Virtual Projects 2022

La lien entre le Titanic et Halifax

Le projet/The project

L’histoire du naufrage du Titanic, qui a coulé il y a plus de 100 ans, reste encore dans les cœurs des gens. Le Titanic est parti de Southampton en Angleterre le 10 avril 1912 en route vers New York. En raison de son unique construction, Le Titanic était considéré comme insubmersible. Malheureusement, après quatre jours de voyage, le navire est entré en collision avec un iceberg dans l’océan Atlantique et a coulé. Il y avait 2228 passagers plus des membres de l’équipage à bord. 1518 personnes sont mortes. C’était l’une des plus grandes catastrophes de l’histoire Maritime.

Suite à la collision, White Star Line croyait que le navire pourrait continuer vers Halifax. Malheureusement, moins de 3 heures après la collision, le Titanic était complétement submergé sous l’eau. Les citoyens d’Halifax ont aidé à retrouver ceux qui avait perdu la vie. Plusieurs qui n’ont jamais été identifiés, ont été enterrés dans des cimetières autour d’Halifax.

À ce jour, les histoires de ceux qui ont navigué sur le Titanic sont racontées et le lien avec Halifax reste plus fort que jamais.

The link between the Titanic and Halifax

The story of the sinking of the Titanic has gained the attention of many for more than 100 years. The Titanic’s voyage began in Southampton, England on April 10th 1912 destined for New York. Due to its unique construction, the Titanic was said to be unsinkable. However, just four days into the voyage, the ship hit an iceberg in the northern Atlantic Ocean and sank. There were 2228 passengers, including crew, on board. 1518 people lost their lives. The disaster was one of the largest in Maritime history.

When the collision first happened, White Star Line had hoped that the Titanic could sail, damaged, to Halifax. But sadly, less than 3 hours after having hit the iceberg, the Titanic was completely submersed under water. The citizens of Halifax helped in finding those passengers who lost their lives. Many who were never identified were buried in cemeteries around Halifax, their final resting place.

To this day, the story of those who sailed on the Titanic are recounted and the connection to Halifax remains strong.

L’architecte en chef de White Star Line, Thomas Andrews / Chief architect of White Star Line, Thomas Andrews
Cette photo montre le processus de construction du Titanic à Belfast, Irelande / This photo shows the Titanic being built in Belfast, Ireland
Cette photo reflète l’escalier grandiose du Titanic / This photo reflects the Grand Staircase of the Titanic 
Le Titanic met les voiles / The Titanic sets sail
Le Titanic frappe un iceberg le 14 avril 1912 à 23h40 / The Titanic strikes an iceberg at 11:40pm on April 14, 1912
Le Titanic coule. Des fusées éclairantes ont été lancées mais n’ont jamais reçu de réponse / As the Titanic sank, flares were launched but were never answered
Une image des passagers assez chanceux d’être dans 1 des 20 bateaux de sauvetage / An image of the passengers fortunate enough to be in 1 of 20 life boats
Voici une photo du musé Maritime de l’Atlantique où se trouve une exposition du Titanic / This is a photo of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic where there’s a Titanic exhibit
Postes Canada a créé une série de timbres commémoratifs à l’occasion du 100e anniversaire du naufrage du Titanic / Canada Post created a series of stamps commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic

Confederation Controversy : The Pros and Cons of Nova Scotia Joining Confederation

“I would take every son I have and die on the frontier before I would submit to this outrage.”
That was how strongly Joseph Howe, a Liberal politician, opposed Confederation. Why did he, along with many other Nova Scotians, feel this way? Conversely, a Conservative politician named Charles Tupper was one of the minority who supported Confederation. How did he convince Nova Scotia to join Confederation, even though the majority of the public opposed it? I’m going to be investigating whether Nova Scotia joining Confederation was beneficial or not.

I chose this topic because of my interest in Nova Scotia’s history and how it came to be one of the four founding provinces of Canada, along with New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec (at the time known as Canada West and Canada East). I was very curious as to why Nova Scotia joined Canada, even though most Nova Scotians were opposed to it at the time. I wanted to learn more about Joseph Howe and Charles Tupper, the two main figures in Nova Scotia’s journey to join Confederation.

