Founded in 1750, the community developed slowly, its early importance being to supply farm produce to HALIFAX. The agricultural base was later diversified, beginning in 1826 with construction of the Shubenacadie Canal system, intended to connect Halifax Harbour with the Bay of Fundy. The scheme subsequently failed, but the availability of waterpower led to the establishment of some light industry by mid-century.
Although a sugar refinery (1883) and an oil refinery (1916) were precursors, rapid development did not begin until after World War II. A ferry service crossing Halifax Harbour has operated continually since 1752, but the completion of the first cross-harbour bridge in 1955 (a second was opened in 1970) greatly facilitated access from Halifax. This coincided with the expansion of several existing industries and resulted in a housing boom and new industrial development.
Since the 1970s, Dartmouth has taken advantage of geographic and economic factors to become the light industrial and commercial centre of the Maritimes. Burnside Business Park, opened in 1968, is the largest such complex in Atlantic Canada, catering predominantly to sales and service as well as warehouse and distribution industries.
The BEDFORD INSTITUTE OF OCEANOGRAPHY is a world-renowned research facility, and the NOVA SCOTIA RESEARCH FOUNDATION CORPORATION and the Nova Scotia Hospital are also located in Dartmouth. A modern highway network circumvents the revitalized downtown core and connects Dartmouth's growing residential and industrial districts. Excellent medical, educational, recreational and shopping facilities make the metropolitan area a popular place in which to live and work.
Author LOIS KERNAGHAN
Links to Other Sites
Information about Dartmouth can be found at this Halifax Regional Municipality website. Check out Dartmouth's "Heritage Walk" and other local attractions in the "Visitors" section.
Fort McNab National Historic Site
The Parks Canada website for historic Fort McNab, which formerly served as a gun battery and gatekeeper of Halifax Harbour.
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
The website for the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Features many research reports, maps, diagrams and multimedia resources about oceanography. Also profiles the Canadian Coast Guard survey vessels stationed at the Institute. Check the informative “Program Overview” before searching this very extensive site.
Natal Day Festival
Your online guide to Natal Day, the annual birthday celebration of the communities of Halifax and Dartmouth.
Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce
The website for the Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce (APCC), formerly the Maritime Board of Trade. Formed in 1896, this organization promotes and supports business and economic development in Atlantic Canada. Click on "Chambers" for links to local Chambers of Commerce.
Cole Harbour Place
The website for Cole Harbour Place, a recreation facility in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia: Community Profiles
Search for statistical profiles of communities in the Province of Nova Scotia.