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Authority record

Regional Planning Commission

The Regional Planning Commission is known to have been active between 1964 and 1970. The nine member commission consisted of two council members from the City of Halifax, Dartmouth, and Halifax County, as well as one ratepayer from each of the aforementioned municipalities. The commission received funding from each of the municipalities as well as the provincial government. Working with a Technical Advisory Committee of municipal planners, the commission received and considered plans for building and development in all three municipalities. After considering the plans in light of their regional implications, the commission then advised the relevant Council of whether it approved or disapproved of each plan. The Commission was replaced by the Metropolitan Area Planning Committee.

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A. Belcher & Co. (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

  • Corporate body

A. Belcher and Co. was a partnership between Andrew Belcher and Mather Byles Almon, which operated out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The business was primarily an agency for mercantile trade, shipping goods to and from Halifax, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the British West Indies. The company also sold insurance. Mather Byles Almon, merchant, banker, politician, and philanthropist, was the partner in Halifax. He was born in 1796 at Halifax, the son of William James and Rebecca (Byles) Almon. Almon helped establish the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1832 and became its president in 1837. He died in Halifax on 30 July 1871.
Andrew Belcher, merchant, justice of the peace, and politician, was born in Halifax on 22 July 1763, the son of Jonathan and Abigail (Allen) Belcher. He operated a number of successive partnerships including the one with Mr. Almon. He removed to England in 1811 where he worked as a non-resident member of the Halifax merchant class. Belcher’s fortunes took a downward turn and he moved back to Halifax in 1829. From 1827 to 1833 Belcher was Halifax agent for the General Mining Association (GMA), also known as Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, a British company involved in large-scale coal exports from Nova Scotia to the United States. Early in 1834 Mr. Belcher lost the appointment to rival shipping entrepreneur Samuel Cunard. Belcher died in Boulogne-sur-mer, France, on 17 November 1841. It is not known when the partnership of A. Belcher & Co. ended.

A.G. MacPhail & Company (Truro, Colchester County, N.S.)

  • Corporate body

The A.G. MacPhail & Company Ltd. of Truro, N.S. was a group of insurance adjustors who worked on behalf of larger insurance agencies selling policies to local residents and businesses. The policies included that for fire, auto and personal property. Their office was located on Prince Street in Truro.

A.H. Smith (Firm: Truro, Colchester County, N.S.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1870-

The A.H. Smith store was established ca. 1870 by Arthur H. Smith at Truro, Colchester County, N.S. The store specialized in watch repair, jewelry cleaning, production and repair, and optometry services and supplies. From this location, Smith also issued marriage licences. Circa 1918 this business was assumed by Smith's son A.A. Smith, operating under the same name until 1932 when the name was changed to the Smith Jewelry Store. In 1938 John Doane purchased the business.

A.M. Smith and Company.

  • Corporate body

N. & M. SMITH LIMITED

Nathaniel and Martin Smith were brothers, originally from Yankeetown, Hammonds Plains, Halifax County. Descendants of British Empire Loyalists from Maryland, they moved to Halifax, Nathaniel around 1865 and Martin following in 1870, to attend to growing business interests, establishing a branch cooperage and forming N. & M. Smith Limited.

Martin Smith died in 1889 at age 54. In 1904 the section of the Halifax waterfront with N. & M. Smith wharves and buildings – Lower Water Street between Sackville and Prince Streets – was completely destroyed by fire. This property was rebuilt, and N. & M. Smith Limited returned to it in 1905; however, in the interim they purchased and used a property on Upper Water Street known as Cronan Wharf, which was later leased and subsequently sold.

The original business of a cooperage expanded to the export of salted fish and the import of fishery salt. N. & M. Smith underwent voluntary liquidation in about 1915; Martin Smith’s widow and two sons Howard H. and Albert Martin (“Bert”) retained the premises. A.M. Smith Company Limited was formed in 1917, and in 1920 the company became incorporated and known as A.M. Smith and Company Limited.

A.M. SMITH AND COMPANY

Howard H. Smith died in the early 1920s and his interest in the company was acquired by his brother, Albert Martin Smith. Albert Martin’s sons Albert Martin Smith, Jr. (“Ad”) and Fletcher S. Smith entered the company business after graduating from Dalhousie University in 1929, the third generation of brothers to do so. Upon declaration of war, A.M. Smith, Jr., a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve, entered active service and spent eighteen months on a Canadian destroyer before being transferred to Halifax as a Staff Officer in the Executive Branch, with the rank of Commander. A. Martin Smith, son of “Ad,” was also in the business for a year or so, before leaving to establish his own law practice. Ad Smith died in 1970.