For some of my primary resources, I visited the Nova Scotia Archives. For my secondary sources, I explored a variety of websites including the Canadian Encyclopedia and Historica Canada. I also viewed various videos and books including At the Ocean’s Edge by Margaret Conrad.

The Province of Canada (composed of Canada West and Canada East, present-day Ontario and Quebec, respectively) was a British colony in North America from 1841-1867. At the time, Nova Scotia was not part of the Province of Canada. Since the earliest days, the people in Nova Scotia always had a strong sense of independence. It was the first colony in British North America (BNA) to have achieved responsible government: a form of democratic self-rule. By the 1860s, Nova Scotia was home to at least 331 000 people and was thriving thanks to shipbuilding, farming, fishing, and trade. But it faced a huge decision: should it remain independent, or join the proposed Dominion of Canada?

Ever since 1854-1862, the idea of a Maritime Union was being considered and discussed by
the Nova Scotia legislature. It would be a restoration of unity for Nova Scotia since prior to 1784, both New Brunswick and PEI were part of Nova Scotia. Charles Tupper (a member of the Nova Scotia Conservative party) and other members of the assembly felt that the union would erase artificial political barriers among the colonies. Talks of Maritime Union developed into the idea of joining Confederation.

Confederation would benefit the whole country in many ways. It included better military
protection, new markets (to make railway companies more profitable), and to help people settle land in the west. For Nova Scotia, that meant better security against the possibility of an American invasion. It would receive a more secure economic future due to a larger domestic market for Nova Scotia trade goods. Nova Scotia would also be able to trade more easily with Canada. Most importantly, the federal government would build and pay for a large extent of a national railway linking the Atlantic colonies to the growing markets of Ontario and Quebec.

Charles Tupper was a doctor and Conservative politician who advocated for Confederation. He believed that Confederation would strengthen Nova Scotia’s commercial sector and supply them with greater influence in Canada and the British empire. As he said in a landmark speech in 1860, “British America, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, would in a few years exhibit to the world a great and powerful organization.” Tupper thought Nova Scotia’s “inexhaustible mines” and its strategic “geographical position” could become “a vast manufacturing mart for this side of the Atlantic.”

Joseph Howe was a journalist and a Liberal politician who opposed Confederation. He thought Nova Scotia was better off on its own rather than being ignored and under-represented in a larger country. He stressed the geographic and cultural distance from Canada West (Ontario) and Canada East (Quebec) to Nova Scotia. As he questioned in the Halifax Chronicle, “Did anybody ever propose to unite Scotland with Poland or Hungary? Inland countries 800 miles off in the very heart of Europe.” He likened this to Nova Scotia’s situation.

In Nova Scotia, Confederation was popular in the northern areas of the mainland and in Cape Breton. In the South Shore and the Annapolis Valley, the idea seemed unappealing and even dangerous. Before joining Confederation, many Maritmiers believed that their region had unlimited economic potential. Most Nova Scotians lived in prosperous communities and saw little benefit in joining Confederation. They did not have much in common with the Province of Canada.

Nova Scotia had always been focused on the sea (due to its enormous shipping fleet) and its relations with Great Britain. Opposition to Confederation was based on the belief that Nova Scotia was a maritime community with a natural similarity to Britain and historical ties with New England. Confederation meant restructuring its commercial life towards the interior of the continent, an unappealing idea for those whose success relied on international commerce and the sailing ship.

The Atlantic colonies (Newfoundland, New Brunsick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I.) were more
satisfied with their current situation than Canada West (present-day Ontario) and saw no reason to change their constitution just because Canada outgrew its own. On top of that, the amount of money the new federal government would transfer to the colonies seemed inadequate. Nova Scotia wasn’t very familiar with the other colonies. If Nova Scotia joined Confederation, it was at risk of losing its free trade with the U.S.

