series of large explosions ensued as stored ammunition exploded. The barge responsible for starting the explosion presently lies on the seabed near the eastern shoreline adjacent to the Magazine Dock.

·         The Carriage House in Dartmouth has had reports of being haunted…

·         Mi’kmaw history notes that the Mi’kmaq played a game on the ice on Tufts Cove with 8 men on each team & a wooden puck in 1700s. It is believed to be the origions of hockey. A painting shows the game game being played.
References: Hockey's Home by Martin Jones; Wikipedia;; Fred Myers;

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