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March 1, 1840
March 1, 1977
March 2, 1939
March 2, 1835
March 3, 1815
March 3, 1841
March 4, 1885
March 5, 1930
March 5, 1915
March 6, 1947
March 7, 1956
March 7, 1889
March 8, 2013
March 8, 1991
March 9, 1997
March 10, 1885
March 11, 1936
March 12, 2013
March 12, 1876
March 13, 2017
March 13, 1828
March 14, 2017
March 14, 1840
March 15, 1932
March 15, 1952
March 16, 1872
March 17, 2010
March 18, 1819
March 19, 1920
March 19, 1750
March 19, 1842
March 20, 1804
March 22, 2017
March 22, 1929
March 23, 1752
March 24, 1998
March 25, 1993
March 26, 1973
March 26, 1921
March 26, 1751
March 27, 1945
March 28, 1966
March 28, 1940
March 29, 1867
March 29, 1973
March 30, 1776
March 30, 2012
March 30, 1832
March 31, 1713
March 31, 1853
March 31, 1905

March 1, 1840

Alexander MacLean Sinclair was born in Glen Bard, Antigonish County. He became a Presbyterian minister, author, educator and Gaelic scholar. While he served as a minister in the community of Belfast, Prince Edward Island (1888–1906), he self-published several books on indigenous Gaelic culture in Nova Scotia filled with song, lore and culture. He later retired back to Nova Scotia, where he lectured on Gaelic language and culture at St. Francis Xavier and Dalhousie universities. One of his students, Angus L. Macdonald, later became premier of...
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March 1, 1977

Prime Minister John George Diefenbaker addressed the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.
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March 2, 1939

March 2, 1939

The Queen Hotel fire on Hollis Street claimed twenty-eight lives and injured many more. The hotel had been built in sections between 1849 and 1908. There were no alarm or sprinkler systems. (Photo credit: The Queen Hotel fire. N.S. Archives.)
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March 2, 1835

March 2, 1835

The trial of Joseph Howe (age thirty-one) was held in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court Chambers (later, the NS Legislative Library). Writing about the incompetence and self-interested graft happening among local political elites, he was charged with seditious libel. The six-and-aquarter-hour trial witnessed Howe as he represented himself before a jury, and cited case after case of civic corruption. Judge Brenton Halliburton presided. He instructed the jury to find Howe guilty, but the jurors thought otherwise and found Howe innocent. In part of his defence Howe...
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March 3, 1815

Peace between United States and Great Britain was proclaimed in Halifax.
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March 3, 1841

St. Mary’s College was incorporated by an Act of Legislature. It would later become Saint Mary’s University.
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March 4, 1885

The Nile Voyageurs returned to Halifax on the Hanoverian. The Voyageurs had participated in the Nile Expedition to the Sudan to rescue British-Egyptian garrisons cut off by a Muslim uprising led by the Mahdi. The Voyageurs numbered 386 men and officers, of whom 374 returned.
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March 5, 1930

March 5, 1930

The mace, gift of Chief Justice Robert E. Harris and Mrs. Harris, was used for the first time in the Nova Scotia Legislature. An ancient symbol of royal authority, it was delegated in Nova Scotia to the House of Assembly under the responsibility of the Speaker of the House. The power of the Crown is represented in the ceremonial mace, and when the House is in session, the mace, the Speaker’s authority to conduct the business of the House, is always present on...
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March 5, 1915

Henry D. Hicks was born in Bridgetown in the Annapolis Valley (d. 1990). He served as premier from 1954 to 1956. He was first elected as a Liberal from Annapolis County in 1945, and was later defeated by Robert Stanfield’s Progressive Conservatives. He became president of Dalhousie University in 1963, serving till 1980.
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March 6, 1947

March 6, 1947

The gypsum freighter Novadoc, sailing from Deep Brook, Annapolis County, for Staten Island, New York, was lost at sea. The last message heard from the ship was a distress call at 2:17 a.m. on March 3, that reported they were foundering in heavy seas about twenty-five miles off Portland, Maine, with their hatches and bulkhead badly damaged. After a prolonged search, no trace of the ship or her twenty-four crew was ever found (including thirteen Nova Scotians)....
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March 7, 1956

March 7, 1956

The Nova Scotia tartan was registered at the Court of the Lord Lyon. “The Nova Scotia Tartan was the first provincial tartan in Canada. It reflects the profound contribution of the Scots to the founding of Nova Scotia, and the pioneer settlement of the old Royal Province. The very name Nova Scotia resounds with early Scottish colonial ambition; in Jacobean Latin it meant New Scotland. Being one among many large groups of settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Scots...
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March 7, 1889

