Nova Scotia Archives

Halifax and Its People / 1749-1999

Education and Institutions

The Church of England's quaintly-named Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts sponsored the first schools in Halifax, soon after the founding of the community. In 1789, the Halifax Grammar School opened, intended to provide higher education for children of the well-to-do. Over the following decades, various private and church-sponsored schools — all of them requiring the payment of some kind of fees for most pupils — came and went in the city, prior to the Free School Acts of 1864 and 1865. In the latter year, 700 children attended city schools.

Addressing the Halifax City Board of School Commissioners in 1866, Dr. T.H. Rand, the Superintendent of Education, complained that there were still serious problems within the local system:

At present most of the schools in the city are merely miscellaneous gatherings. In the same room may not infrequently be heard the alphabet class and the class in the higher departments of English grammar, the class in Addition and the class in Exchange or Alligation; in short, the pupils throughout the city are not as a whole, pursuing a systematic course of instruction. Every teacher is pursuing his own course. If he prefers geography to grammar, or arithmetic to reading, the pupils under his charge will be found partaking of the same one-sidedness; their scholarship will lack symmetry; it will, in fine, be mere half-work."

The Superintendent concluded with his vision for public education in Halifax: "The system of schools I propose for the city embraces a series of ascending grades, having accommodation for 5,000 pupils or over, at the outset; and a prescribed course of instruction adapted to each step in the series, covering a period of eleven or twelve years." Three years later, some 5,065 students were enrolled in Halifax's 21 public schools.

A combined school and orphanage was started in the city as early as 1750. In subsequent years, various specialized institutions were established throughout the city and surrounding area: St. Joseph's Orphanage, the Home of the Guardian Angel, the Protestant Orphanage, the Halifax Infants' Home, the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, the Halifax Industrial School and St. Patrick's Home. The School for the Deaf was opened on Gottingen Street in 1857 and the School for the Blind on Morris Street began in 1871. Under the leadership of Sir Charles Frederick Fraser from 1873 to 1923, the number of students attending the School for the Blind increased and the facilities were greatly improved. The school and its magnificent gardens occupied an entire city block and remained a landmark until their demolition ca. 1983.

Halifax Regional Municipality currently has a wide variety of post-secondary learning institutions: the Atlantic School of Theology, Dalhousie University and DalTech (formerly the Technical University of Nova Scotia), Mount Saint Vincent University, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, St. Mary's University, The University of King's College, and three Nova Scotia Community College campuses (the Halifax Campus and the Institute of Technology Campus in Halifax and the I.W. Akerley Campus in Dartmouth).

Results 1 to 9 of 9 from your search: Education and Institutions

"Protestant Orphans' Home, North Park Street, Halifax, N.S., May 1874"

Date: May 1874

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives 1987-265 no. 5

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"Industrial School, Quinpool Road, Halifax", ca. 1880

Date: ca. 1880

Photographer: W. Chase

Reference: United Church of Canada. Committee on Archives Nova Scotia Archives 1975-194 no. 24

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"Halifax Med. College", ca. 1890

Date: ca. 1890

Reference: United Church of Canada. Committee on Archives Nova Scotia Archives 1975-194 no. 19

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Students learning sign language, 1893

Date: 1893

Photographer: Gauvin & Gentzel

Reference: School for the Hearing Handicapped Nova Scotia Archives 1990-205

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"Grade 1, LeMarchant St. School, 1899, teacher Miss Edith Cunningham"

Date: 1899

Reference: Judith Piers Nova Scotia Archives 1980-154

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"Evening Technical Class, Bookkeeping, Halifax, N.S. Instructor standing is Geo. H. Holder, Monday, Feb. 27th, 1911"

Date: 27 February 1911

Photographer: Climo

Reference: Jean Holder Nova Scotia Archives 1980-195 no. 17

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Halifax School for the Blind: Girls' Manual Training Class Engaged in Machine Sewing, Chair Caning, Weaving, Basketry, Needlepoint and Knitting, 1921

Date: 1921

Reference: Halifax School for the Blind Nova Scotia Archives 1992-320 no. 16

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"Opening of Colored Orphans' Home, Preston", 6 June 1921

Date: 6 June 1921

Photographer: attributed to Helen Creighton

Reference: Helen Creighton Nova Scotia Archives 1987-178 album 12 no. 26-27

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Kindergarten and Grade One, St. Thomas Aquinas School, Halifax, 15 October 1948

Date: 15 October 1948

Photographer: E.A. Bollinger

Reference: E.A. Bollinger Nova Scotia Archives 1975-305 1984 no. 4852-4

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