Discover Dartmouth, Nova Scotia: A Rich Blend of History and Culture
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, a bustling community within the Halifax Regional Municipality, is a gem on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour. With a population of 72,139 residents as of 2021, Dartmouth is a vibrant community with a rich history and a thriving cultural scene.
The Historical Journey of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Dartmouth in the 18th Century
The history of Dartmouth dates back to the 18th century when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports on June 21, 1749, marking the beginning of Father Le Loutre's War. The British quickly began to build other settlements, including Dartmouth in 1750, to guard against Miꞌkmaq, Acadian, and French attacks.
In 1750, the sailing ship Alderney arrived with 151 immigrants, who were settled on the eastern side of Halifax Harbour. The original settlement was made in an area the Miꞌkmaq called Ponamogoatitjg, which translates to "Tomcod Ground" or "Salmon Place". The community was later named Dartmouth in honour of William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth. By 1752, 53 families consisting of 193 people lived in the community.
The oldest structure in Dartmouth is the house of William Ray, a Quaker and cooper from Nantucket who moved to Dartmouth in 1785-86. Today, it serves as a museum, showcasing a typical modest dwelling of a merchant of that time.
Dartmouth in the 19th Century
In the 19th century, Dartmouth was initially a sawmill and agricultural outpost of Halifax. However, it grew significantly with the construction of the Shubenacadie Canal and the rise of successful industrial firms. Dartmouth was incorporated as a town in 1873, and a town hall was established in 1877.
Dartmouth in the 20th Century
The 20th century marked a period of rapid urban growth for Dartmouth. In 1955, the town was permanently linked to Halifax by the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge. The Dartmouth General Hospital officially opened on 14 January 1977, providing care to a catchment area of approximately 120,000 people.
On 1 January 1961, the Town of Dartmouth officially amalgamated with several neighbouring villages into the City of Dartmouth. The A. Murray MacKay Bridge opened in 1970, furthering commercial and residential growth.
On April 1, 1996, the provincial government amalgamated all the municipalities within the boundaries of Halifax County into a single-tier regional government named the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). Dartmouth and its neighbouring city of Halifax, the town of Bedford and the Municipality of the County of Halifax were dissolved.
The Geography of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Dartmouth covers 60.339 km2 and boasts twenty-three lakes within its boundaries, forming part of the Shubenacadie Canal. The most famous amongst these is Lake Banook, which provides an excellent location for recreation and attractive vistas. Dartmouth's most historic body of water is the artificial Sullivan's Pond, located north-east of the downtown area on Ochterloney Street.
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia: A Hub of Transportation
Dartmouth is linked to Halifax by the oldest continuously operating saltwater ferry service in North America, with the first crossing having taken place in 1752. The Angus L. Macdonald Bridge, a suspension bridge crossing Halifax Harbour, opened in 1955, ushering in an unprecedented development boom in Dartmouth. A second bridge, the A. Murray MacKay Bridge, was opened in 1970.
The Demographics of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
The community of Dartmouth is coterminous with the former City of Dartmouth. As of 2021, the community has over 72,000 people within its boundaries.
Military Presence in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Dartmouth has been home to several Canadian Forces installations, including CFB Shearwater, HMC Naval Radio Station Albro Lake, CFB Halifax adjunct, Wallace Heights, Shannon Park, and Canadian Forces Ammunition Depot Bedford.
The Cultural Scene in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Dartmouth celebrates a number of festivals throughout the year, including the Ice Festival in January, Dart Music Fest in May, the Maritime Fiddle Festival in July, and the Christkindlemarket in December. With twenty-three lakes within the community, Dartmouth is nicknamed The City of Lakes. Dartmouth's community flower is the orchid, and its Latin motto is Amicitia Crescimus, which is located on its community crest. Before the 1996 amalgamation, Dartmouth was Halifax's sister city.