On March 28, 1864, Charles Tupper (the provincial secretary) moved a resolution in the Nova Scotia House Assembly in favor of Maritime Union. Representatives led by Tupper were strong supporters of the move, although the general public didn’t share that sentiment. The Nova Scotian delegates led by Tupper to the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences in 1864 agreed to bring Nova Scotia into Confederation, regardless of the overwhelming popular opposition. When Tupper was premier of Nova Scotia in 1866, he used his government’s majority in the colonial legislature to pass the terms of Confederation. Against the general will of the public, the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly approved the move to join Confederation.

From December 4, 1866 to March 1867, politicians from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) met with representatives of the British
government in London to review and revise the Quebec Resolutions (72 points that were settled upon in Quebec City). This became the fundamental framework of the British North America Act, now called the Constitution Act. This act was then passed by the British Parliament and approved by Queen Victoria on March 29, 1867. On July 1st, 1867, the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunsick were officially declared the Dominion of Canada.

After Confederation was passed, protesters in Halifax burned a model of Tupper along with a live rat. In Yarmouth, they protested by covering some buildings with black cloth. For two years, beginning in the autumn of 1867, Nova Scotian anti-Confederationists were led by Howe to repeal the union. They traveled to London to have the British North America Act overturned, but the best they could acquire was a promise to have Ottawa reconsider proposed tariff and fisheries policies. To make matters worse, the British government confirmed its commitment to Confederation in 1868, deeply disappointing Howe and his followers. In 1869 when Howe finally accepted the inevitable, agreeing to join Sir John A. Macdonald’s government in return for an increased provincial subsidy, the anti-Confederation protest collapsed.

At the time, Nova Scotia was economically flourishing. In the short term, it would be fine if it
didn’t join Confederation. But in the long term when its money dried up, it would have no one to rely on for income. Ever since it joined Confederation, Nova Scotia is paid to balance out what all the provinces earn. Ontario makes significantly more money than Nova Scotia, so the federal government pays Nova Scotia more to equalize it. According to a CMHC survey in 2016, in the District of Lunenburg (Nova Scotia), the average household income after taxes is $59 939, while in Central Scarborough (Ontario) it is $64 507.

During thirteen long years of deliberation (from 1854-1867), there were countless doubts in
joining Confederation. Many were worried that Nova Scotia would be ignored and under-represented, that it might lose free trade with the U.S, and that it shared little in common with and was not familiar with the other colonies. Others thought the amount of money the government would provide them with would be inadequate, the geographical distance between Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada was very far, and that reorientation of commercial life towards the interior of the continent seemed unsettling.

However, there were also numerous advantages to joining Confederation. The alliance would offer better military protection, union of the maritime provinces, a national railway, an increased provincial subsidy, and many new markets for Nova Scotia trade goods. Additional benefits included helping to improve the economy, being able to trade more easily with Canada, and erasing artificial political barriers.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that Nova Scotia did end up benefiting from Confederation. Due to Charles Tupper’s persistence and determination to join Confederation, we are now one of the thirteen provinces/territories of Canada. Without him, we probably would not have been where we are today: part of a beautiful and strong country.

The Fatal Flu – Exploring the Influenza Pandemic from 1918-1920


“There was misery everywhere, and no cure or preventative vaccine.” That was how one news article described the influenza pandemic from 1918-1920. It was one of the worst pandemics in history, killing around 50 000 Canadians and 20-100 million people worldwide.

I chose this topic because I was interested in learning more about the 1918 influenza pandemic. I wanted to know how severe the symptoms were and what we can learn from this pandemic. I found my primary source documents on the Government of Canada website. The majority of my secondary sources were online websites, but I also watched a few videos.

The “Spanish Flu” that wasn’t Spanish

The 1918 influenza pandemic was caused by an H1N1 virus that contained genes from the
avian flu. “Flu” is an abbreviation for Influenza. Another common inaccurate name you will see is the “Spanish Flu”. The Spanish part of the name came from WWI media censorship. Spain was neutral during the war, so their press was free to report on the cases of the 1918 flu. The governments of countries like Canada and the U.S. didn’t want to discourage their troops that were fighting overseas in WWI, so they didn’t want their press to report on this.
The place where the 1918 flu pandemic originated from is still unknown, but there are a few
presumed places. An example is a former U.S. army camp in Kansas called Camp Funston. The soldiers at Camp Funston somehow contracted the disease and spread it while making their way to other bases and carrying the flu with them. Some other presumed places of origin are France, China, Britain, or the U.S.

