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  #721  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2018, 3:53 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Mark, that's an amazing image!! Downtown has really evolved over the years.

It's been really eye-opening for me going through the archive images. They really do help understand how officials and residents of the day could look at these buildings and think they were better off tearing them down. At the same time it's frustrating because--with the benefit of hindsight--I can also see how many of these buildings would have made amazing restorations today. Can you imagine how much demand there would be for lofts in some of those industrial buildings?

It really makes me wonder about other areas of the city that we currently write off as undesirable. We've seen it in my lifetime with the Gottingen area. Where next?
Yes, it's one of the reasons that those archives sites fascinate me so. It also helps one to keep the mindset of the time in perspective.

When looking at these old photos, I can see both sides, but ultimately we did lose a lot of buildings that could have been turned into nice restorations had they been left standing. And then, there are others that were probably best left to the wrecking ball.

I agree that there are still some areas where significant buildings have been left to become somewhat run down and areas to be considered as undesirable. The section of Brunswick Street from North to Cogswell comes to mind, although in recent years there has been a reversal, with some amazing properties being restored. There are houses there that I'm sure were quite spectacular in their day, and are connected to people of historical significance.

And yes, DThfx, it's really too bad that they attach a negative label such as gentrification to the rejuvenation and restoration of these nice old properties/neighborhoods. I don't disregard the fact that low-income families need an affordable place to live, but it seems a shame to hold back an entire neighborhood when there are better solutions for all involved, like regulating specified low-income units in newer buildings to be available for those who need them.
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  #722  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2018, 5:38 PM
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Quite possibly there was influence both ways, but I thought the Harbour Drive concept was created due to a perceived need to move people around more efficiently, by car, and not just an excuse to tear down old buildings.

My impression is that it was the 'build it and they will come' line of thought - that if you made it easier and more efficient for people to get in and out of the downtown, then business will flourish. Scotia Square and Cogswell was part of that, and to a lesser extent but on the same line of thinking, Tex Park. Downtown residential didn't seem to be considered much in all of this - it was all about business (much the same as most other city downtowns at the time).

The 'slum clearance' movement was parallel to that, but had they not seen a need to increase traffic, then the Harbour Drive plan might just as easily been an office skyscraper plan or something else not road related.

Personally, I'm happy that we didn't lose our waterfront as it has become somewhat of an attraction for Halifax, for both locals and tourists - something that apparently wasn't imagined back in the day.

Keep in mind that the concept of a downtown expressway was first enunciated in the late 1940s as part of a connection to a NW Arm bridge. The northern end was to have been connected somehow to Bicentennial Drive. Those two routes would have been the main entry/exit points from the western mainland to the peninsula. If they had been built there could well have been very different development on streets like Quinpool, Chebucto and Bayers that are currently main arteries. I'm unsure if our permanently congested narrow downtown streets with lots of container trucks crashing along are all that pleasant for tourists visiting our Disneyfied waterfront.
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  #723  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2018, 6:41 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Keep in mind that the concept of a downtown expressway was first enunciated in the late 1940s as part of a connection to a NW Arm bridge. The northern end was to have been connected somehow to Bicentennial Drive. Those two routes would have been the main entry/exit points from the western mainland to the peninsula. If they had been built there could well have been very different development on streets like Quinpool, Chebucto and Bayers that are currently main arteries. I'm unsure if our permanently congested narrow downtown streets with lots of container trucks crashing along are all that pleasant for tourists visiting our Disneyfied waterfront.
I'm not sure the tourists agree with you...
https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attractio...va_Scotia.html

You are talking about the Master Plan from 1945, no?
Halifax Master Plan - November 16, 1945
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  #724  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2018, 8:53 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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FWIW, the 1945 plan didn't include wiping out the waterfront for the expressway, like the later Harbour Drive proposal did. It did, however, have roundabouts.

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  #725  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2018, 9:26 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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By the way, the complete Harbour Drive report is available on the Halifax Public Archives:

Harbour Drive report

I haven't read through the entire report as yet, but noted a couple of interesting comments.

Firstly, there wasn't unanimous agreement that it was the best way to go:


Secondly, that the best way to move people around was by an efficient transit system, but it would cost too much money:


In 1966, they were talking about the same things as we are now - a third harbour crossing, and an NW Arm bridge:


Supporting information that the Harbour Drive project was seen as a solution to a traffic problem that would take advantage of demolitions that were happening anyway and not "that the Harbour Drive proposal was the result of a dirty, rundown and decrepit area that was considered not worth saving."