Clifford Rose was born. He became a self-educated carpenter, but by 1925 he was appointed the municipal temperance inspector for the town of New Glasgow. He wrote a diary of his reflections and the manuscript is considered a valuable historical document on the prohibition period in Canada and Nova Scotia. But not all his writings were about chasing the “demon rum.” Writing on October 9, 1927, about one of his trips,“Had a beautiful drive today through West River...
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March 8, 2013

Billy Downey died (b. 1934). He was employed for forty years as a porter/conductor for the Canadian National Railway/Via Rail. He was also the well-known owner (with brother, Graham) of the Arrows Night Club in Halifax — known as “the soul centre of the Maritimes,” and for breaking down the barriers of segregation and providing a venue for world-class performers to play in the city from 1962 to 1979. The club opened first on Creighton Street, moving later...
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March 8, 1991

Nina Cohen (née Fried) died in Toronto (b. Glace Bay, March 17, 1907). She was a well-known community activist from Glace Bay who “dedicated herself to many social reform and cultural causes throughout the province from the 1930s–70s.” She was also a founding member of the Miners’ Folk Society in 1964 (with sixty charter members), and the Cape Breton Miner’s Museum, “. . . in the face of considerable skepticism.” She received the Canadian Red Cross Medal of...
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March 9, 1997

March 9, 1997

Montreal-born jazz pianist Joe Sealy won a Juno award for his CD of original music, Africville Suite (1996). It includes twelve pieces reflecting on places and activities in Africville, where Sealy’s father was born. Sealy was working and living in Halifax during the time of the destruction of Africville, and began the suite in memory of his father. (Photo: Joe Sealy).
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March 10, 1885

March 10, 1885

Bellevue House, residence of British military commanders on Spring Garden Road, was destroyed by fire. The land on which it stood was originally purchased in 1800 by the Duke of Kent, who had commanded the British forces in North America from Halifax. Built in 1801, it was described as an “almost palatial residence.” It also hosted members of the royal family during visits to the colony. After Bellevue House burned down it was rebuilt. Its replacement was...
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March 11, 1936

March 11, 1936

Artist Tom Forrestall was born in Middleton. He studied art at Mount Allison University under Lawren Harris and Alex Colville, and devoted himself to painting. He would later be considered one of the leading figures in visual arts in the Maritimes, having exhibited extensively throughout the region and in prominent galleries worldwide. (Painting: Island in the Ice, 1987, by Tom Forrestall.)
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March 12, 2013

March 12, 2013

Halifax-based filmmaker, writer and director William D. MacGillivray (b. 1946) won a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for his forty years of filmmaking. MacGillivray won a Gemini Award for Best Motion Picture in 1988 for his film Life Classes. It was also Canada’s official selection in competition for the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival of 1988 (Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck won that year). He produced five other feature films, and wrote and directed a...
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March 12, 1876

March 12, 1876

James Platino Johnston (also referred to as James Robinson Johnston) was born in Halifax (d. March 3, 1915). He became the first black Nova Scotian to graduate from university (Dalhousie), B.LITT in 1896, and an LLB in 1898, and was called to the bar as a lawyer on July 18, 1900, becoming the third black lawyer in Canada. He was the only black to practice law in Nova Scotia before the First World War. Johnston became a criminal defence...
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March 13, 2017

March 13, 2017

The OneNS Measurement Collective officially launched their OneNS Dashboard to provide key online Nova Scotia–based economic and demographic indicators that reflect progress toward “the nineteen Ivany Goals,” which were released in The Report of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy. (Image credit:  OneNS Measurement Collective Poster. OneNS.ca .)
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March 13, 1828

The Novascotian noted the existence of a Society for the Diffusion of General Knowledge in Spanish Town, Jamaica, and the membership there of a Halifax-educated African Nova Scotian, Cuffy Montagu James, who had been educated at Preston (Nova Scotia), “having mastered the alphabet and the rudiments of psalmody.”
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March 14, 2017

March 14, 2017

Eric MacNearney died in Halifax (b. 1930). A well-known businessman and entrepreneur, he was a founding partner in the development of the Halifax Historic Properties, and later the establishment of Truefoam. He was an avid sports enthusiast and voracious reader in all things historical. He wrote in his introduction to Inspired Halifax, The Art of Dusan Kadlec (Nimbus, 2003), “Very few vestiges remain of nineteenth-century life in Halifax and other seaports, but one can relive the past while...
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March 14, 1840

March 14, 1840

A duel between Joseph Howe (age thirty-six) and John Halliburton (age thirty nine) occurred in Point Pleasant Park, near the Martello Tower. Halliburton missed with his shot and Howe fired into the air. The duel was the result of “bitterness spawned by the drive for political reform.” Mr. Halliburton was also the Clerk of the Executive Council and son of the chief justice, Sir Brenton Halliburton, who had presided over Howe’s trial in 1835. (Photo: John...
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March 15, 1932

