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Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Urban Community
Dartmouth waterfront, showing pier, ferry and boats
Dartmouth waterfront, showing pier, ferry and boats
Nickname(s): City of Lakes
Location of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Location of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Dartmouth is located in Nova Scotia
Location of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Country  Canada
Province  Nova Scotia
Municipality Halifax
Founded 1750
Incorporated City January 1, 1961
Amalgamated with Halifax April 1, 1996
Neighbourhoods Albro Lake, Bell Ayr Park, Brightwood, Burnside, Commodore Park, Crichton Park, Crystal Heights, Downtown Dartmouth, Ellenvale, Grahams Corner, Greenough Settlement, Harbourview, Highfield Park, Imperoyal, Manor Park, Nantucket, Port Wallace, Portland Estates, Portland Hills, Shannon Park, Southdale, Tam O'Shanter Ridge, Tufts Cove, Wallace Heights, Woodlawn, Woodside
 • Governing Body Halifax Regional Council
 • Community Council Harbour East - Marine Drive Community Council
 • Districts 3 - Dartmouth South - Eastern Passage. 5 - Dartmouth Centre. 6 - Harbourview - Burnside - Dartmouth East
 • Total 58.57 km2 (22.61 sq mi)
Highest elevation 113 m (371 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2011)[1][2]
 • Total 67,573
 • Density 1,153.71/km2 (2,988.1/sq mi)
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
 • Summer (DST) ADT (UTC-3)
Postal code span B2V to B2Z, B3A-B
Area code(s) 902
Telephone Exchanges 433-5, 460-6, 468-9, 481
NTS Map 011D12
Part of a series about Places in Nova Scotia

Dartmouth is an urban community of Halifax. Formerly a city, Dartmouth is located on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour. Dartmouth has been nicknamed the City of Lakes, after the large number of lakes located within its boundaries.

On April 1, 1996, the provincial government amalgamated all the municipalities within the boundaries of Halifax County into a single-tier regional government named Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). While Dartmouth and its neighbouring city of Halifax, the town of mapping, 9-1-1, planning, and is recognized by the Halifax Regional Municipality as a place-name for civic addressing as a community. The official place name did not change, due to the confusion with similar street names, planning set out by the "City of Dartmouth" and public pressure. Today the same development planning for Downtown Dartmouth and the rest of the region is still in force, as well as specific bylaws created prior to April 1, 1996.


  • History 1
  • Municipal government 2
  • Economy 3
  • Transportation and communications 4
    • Transportation 4.1
    • Communications 4.2
  • Natal Day 5
  • Geography 6
  • Military 7
  • Famous Dartmouthians 8
  • Symbols 9
  • Culture 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Alderney Landing, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Father Le Loutre's War began when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports on June 21, 1749.[3] By unilaterally establishing Halifax, the British were violating earlier treaties with the Mi'kmaq (1726), which were signed after Father Rale's War.[4] The British quickly began to build other settlements. To guard against Mi'kmaq, Acadian and French attacks on the new Protestant settlements, British fortifications were erected in Halifax (1749), Dartmouth (1750), Bedford (Fort Sackville) (1751), Lunenburg (1753) and Lawrencetown (1754).

In 1750, the sailing ship Alderney arrived with 151 immigrants. Municipal officials at Halifax decided that these new arrivals should be settled on the eastern side of Halifax Harbour. During the early years, there were 8 Acadian and Mi'kmaq raids on the new British settlement, such as the Raid on Dartmouth (1751).

The original settlement was made in an area the Mi'kmaq called Ponamogoatitjg[5] (Boonamoogwaddy), which has been varyingly translated as "Tomcod Ground" or "Salmon Place" in reference to the fish which were presumably caught in this part of Halifax Harbour.. The community was later given the English name of Dartmouth in honour of William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth who was a former Secretary of State. By 1752, 53 families consisting of 193 people lived in the community.

Dartmouth was initially a sawmill and agricultural outpost of Halifax. However in the mid 19th century, it grew, first with the construction of the Shubenacadie Canal and more importantly with the rise of successful industrial firms such as the Dartmouth Marine Slips, the Starr Manufacturing Company, and the Stairs Ropeworks.

In 1873, Dartmouth was incorporated as a town and a Town Hall was established in 1877. In 1955, the town was permanently linked to Halifax by the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge which led to rapid suburban growth. The Town of Dartmouth amalgamated with several neighbouring villages into the City of Dartmouth in 1961. The A. Murray MacKay Bridge opened in 1970, furthering commercial and residential growth.

The city was dissolved on April 1, 1996, when its government was amalgamated into the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Municipal government

Angus A MacDonald Bridge (the 'old Bridge') Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Dartmouth is represented municipally in Halifax Regional Council by the following districts:

  • District 3 - Dartmouth South - Eastern Passage.
  • District 5 - Dartmouth Centre.
  • District 6 - Harbourview - Burnside - Dartmouth East

The HRM community council for Dartmouth is the Harbour East - Marine Drive Community Council are held in various locations on the first Thursday of every month.

Residents of Dartmouth are known as Dartmouthians. As a community, Dartmouth has often tended to distinguish itself from the community and former city of Halifax, even under the present municipal amalgamation. Dartmouth is also the Halifax Regional Municipality's Public Works Eastern Region.


The city was not only a bedroom community for Halifax but also had commerce and industries of its own, including the Volvo Halifax Assembly plant, and a molasses plant dating back to the days of the triangular trade with the West Indies. Today, Dartmouth is home to the shopping district of Dartmouth Crossing, as well as federal government jobs, many located in the Queen Square building on Alderney Drive.