Under the management of Ad Smith and Fletcher S. Smith, the company embraced three main departments – Export, Import, and Domestic. The Smiths were the largest exporters of dry and picked salted fish products in the Maritime Provinces, benefiting from the science of the Atlantic Fisheries Experimental Station which adjoined the plant. Smith’s specialized in pickled mackerel and herring, which was sold in national and international markets.

The Import Department dealt in Fishery Salt, of which A.M. Smith and Company was the largest importer in Eastern Canada, bringing in cargo lots from world production centers. The Domestic Department was responsible for the creation of the “Sea-Nymph” brand of boneless codfish, and later kippered herring, which put bulk salt fish back on grocer’s shelves. The “Sea-Nymph” brand was packed by Smith Canneries, associates of A.M. Smith and Company.

By 1970, A.M. Smith and Company was almost wholly dependent on Newfoundland for supplies such as salted cod. Subsequently, when the Federal Salt Fish Act (Bill C175) was passed, and resulted in the creation of a state-owned company with a complete monopoly over all phases of the cured fish business, A.M. Smith and Company became redundant. The government refused to compensate redundant firms, and thus A.M. Smith and Company Limited were obliged to discontinue their waterfront business, and their property was sold on November 15, 1973. Fletcher S. Smith died in 1987.

The area formerly occupied by A.M. Smith and Company is now part of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street, Halifax, NS.

ACADIA FISHERIES

Acadia Fisheries had a plant at Mulgrave, Nova Scotia, where it was for a time the largest employer in the area, with over 400 people on staff. The company purchased the Old Loggie Fish Plant in 1952, and used it as a base for the harvesting and processing of fish. The plant burned to the ground in the 1970s and was not rebuilt. The company was associated with A.M. Smith and Co.

SMITH CANNERIES

Smith Canneries existed with virtually the same shareholders and directorate as A.M. Smith and Company, but with canning operations principally confined to Prince Edward Island. Fish for the plant was caught off the coast of Prince Edward Island, and subsequently packed under the “Sea-Nymph” brand, which included herring, salt herring, Dutch-style herring, mackerel, codfish, boneless salt cod, and ling. Smith Canneries also has use of the “Sea Nymph 1” dragger, a ship operated by A.M. Smith and Company for the salted and fresh fish trade.

Abbass Studios Ltd.

  • Abbass
  • Corporate body
  • 1946-Present

The Abbass family emigrated from Lebanon to Cape Breton at the turn of the 20th century. With his wife, Lilly Khattar, Jobe Abbass built a home on Townsend Street in Sydney, N.S. and together raised twelve children. It is in this building that three of those children, George, John and Anthony started Abbass Studios in the summer of 1946.

While still in high school at Sydney Academy, George took a job as an apprentice at Meyer’s Photography, a national chain. In 1941, after graduating from high school, his brother John also secured a job with Meyers where they both learned the craft of photography. Eventually they began private work contracting jobs with the Post Record and Chronicle Herald newspapers. In January of 1943 four of the Abbass boys, George, John, Joe and Ferris, enlisted to serve during World War II. They left their younger brother Anthony (Tony), who was too young to enlist, in charge of their Post and Herald contracts. When the brothers returned from war, they received a stipend from the government to open their own business.

Abbass Studios opened its doors July 18, 1946 in the family home on Townsend Street in Sydney, N.S. . The studio offered photo finishing, portraits and commercial photography. By the mid-1960s Abbass Studio served all of the Maritime Provinces. The company built a photo finishing plant in Moncton, New Brunswick and purchased stores in New Castle, New Brunswick. The brothers eventually brought the Econo-Color Camera Stores and Studios franchise from Sherman Hines.

Abbass Studios captured and continues to document the diverse economic, political and cultural heritage of the area. The business is still in family hands and run by John’s sons Blaise and John. The Townsend Street building was demolished in 2014 and Blaise Abbass now operates Abbass Studios, Sydney from his home. John Abbass runs the store at Scotia Square Mall in Halifax.

Abell, Walter Halsey, 1897-1956

  • Person
  • 1897-1956

Walter Halsey Abell was born in Philadelphia in 1897. He was educated at Swarthmore College and the Barnes Foundation, studying art. He went to Europe for three years to continue his study of art before coming to Acadia University.
Abell began as a Professor of Art at Acadia in 1927 and may have been the first instructor of fine arts in Canada. The Carnegie Foundation endowed Acadia’s fine arts department during the time that Abell was teaching. He left in 1942. While at Acadia, Abell published his first book in 1936, entitled “Representation and Form”. With the assistance of Carnegie, he also established the Maritime Art Association.
After leaving Acadia, Abell joined the staff of the National Gallery of Canada for a short time. He then went to Michigan State University as Professor of art history. While in Michigan, he published a number of books and articles. Walter Abell remained on staff at the University until his sudden death in 1956.

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