How the 1918 flu pandemic spread in Canada

Soldiers returned home from WW1 carrying the 1918 flu pandemic back with them to the cities of Halifax, Québec City, and Montréal. The 1918 flu pandemic also spread by train, waterways, and roads to other parts of Canada. Many of the soldiers survived the war only to return to Canada and die from contracting the 1918 flu. However, most didn’t die directly from the flu, they were weakened by the flu then succumbed to another illness such as pneumonia. The 1918 flu pandemic tended to kill the young, mostly between the ages of 20-40, while COVID-19 tends to target seniors, especially those who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular disease. The 1918 flu pandemic eventually ended because the people who were infected had died and most people had developed immunity by then. The 1918 flu never really went away, it just got less severe.

In Nova Scotia, the 1918 flu pandemic came by fishing boat. Then, a few days later, a ship
carrying 500 American soldiers who had already contracted influenza arrived in Sydney, Cape Breton. On the 23rd of September, the first case was reported in Yarmouth. That was when the 1918 flu pandemic really started spreading to the South Shore. By September 26th, there were several outbreaks on ships along the Halifax Harbor.

The three waves happened at different times across Canada. Out of the three waves of the
1918 flu pandemic across Canada, the second wave killed the most people due to an extremely deadly variant of H1N1. In Nova Scotia, the first wave happened in the spring of 1918. The second wave was from the fall of 1918 to the wintertime of 1919, and the third wave was from January to April of 1920. Ontario’s three waves were fairly similar except for the third, which occurred from winter to early spring of 1919.

The measures that were imposed

The measures put in place by the municipal and federal governments are much like the
restrictions that are in place during today’s COVID-19 pandemic. There was masking, closing of non-essential services, quarantines, delaying events and more. In Regina, you could even be fined for coughing or sneezing in public! What made the 1918 flu pandemic even worse was the fact that there were no effective vaccines developed during that time to help protect communities. Governments and communities had to count on the individuals living there to follow the measures to stop the spread. They would have to wait until 1933 to finally figure out only one of the first steps to making a flu vaccine! In my research, I came across a picture of a Red Cross nurse wearing a mask in a newspaper that said: “Avoid those that cough and sneeze, stay at home if you have a cold, and don’t visit poorly ventilated places.” Sound familiar?

How the 1918 flu pandemic changed Canada’s healthcare system

The 1918 flu pandemic had a tremendous impact on healthcare around the world and here at home. Some hardest hit places in Canada were, Labrador, Québec, and First Nations Reserves. Did you know that the sole reason the Department of Health was founded in Canada was due to the 1918 flu pandemic? Safety measures were developed to better prevent other pandemics from becoming too widespread and deadly. The first federal minister of health was Newton Wesley Rowell. It also highlighted a dependency on physician care versus nursing care which was taken care of by expanding general healthcare. Healthcare was made more accessible to the general public and safety measures were developed to better prevent other pandemics from becoming too widespread and deadly.

The Significance of the flu pandemic

Canada’s economy suffered during the 1918 flu pandemic. Back then, there was no such thing as working from home, so many families struggled because they found themselves unable to make an income due to workplace closures and/or the death of their main wage earner.

In terms of social impacts, as part of the safety measures, most (if not all) workplaces or
businesses were closed. Imagine what social effect not being able to attend school had on many school-aged children/teens! According to Wiley Online Library, after the 1918 flu pandemic, some individuals developed trust issues that they passed down through generations.