Lots more interesting reading in the document, particularly in the conclusions section. It actually seems that the planners/engineers had a greater understanding than we give them credit for, as many of their assertions are true to this day. Not all of them, though.
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  #726  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2018, 12:43 AM
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FWIW, the 1945 plan didn't include wiping out the waterfront for the expressway, like the later Harbour Drive proposal did. It did, however, have roundabouts.
Actually, they were proposed as rotaries or traffic circles, all of which would have been disastrous.

I find it quite remarkable that a NW Arm bridge was proposed so long ago and nothing much has ever been done to fix that entry into the city.
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  #727  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2018, 12:10 PM
IanWatson IanWatson is offline
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That proposed road network in the extreme North End tho...
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  #728  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2018, 3:22 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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That proposed road network in the extreme North End tho...
Interesting, isn't it?

Looks like they were trying to make the most of the area that was still affected by the devastation of the Halifax Explosion, while taking into account its topography and apparently turning it into functional, almost self-sufficient neighborhood. The shopping centre idea is interesting to say the least:



Photo of the area as it was in the 1940s:


Plate 6: The general plan


Plate 7: Shopping/Park area


It strikes me that regardless of the era, the line of thinking in planning has been similar for a long time. In each case, they seem to want the best outcome for functionality and livability for a particular era, and as expected they are bound by the social norms of the time (see Africville comments below). In many ways the concepts presented in this plan are not unlike HRM By Design or The Centre Plan, but are likewise viewed through the looking glass of social norms and what is considered 'best practice' in the era.

You would have to look further to know what happened between then and now, and I haven't, but if you look at the current road network it looks like the plan was partially followed at least, but then there was also a bridge tossed in there. And it's important to recognize that this was just a suggested guideline so, as such, some aspects of it were followed while others weren't.

Google satellite view

It also strikes me how matter-of-fact they were regarding Africville:




There was no discussion about the community or cultural sensitivities, just a paternalistic attitude that this is bad and we know what's better for the residents and what's better for the neighborhood. So, "just do this"...

I'm glad that we as a society have become a little better in these regards, but IMHO we still have a long way to go.
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  #729  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2018, 4:53 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
There was no discussion about the community or cultural sensitivities, just a paternalistic attitude that this is bad and we know what's better for the residents and what's better for the neighborhood. So, "just do this"...
That is still exactly how planners operate today. See the Centre Plan height limits and the discussion in another thread about the Prince Albert Road development, among many other examples.

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I'm glad that we as a society have become a little better in these regards, but IMHO we still have a long way to go.
Africville was quite rightly seen as not only an embarrassment to the city but had a degree of squalor there which was simply not acceptable. It is a current-day narrative that the residents were happy and content but that is not what was heard at the time. While the relocation methods may be argued to have been heavy-handed there was not much of an alternative at the time, and they were moved to brand-new facilities not far away.

BTW I find the north end plan as rather bizarre. Locate a shopping area at the far northern tip? Good luck with that.
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  #730  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2018, 5:25 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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That is still exactly how planners operate today. See the Centre Plan height limits and the discussion in another thread about the Prince Albert Road development, among many other examples.
I can't disagree with this.

Quote:
Africville was quite rightly seen as not only an embarrassment to the city but had a degree of squalor there which was simply not acceptable. It is a current-day narrative that the residents were happy and content but that is not what was heard at the time. While the relocation methods may be argued to have been heavy-handed there was not much of an alternative at the time, and they were moved to brand-new facilities not far away.
I think the main difference is that today I would think there would be a greater consideration of options, and public consultation involved. Presumably, given today's political climate, there would be no problem getting some provincial or federal money to improve conditions and maintain the community, rather than just say it's a blight and must be removed. Just my ...

Quote:
BTW I find the north end plan as rather bizarre. Locate a shopping area at the far northern tip? Good luck with that.
Again, I can't disagree. And it's likely the reason that it never was built to this plan.
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  #731  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2018, 12:57 PM
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1974

Halifax 4 by Miguel, on Flickr

Halifax-9 by Miguel, on Flickr

Halifax-5 by Miguel, on Flickr

Halifax 3 by Miguel, on Flickr

Halifax 2 by Miguel, on Flickr

Halifax-10 by Miguel, on Flickr

Halifax 1 by Miguel, on Flickr

More here:
https://flic.kr/s/aHsmdA3D9C
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  #732  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2018, 1:20 PM
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These last few shots are amazing! I have never seen these. I am also amazed by the quality of the shots given it was 1970's camera technology. Film was quite superior then. Rivals digital of today.
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  #733  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2018, 3:18 PM
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These last few shots are amazing! I have never seen these. I am also amazed by the quality of the shots given it was 1970's camera technology. Film was quite superior then. Rivals digital of today.
Those are fabulous shots, q12. Thanks so much for sharing them. They add some great perspectives on the downtown of 40+ years ago. All that's missing, for those of us who were around then, is the sweet smell of chocolate that permeated the downtown core on many days, a byproduct of the old Moirs factory. Now that's a heritage feature I'd give a lot to replicate.
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  #734  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2018, 10:19 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Thanks for posting those q12. I think I have seen some others from this person's album, but don't recall seeing these ones.