March 15, 1932

Mi’kmaw poet and songwriter Rita Joe was born in Whycocomagh (d. March 20, 2007). She was referred to as the poet laureate of the Mi’kmaq people. In 1978, her first book of poems, The Poems of Rita Joe, was published by Abanaki Press. She published six more books and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1989, and of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada in 1992. (Photo: Mi'kmaq poet Rita...
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March 15, 1952

HMCS Haida was recommissioned in Halifax — the first Canadian warship under the new reign of the Queen Elizabeth II.
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March 16, 1872

March 16, 1872

Sara Corning was born in Chegoggin, Yarmouth County. Corning trained as a nurse in the United States and joined the American Red Cross during the First World War. In December 1917, she was amongst the first to volunteer to tend the sick and suffering after the Halifax Explosion. In 1921, working for a relief agency, she arrived in a small village at the foot of Mount Ararat in what became Turkey to take charge of an orphanage. In...
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March 17, 2010

The Hockey Hall of Fame installs the puck Sydney Crosby used to score the winning goal in overtime (3–2 Canada over US) at the Vancouver Olympics final game.
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March 18, 1819

The Lottery Bill passed for raising £9,000 to erect a bridge over the Avon River in Windsor.
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March 19, 1920

March 19, 1920

The Annapolis Royal Post Office, seen here after the fire of 1920, was built in 1890. It was designed by Thomas Fuller, chief Dominion architect. Fuller had designed over 140 structures, including the Parliamentary Library and the Halifax Armoury. (Also See After three years, December 31, 1898.). (Photo credit: Annapolis Royal Post Office after fire, March 19, 1920. Annapolis Heritage Society Archives.)
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March 19, 1750

The frame of the first hospital in the new British settlement at Chebucto/Halifax was constructed (on the site which later became the Government House). By 1752, forty-nine patients were recorded.
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March 19, 1842

The Province of Nova Scotia passed an act to provide for the “Instruction and Permanent Settlement of Indians.” Joseph Howe was appointed Indian Agent.
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March 20, 1804

Lieutenant Governor John Wentworth (1737–1820) received orders to seize all Spanish vessels entering Halifax Harbour. Wentworth was the first civilian governor appointed in Nova Scotia, serving from 1792 to 1808. (See also, Sir John Wentworth, April 8, 1820.)
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March 22, 2017

The Cape Breton Liberation Army returned in a new stage musical at the Highland Arts Theatre in Sydney (March 22–30). Inspired by Paul MacKinnon’s Old Trout Funnies, writer and theatre artistic director Wesley Colford wrote The Return of the Cape Breton Liberation Army, set in 2017. The sixteen-person cast featured singing, dancing and brawling.
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March 22, 1929

March 22, 1929

The rum-runner I’m Alone was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico. Registered out of Lunenburg, she was intercepted by the coast guard off Louisiana, returning from Belize with liquor. She disobeyed orders to stop and was shelled and sunk. Seven crew members were rescued and one died. The captain, John ‘Jack’ Randell, was arrested and jailed in New Orleans. The incident drew international attention. (Photo credit: The schooner I'm Alone, based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia -...
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March 23, 1752

March 23, 1752

The Halifax Gazette was published by John Bushell (1715–1761) — the first newspaper in Nova Scotia (and Canada). Bushell arrived in Halifax from Boston in early 1752 to take over a small printing establishment begun by a former Boston partner, Bartholomew Green Jr., who had died shortly after arriving in Halifax. Bushell was a printer first, and lacked newspaper experience. But by 1758, Anthony Henry (1734–1800), a veteran fifer of the British forces at the capture of Louisbourg, took up residency in Halifax and...
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March 24, 1998

Yvonne Atwell became the first African Nova Scotian woman to be elected as an MLA (for the NDP). Born in East Preston, she later wrote, “Social activism is about building a place where no matter what this person does in their life, they’ll never forget what they learned. It’s not like they took some type of training and then left halfway through it — even then, it’s not a failure, because it’s the lessons that you learned...
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March 25, 1993

Radio station CJFX broadcast for the first time from Antigonish. The station was subsequently owned and operated by the Atlantic Broadcasting Co., and branded as 98.9 X-FM.
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March 26, 1973

March 26, 1973

Don Messer died in Halifax (b. 1909). He was leader of Don Messer and His Islanders, an old-time music group — the most popular in Canada during the mid-twentieth century. They had formed in 1939 for CFCY radio in Charlottetown and in the ’50s appeared regularly on CBC-TV Halifax. Eventually they had a national broadcast show, winning a wide audience. When the show was cancelled in 1969 it brought many complaints from viewers and raised questions in the...
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March 26, 1921