Parallel Pandemics

The 1918 flu pandemic and COVID-19 are pretty similar to each other in the sense that they’re both pandemics, but they have more in common than just that. They both started out as epidemics then quickly became pandemics, because of how quickly they spread to other communities and places in the world. The 1918 flu pandemic’s symptoms were arguably the worst out of the two. Most patients who died directly from the 1918 flu pandemic died from lack of oxygen to the blood, or from bloody fluid entering their lungs. Some of the symptoms were a sudden and sometimes very high fever, delirium, and fatigue. As for COVID-19’s symptoms – it comes from the coronavirus family, which tends to cause respiratory symptoms, including a cough (usually dry), difficulty breathing, chest pains, and loss of taste and smell.

Both COVID-19 and the 1918 flu pandemic spread to Canada through travel. But while the
1918 flu pandemic was brought back by soldiers returning from WWI, COVID-19 was brought back to Canada from people traveling to Canada from Wuhan, China and other regions abroad. Both diseases spread quickly across Canada in the early stages of spread. Later on, safety measures were put in place for both pandemics. Although these safety measures weren’t very effective for stopping the spread of the 1918 flu pandemic, they were more effective for COVID-19. Measures like wearing masks, social distancing, and quarantining were soon imposed along with several others.

One of the major differences between the 1918 flu pandemic and COVID-19 is that the
economic impacts of COVID-19 weren’t as bad as those of the 1918 flu pandemic due to the technological advancements we have today, such as being able to work from home. Another huge difference is that we developed vaccines early on. As a result, 81.02% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated and 46.45% of Canadians are fully vaccinated with a booster. Compared to the 1918 flu pandemic where there was no effective vaccine developed during that time.


The 1918 flu pandemic and COVID-19 is a critical example of how we can learn from history,
especially under the current pandemic situation. During my time researching and writing this report, I have learned many things such as: the 1918 pandemic revolutionized Canada’s
healthcare system, we suffered significant loss in terms of business and economy, and one of the similarities for both the pandemics is that both diseases were transmitted through traveling. However, the stark difference was that for COVID-19 we developed effective vaccines within a year, while for the 1918 flu pandemic effective vaccines weren’t developed until after the pandemic ended in 1920. We still have a lot to learn from history and the 1918 flu pandemic is just one of those instances that we can learn from.

Canada Day

O Canada

O Canada is the national anthem of Canada. It was composed (written) in 1880 by Calixa Lavallée. However, the song was originally written in French. The first time O Canada was heard in English was in 1901 when schoolchildren sang it for King George V and Queen Mary when they were touring Canada in 1901. Five years later, the Toronto company Whaley and Royce published the music with the French text and a translation into English by Dr. Thomas Bedford Richardson. Around this time, the Mendelssohn Choir used Richardson’s lyrics in one of their performances, and Judge Routhier and the French press complimented the author. However, this version of O Canada is not the one we hear today. Later, in 1908, the Collier’s Weekly magazine held a competition to see who could write new English lyrics for O Canada. The winner was Mercy E. Powell McCulloch, but her version wasn’t the one we hear today and never took off. Since then, there have been many different versions of O Canada in English. A version written by Ewing Buchan became the most popular patriotic song on the West Coast, but it’s still not the one we hear today. The most popular version was written in 1908 by Robert Stanley Weir, a lawyer and Recorder of the City of Montréal. A slightly modified version of the 1908 poem was published in an official form for the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation in 1927 and gradually became the most widely accepted and performed version of this song in English-speaking Canada. The French lyrics of 1880 remain unchanged. This version is the one we hear today. In 2018, The part “True patriot love in all thy sons command” was changed to “True patriot love in all of us command”. There was no change needed to the French version.

History of Canada Day

When the British North America Act came into effect on July 1st, 1867, it created the country of Canada with its four original provinces (Hayday, 2017). These provinces were Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia (Hayday, 2017). In June 1868, Governor General Charles Stanley Monck tried to make a celebration of the anniversary of Confederation on July 1st (Hayday, 2017). While several communities did organize celebrations on this day, the legal status of Dominion Day as a public holiday wasn’t very certain (Hayday, 2017). In May 1869, a bill to make Dominion Day a public holiday was debated in the House of Commons (Hayday, 2017). It was withdrawn after several members of Parliament voiced objections (Hayday, 2017). However, a more successful effort was sponsored by Senator Robert Carrall from British Columbia, who passed through Parliament in 1879, making Dominion Day a public holiday (Hayday, 2017). 