Transportation and communications

Ferry running between Halifax and Dartmouth, docked at Dartmouth Ferry Terminal.


Dartmouth is linked to Halifax by the oldest continuously operating salt water ferry service in North America with the first crossing having taken place in 1752. Early ferries were powered by horses, which were replaced with steam engines in 1830. During the early 20th century, ferries shuttled pedestrians and vehicles between the downtown areas of Halifax and Dartmouth. A railway trestle was built across Halifax Harbour in the late 19th century to bring rail service to Dartmouth however it was destroyed by a storm, requiring the present railway connection built around Bedford Basin.

During the early 1950s, construction began on the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge, a suspension bridge crossing Halifax Harbour. It opened in 1955, ushering in an unprecedented development boom in Dartmouth. New subdivisions, shopping centres, office buildings and industrial parks have been built in recent decades. A second bridge, the A. Murray MacKay Bridge was opened in 1970 and the Highway 111 Circumferential Highway was built around Dartmouth to Woodside at this time.


Halifax skyline from Dartmouth, NS.

Natal Day

  • Dartmouthians have celebrated a civic holiday known as "Natal Day" since August 1895. The concept originated as a means to celebrate the arrival of the railway, but construction of the railway tracks was incomplete on the appointed day. Since all the preparations for the festivities were ready, organisers decided to go ahead with a celebration of the municipality's birthday instead.
  • In 1941, the Dartmouth Natal Committee decided to erect a cairn in honour of the spirit and courage of the first settlers to Dartmouth's shore. It is situated in Leighton Dillman Park, part of the common lands left to the community by the Quakers, and it overlooks the harbour where the first settlers built their homes. The monument stands three meters high and is constructed from rocks gathered on Martinique Beach. A plaque in front of the cairn is inscribed and describes the arrival of the Alderney "on August 12, 1750 with 353 settlers."


Display on Dartmouth waterfront, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Map of Burnside Park.

Neighbourhoods of Dartmouth include:

The oldest structure in Dartmouth is the house of William Ray, a Quaker and cooper from Nantucket who moved to Dartmouth in 1785-86 as a whaler. Its materials and construction methods closely resembles Quaker architecture in Nantucket, such as the asymmetrical facade design and stone foundation.[12] It is located at 59 Ochterloney Street and is believed to have been built around 1785 or 1786. Today it is a museum, furnished as a typical modest dwelling of a merchant of that time.[13][12]

Dartmouth's first city hall was built in the early 1960s on land with the Dartmouth Common. On May 4, 2007, a Halifax Regional Municipality news releases stated that the building was to be demolished. The land has since been restored to parkland.[14]


Dartmouth has been home to several Canadian Forces installations:

  • CFB Shearwater, located on the southern border of Dartmouth is an air force base, formerly known as Naval Air Station Halifax, RCAF Station Dartmouth, RCAF Station Shearwater, HMCS Shearwater, and RCNAS Shearwater.
  • HMC Naval Radio Station Albro Lake, a radio transmitter/receiver facility.
  • CFB Halifax adjunct, an area on the Dartmouth waterfront opposite HMC Dockyard.
  • Wallace Heights, a former military housing area in north-end Dartmouth.
  • Shannon Park, unused military housing area in north-end Dartmouth.
  • Canadian Forces Ammunition Depot Bedford, a munitions magazine for Maritime Forces Atlantic, located on the border between Dartmouth and Bedford.

Famous Dartmouthians


The City of Dartmouth Seal, located on a police badge.
Flag of the former City of Dartmouth
  • Dartmouth is nicknamed "The City of Lakes". Boasting 23 lakes within its boundaries, Dartmouthians take special pride in the chain of lakes within its boundaries that form part of the Shubenacadie Canal. Most famous amongst these is Lake Banook, which provides an excellent location for recreation as well as 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. It was dug in the 1830s as part of the Shubenacadie Canal to connect Halifax Harbour with Cobequid Bay on the Bay of Fundy.
  • Dartmouth was Halifax's sister city. Halifax's city flower is the broad-chested rose. Dartmouth's city flower is the orchid.
  • Dartmouth's Motto is located on its City Crest "Amicitia Crescimus."


  • The television show Trailer Park Boys is set in a fictional Dartmouth trailer park and filmed in Dartmouth and its environs. The show features actors (such as Robb Wells) and writers from Dartmouth. A documentary film about the creation and production of the Trailer Park Boys series is entitled Hearts of Dartmouth.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008; Thomas Beamish Akins. History of Halifax, Brookhouse Press. 1895. (2002 edition). p 7
  4. ^ Wicken, p. 181; Griffith, p. 390; Also see
  5. ^ William Wicken. Mi'kmaq Treaties on Trial, University of Toronto Press. 2002. p 174
  6. ^ 1762 Census
  7. ^ 104.pdf, Canada Year Book 1932
  8. ^ 140.pdf, Canada Year Book 1955
  9. ^ [1], Canada Year Book 1967
  10. ^ [2], 1996 Census of Canada: Electronic Area Profiles
  11. ^ [3], 2001 Community Profiles
  12. ^ a b Dartmouth Heritage Museum
  13. ^ Historic Places Canada
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)
  • Former Dartmouth City Flag
  • The Miracle of Woodside 4 June 1965
  • Forest Hills Fellowship Baptist Church of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
  • Hello Dartmouth - Community News Group
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