Heritage Walk - Marlborough Woods

This web page is a supplement to the interpretive panel on Beaufort Avenue just north of the Marlborough Woods rail bridge. It lists the sources of panel content and provides source materials where available. It also provides additional background resources and covers additional themes where applicable. If you have any corrections or additions, please email: greenway_hfx@yahoo.com.

Long-time Marlborough Woods resident Janet Chute is the authority on the history of the neighbourhood. Several of her published articles and paper on the subject are reproduced or summarized below.

Articles, Papers and Thesis

Primary Sources

  • City Engineer's 1909 report to City Council - recommends acceptance of Marlborough Woods park and access road (HRM Archives City of Halifax Council Submissions, 1909 - 102-1Bv.10#210)

  • John Regan's "Sketches and Traditions of the Northwest Arm" (full text freely available from the UofT archives - download extract here) describes Marlborough Woods in 1908, just before the drastic changes brought about by the addition of the rail cut.

A Wartime Neighbourhood Tragedy

Stephen Kimber's e-book "Marlborough Woods Mystery" [Kindle edition on Amazon.ca] [Kobo edition, Chapters/Indigo] tells the true story of a 1943 apparent murder-suicide in the Woods, with hints of an international spying connection:

"On the night of December 1, 1943, Frank Johnson, a Commander in the Royal Navy, returned to his Halifax base after an urgent train trip to New York where he'd visit his wife. She was in hospital there in a coma after what had been described as a tragic car accident. Arriving at his Marlborough Woods home around midnight, Johnson spent the night burning documents in his fireplace. After that… well, that's when things got interesting."

Belmont Estate

The Marlborough Woods subdivision was created from the 90-acre Belmont estate:

  • Heather Watts and Michele Raymond's book: "Halifax's Northwest Arm - An Illustrated History" (Amazon.ca - Chapters/Indigo website is the definitive modern, attractively-illustrated treatment of the Northwest Arm and the estates, including Belmont, which once lined it.

    The Watts/Raymond also briefly treats Winwick, also once part of Belmont, then a separate estate and residence of long-time Nova Scotia Premier Angus L. McDonald, now a subdivision accessed from today's Marlborough Woods.

  • This second extract from Regan's book recounts the land sales, beginning in 1774, that resulted in the assembly of the Belmont estate. Joseph Howe's father was one of a number of notable purchasers.

  • This summary of the Regan sections on Oaklands and Belmont includes maps showing the boundaries of the two estates.

Thanks to all who contributed to the Halifax Urban Greenway Heritage Walk project:

  • Leonard Preyra for his initial suggestion and ongoing encouragement thereafter
  • The Northwest Arm Heritage Association for its letter of support for HUGA’s funding application to government
  • Garry Shutlak at Nova Scotia Archives for his assistance in locating resource materials and for his review of panels content
  • Rob, Peter and Leonard of Terra Marine Environmental Ltd. for the retrieval and placement of the stones forming the bases for the panel installations
  • Claudia Mannion for the Halifax Urban Greenway Heritage Walk logo.
  • Adam and Jenna at Eyecandy Signs for the design and production of the interpretive panels
  • Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage for its funding of 75 percent of project costs
  • The Halifax Regional Trails Association for the awarding of the remaining 25 percent of project costs from its HRM capital allocation

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