What is Canada Day?

Canada Day is the national day of Canada. It celebrates the anniversary of Confederation, the day Canada was formed. Canada Day is celebrated on July 1st. It was originally called Dominion Day. Canada Day is often referred to as Canada’s birthday. It is celebrated throughout the country with various traditions.

This was the first flag of Canada

This flag was here since the 1870s

After a new flag was requested, these were the runner-ups

This flag is meant to symbolize hope and peace

Canada today

Canada at Confederation in 1867

This is the presentation of Canada Day

We all come together to form Canada

Canada Day – The National Holiday of Canada

The Politics of Canada

Have a look through the images below to read this presentation!

The Secrets of Our Ocean: What the Halifax Harbour Tells Us About Our History

Photo 1

Description for Photo 1: Poster Introduction

The Halifax Harbour

As one of the largest and deepest natural harbours in the world, the Halifax Harbour has a rich and intriguing history with many achievements. Not only is it the home of North America’s first navy dockyard, but it also opened North America’s first saltwater ferry service and its first yacht club. The harbour’s location has made Halifax an excellent entrance into North America for shippers of goods and settlers from other countries. From 1928 to 1971, the famous Pier 21 on the Halifax Harbour was a gateway to Canada for over 1 million immigrants. In 1917, the harbour experienced the Halifax Explosion, the world’s largest man-made accidental explosion, killing 2,000 people, injuring 9,000, and destroying 325 acres of land. It is also the site of many shipwrecks of boats from all over the world. 

Although there is a lot we know about our harbour, there is still a lot we have yet to discover. What lies beneath its ocean floor? And what does it tell us about our history?

Discovering Pieces of our History

In 2013, my stepfather, Colin Morrell, was working at the Irving Shipyard in the Halifax Harbour. He is the Senior Vice President of Research and Development at CleanEarth Technologies. His company was digging up contaminated soil in the ocean floor so that it could be cleaned. While digging, they discovered something unusual. There were many old artifacts in the ocean floor! There was a cannonball, some old bottles, a coin we do not use anymore, and more. This got me curious: What are these objects? When and where are they from? How did they get to our Harbour? And what do they tell us about our history.

The Artifacts

I wanted to find out more about these artifacts, so I interviewed a local archaeologist, Dr. Katie Cottreau-Robins. Dr. Cottreau-Robins is the Archaeology Curator at the Museum of Natural History in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As an archaeologist, she studies artifacts, which are human made objects, such as tools, art, and clothing. Artifacts help us to learn about our past by giving us clues on how people lived in a certain time and place and about their culture.

Photo 2

Description for Photo 2: Artifacts

Nova Scotia Halfpenny Token

The first artifact is a very worn-down coin that I did not recognize. Dr. Cottreau-Robins was able to identify it as a Nova Scotia halfpenny based on some of its features that could still be seen—the face profile of a British monarch on the front, part of a thistle on the back, and some letters on both sides. She said that it is made of copper, which breaks down easily in our acidic soil and salt water. The Nova Scotia halfpenny was used during the 1810s to the late 1850s. This was shortly before the Confederation of Canada, when some provinces came together to form Canada. Although they were only half of a penny back in the 1800s, they are now worth between $3.00 to $13.50 depending on the quality of the coin and how much it is worn down. That’s worth 600 to 2,700 times more!

I did some research and I was able to find a Nova Scotia halfpenny that looks almost identical to mine! The coin from the internet is from 1832 and has George IV on the front. He was the king of Great Britain from 1820-1830. You might be wondering: Why would a king of Great Britain be on a Nova Scotian coin? That is because British settlers founded Halifax in 1749 when they came here to set up colonies where they would live under British rule. By then, the Mi’kmaq had lived here for thousands of years and some of their land was taken. There were also French settlers who lived here, known as Acadians, who were forced by the British to leave and go live elsewhere. 