March 26, 1921

The Bluenose schooner was launched at Lunenburg. Designed by William J. Roué, it was intended for both fishing and racing. It sailed under the command of Captain Angus Walters during the 1920s and 1930s. (Also see Angus Walters, August 11, 1968; Bluenose, October 26, 1938.) The vessel became a provincial icon for Nova Scotia. While hauling freight near Haiti, the schooner hit a reef and sank in 1946. A replica of the ship, Bluenose II,...
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March 26, 1751

In a conflict prompted by the British move to expand their presence on mainland NS without advance dialogue with the Mi’kmaq treaty partners, the Dartmouth settlement was attacked by Mi’kmaq warriors on three occasions. On March 26, fifteen persons were killed, seven wounded and six were taken prisoner. A further attack on May 13, reported twenty killed. In June another attack occurred, with eight killed and fourteen taken prisoner.
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March 27, 1945

Annie Mae Aquash (Pictou) was born in Indian Brook (Mi’kmaq name Naguset Eask). She later moved to Boston and became involved in the American Indian Movement in the Wounded Knee incident. She disappeared in late 1975, and her body was found in February 1976 on a desolate road near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The cause of her death was covered up, but later evidence and charges came forward. Three men within the American Indian Movement had raped and murdered her with...
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March 28, 1966

Ben Christmas, long-time chief at the Membertou Reserve died (b. 1896). A devout Roman Catholic, he was a highly respected prayer and choir leader. He became chief of his community in 1919 at the age of twenty-three. For a short time he was also president of the North American Indian Brotherhood.
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March 28, 1940

A pilot boat collided with a Newfoundland vessel and sank in the Halifax Harbour, with the loss of nine lives.
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March 29, 1867

Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent to the British North American Act (BNA Act — “An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the Government thereof; and for Purposes connected therewith”). The Act comprised a major part of the Constitution of Canada, and entailed the original creation of a federal dominion and established the framework for much of the operations and structure of the Government of Canada. The BNA Act was renamed the Constitution Act,...
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March 29, 1973

The last United States troops left Vietnam on this day. A peace agreement had been signed in Paris in January, 1973, between the Viet Cong, North and South Vietnam, but fighting continued till the North Vietnamese Army captured Saigon in April, 1975. Some estimates state between 30,000 and 40,000 American war resisters, commonly called draft dodgers, came to Canada between 1971 and 1972. Many settled in Nova Scotia. (Also see: The Vietnamese Association of Nova Scotia, Jan. 14,...
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March 30, 1776

March 30, 1776

As a result of the American War of Independence (also known as the American Revolution, 1775–1783), the British had to evacuate Boston and set sail for Halifax. General Howe’s army began to arrive in Halifax on this day from Boston with 11,000 troops and 1,100 civilians. More arrived on April 1. By 1782–83, 25,000 to 30,000 Loyalists would arrive in Nova Scotia, almost doubling the colony’s population. Over half would move to settle in what became the province of New Brunswick, as well as...
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March 30, 2012

Premier Darrell Dexter revealed the Nova Scotia government committed up to $304 million in loans as part of Irving Shipbuilding’s successful bid for the $25 billion federal combat vessel shipbuilding program.
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March 30, 1832

Bank of Nova Scotia began operations as a chartered public bank (intended to break the monopoly of the privately owned Halifax Banking Company). The original staff consisted of cashier (COO) James Forman, tellers Alexander Paul and Benjamin Carlile, and messenger James Maxwell. William Lawson was the bank’s first president, serving till 1837. (Also see: July 28, 1870).
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March 31, 1713

March 31, 1713

The Treaty of Utrecht ended the War of Spanish Succession, returning mainland Nova Scotia to the British. Île Royale (Cape Breton) was returned to the French. The British renamed Port Royal as Annapolis Royal. The French would later begin building fortifications at Louisbourg. (Photo: The Habitation at Port Royal. Tourism Nova Scotia).
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March 31, 1853

The Nova Scotia Railway Company was incorporated. The railway “. . . received a charter to build railway lines from Halifax to Pictou by way of Truro, as well as from Halifax to Victoria Beach, Nova Scotia, on the Annapolis Basin opposite Digby by way of Windsor. The company also received a charter to build from Truro to the border with New Brunswick. The railway was a key project of the visionary Nova Scotian leader Joseph Howe, who felt a government built railway...
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March 31, 1905

The Royal Navy transferred headquarters of the North American and West Indies Station to Bermuda in preparation for the transfer of the Halifax base to Canada.
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