Many many changes in downtown since then. Many improvements but some more interesting/eclectic buildings lost.

A few comments:
- Couldn't help but notice the fake brick siding on the Five Fishermen's building. It looks much better now!

- The old Police Station/Market building would have been nice to keep around. I know the building that currently occupies the lot adds more density downtown, but the old building would have added some much-needed character and visual interest to that corner.

- I've whined about the loss of the St. Paul's rectory on Argyle before, but now realize that the building directly behind it that was also replaced by the lifeless box that was built there was quite interesting to look at as well. Would have been nice if some of these buildings had been kept instead.

- The block above the Herald building was levelled at some point and left vacant for decades before the NC was built. Seeing what was there before made me wonder why not just keep the buildings there? Is it fair to suggest that downtown Halifax was poorly managed for decades, or was it just a sign of the economy/attitudes of the time?

- The Moirs factory was a very interesting building. I don't remember the chocolate smells, but I agree it would be nice to still have some of that downtown...

- General comment - it appears that people dressed more nicely in 1974 than they do today...
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  #735  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2018, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
- The old Police Station/Market building would have been nice to keep around. I know the building that currently occupies the lot adds more density downtown, but the old building would have added some much-needed character and visual interest to that corner.

- I've whined about the loss of the St. Paul's rectory on Argyle before, but now realize that the building directly behind it that was also replaced by the lifeless box that was built there was quite interesting to look at as well. Would have been nice if some of these buildings had been kept instead.

- The block above the Herald building was levelled at some point and left vacant for decades before the NC was built. Seeing what was there before made me wonder why not just keep the buildings there? Is it fair to suggest that downtown Halifax was poorly managed for decades, or was it just a sign of the economy/attitudes of the time?

It was because they were all dumps. My father worked for a time during the 1960s in one of those buildings pictured and I remember a few times he brought me to the office after hours. They were terrible inside.
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  #736  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2018, 11:59 AM
IanWatson IanWatson is offline
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We've certainly made progress with the undergrounding of power lines in the downtown!
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  #737  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2018, 3:59 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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It was because they were all dumps. My father worked for a time during the 1960s in one of those buildings pictured and I remember a few times he brought me to the office after hours. They were terrible inside.
Which one? Did he complain about having to work in that building?
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  #738  
Old Posted Apr 26, 2018, 4:33 PM
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http://thechronicleherald.ca/letters...%99s-city-home
I remember seeing pictures of the first poorhouse post-fire, but don't remember seeing any pre-fire.
interesting to see the second poorhouse: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-s...lled-1.3918547
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  #739  
Old Posted Apr 26, 2018, 10:19 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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http://thechronicleherald.ca/letters...%99s-city-home
I remember seeing pictures of the first poorhouse post-fire, but don't remember seeing any pre-fire.
interesting to see the second poorhouse: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-s...lled-1.3918547
If I have this right, the first poor house was in the Spring Garden Road area (in 1760?):
http://www.smu.ca/webfiles/Simpsonburials.pdf

https://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/the-...nt?oid=5020974

The second one was built in 1869 and burned down in 1882, killing 30 (though there seems to be some question if that number is exactly accurate)...


...and the third (and last) one was built in 1886 and is the one pictured in the CH article.


http://www.smu.ca/history/holy-cross/poor-house.html
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  #740  
Old Posted Apr 26, 2018, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JET View Post
http://thechronicleherald.ca/letters...%99s-city-home
I remember seeing pictures of the first poorhouse post-fire, but don't remember seeing any pre-fire.
interesting to see the second poorhouse: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-s...lled-1.3918547
The good old days.

One big thing these stories tend to miss out is just how untreatable mental illness was prior to the discovery of new medications in the 1950's. If you were schizophrenic in the 1940's there wasn't much that could be done. You could be locked up or you could be subjected to cruel and/or relatively ineffective therapies like lobotomy or electro-shock.

I don't believe we've gotten much more compassionate or better at handling difficult forms of mental illness and poverty today compared to the 1940's. I think we are mostly lucky that scientific advances have increased the proportion of illnesses that are treatable.
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