Halifax: The Last Hundred Years Essay

2661 words - 11 pages

Halifax, Nova Scotia has grown significantly over the past one hundred years. It has developed immensely economically, geographically as well as in population. Many factors have contributed to the evolution of this traditional Atlantic Ocean port city into one of the most modern cities in Canada. Its growth has been mad possible by many of its important geographical characteristics that have become the envy of many seaboard towns across North America. Its drastic incline in population since confederation, has been helped by Pier 2 and 21 which was where many immigrants set foot on Canadian soil for the first time.(1) As the population of Halifax increased the city needed to expand geographically in order to house the thousands of new many people arriving in Halifax in search of work. Many settled in nearby Bedford as well as across the harbour in Dartmouth. With the increase in population and geographical land space, Halifax erupted into economic prosperity at the turn of the twentieth century, using shipbuilding and the navy to bring many people to Halifax.(2) With the importance of Halifax to the allied forces during World War I came a drastic increase in traffic in the harbour, with the increase in traffic as well as the explosives that these ships carried it became a horrible reality on December 6th, 1917 when two ships collided and the largest man made explosion prior to Hiroshima occurred in the harbour wiping out much of the city.3 Rebuilding the city would be a long and arduous task but one that the people of Halifax took head on and were successful, these events and passions reinforced the passion of the residence of Halifax and their love for their city.

The population of Halifax has been in steady increase since confederation in 1867. In 1867, the population of Halifax was only 20,749.4 With its perfect landscape and sheltered, deep harbour it was presumed that it would be merely years before the population would increase drastically. With the shipbuilding trade on a rise many tradesmen began to make there way east to Halifax, since rumours of prosperity began to make their way west. By 1936, the population of Halifax had reached 79,205, (5) much of this increase in population came as a result of Piers 2 and 21. Pier 2 had been accepting immigrants into Canada since 1715. Nearly 2.7 million people arrive at Pier 2 prior to 1914. Although many of the people arriving at the Pier are naval men, a large number of them are immigrants. A large amount of immigrants arrive at Pier 2 however many of them continue westward and do not settle in Halifax. By the mid nineteenth century a working class had begun to settle in Halifax, working in the North end and building their homes in the south. Before the start of the twentieth century a wide range of people began to settle in Halifax, French Prisoners of War, gold prospectors looking for gold along the eastern shore, Natives and nearly...

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