The next artifact is a cannonball! It is made of iron and has two big dents from being worn down over time and possibly hitting into things. Dr. Cottreau-Robins said that cannonballs were used between the 1600s and 1800s. She spoke with another local archaeologist, Kevin Robins, who specializes in military history. He said that cannonballs are often classified by weight, meaning that the weight can tell you what kind of cannon or gun it was used with. Based on the small size of my cannonball, it was most likely used with a deck gun or a light field cannon that you can move around. Cannonballs sometimes have identifying marks on them that can tell you what country they are from, but mine does not have that. Over time, cannonballs have also become heavier, meaning the lighter it is the older it is. It also makes sense that cannonballs would be found in our harbour because Halifax has been an important military port for hundreds of years.

Musket Ball 

The next artifact is a musket ball. Musket balls are like bullets for really old guns called muskets. They are small but heavy and are made of lead. Early versions of muskets were really long and heavy, about 1.5m long and 20lbs. Over time, they became smaller and lighter. Dr. Cottreau-Robins said that muskets were often used in Halifax back in the early 1600s to late 1800s by the military and for hunting. They were introduced to people in Nova Scotia by European settlers who came here.

Stoneware Bottles

The next artifacts are two ceramic stoneware bottles. The bottles were made by two Halifax companies– Felix J. Quinn and W.H. Donovan. Felix J. Quinn is actually a settler from Europe! Dr. Cottreau-Robins said that these bottles are from the 1800s to early 1900s and were used for bottling ginger beer and other sodas. They would have been made in batches using molds. Since the founding of Halifax by the British in the mid-1800s, ships would often travel in and out of our harbour so that goods, like these drinks, could be traded with others. Dr. Cottreau-Robins said that these drinks would have been traded with people from other Atlantic provinces during that period of time.


Another one of the artifacts is a piece of ceramic dishware. I really was not sure what this was, so I showed it to Dr. Cottreau-Robins. She said that based on the smooth inside of the cup shape and the broken stem, it was likely an egg holder that was part of a set with other dishware. She believes that it is most likely from the late 1800s to early 1900s. She said that this type of dishware is called refined white earthenware with a brown transfer print pattern. The pattern on the egg holder would have been made by hand sketching a pattern that is then printed onto tissue paper using ink. The paper is then cut to the right size to fit the dishware and then pressed onto the pottery before putting it in the kiln to set it. It is done by hand. She said that dishware like this was often made in Great Britain at that time and then shipped to Halifax for trade. She said that local shops in Halifax would put notices in the newspaper to say when British ships were coming so that people could come to their shop to buy their goods.

US Navy Spoon

The last artifact is a spoon with “U.S.N.” engraved on the handle. According to Dr. Cottreau-Robins, the initials stand for United States Navy. She said that the spoon is fairly modern and is from the 1900s. These spoons are made of stainless steel and are common silverware on US Navy boats. Since the American Revolution in the 1700s, the United States and Canada have been close allies and have the largest trading partnership in the world. Goods and people can easily cross between the two borders, which helps the economy of both countries. Because of their close trading relationship, US Navy ships can often be found in our ports.

Photo 3

Description for Photo 3: Old Halifax

Tying It All Together

When I started this project, I was really curious about the objects that were found in the Halifax Harbour, and what they could tell us about our history. After working on this project, I have learned a lot about our past and I am now able to answer those questions. The objects that were found in our harbour can tell us a lot about where we have come from. Artifacts like mine tell us how the people of Halifax lived at different points in time and tell us about our culture. Because of this project, I now know how the Mi’kmaq were here for thousands of years before the Europeans came over and took control of our land. The Europeans set up communities, businesses, military bases, currency, and traditions. They made and traded lots of goods that got shipped to and from other provinces and countries. This has all helped shape the Halifax we know today. This information really helped me learn about our past, and hopefully you learned something as well. Now next time you find an old object, I hope you will take a minute to think about its history too!

Photo Credit: Black and white photo of the Halifax Harbour in 1965.

(© Halifax Photo Service Ltd.)

%d bloggers like this: