Friday, August 21, 2009

Welcome to the Halifax Missing Plaque Project

This site is part of the Halifax Missing Plaque Project. Below you will find a series off posters on Halifax history. They have been wheat pasted up on the streets, in the area the history talks about, for anyone to read.

The Project came out of the Roberts Street Social Centre's Residency Program. Toronto based activist Tim Groves, spent two weeks in Halifax working on the project. The project is based on a similar project he has been carrying out in Toronto for the last six and a half years.

please leave you comments, or send emails to

Thursday, August 20, 2009



To listen to the pronunciation of Jibuktuk visit
To learn more words visit

Picketing the CBC for gay rights

Cornwallis, planner of Genocide

draft text of an unfinished poster

a part of life in Halifax

Slavery was a part of Halifax life. Many would like to deny this history by believing that slavery never existed in Halifax, or that it ended by 1792. In truth slavery existed here until 1834, only 31 years before the end of Slavery in the US. While the number of slaves in the southern US was much larger than in Canada, it was just as harsh in this country. “Enslaved Blacks in Canada were murdered, whipped, tortured, starved, imprisoned, punished and brutalized in other ways by their masters” says Aufa Cooper(1).

Slavery existed under both the French and the British in Nova Scotia. During French rule blacks and a smaller number of natives were enslaved. When the British established Halifax in 1749, they also began “importing” slaves. During the American Revolution many free blacks sought refuge in Canada, but also many white “Loyalist” brought their slaves with them, increasing the enslaved population in the province. Slavery was a fact of life right up until it was banned in the British Empire in 1834.

The end of slavery gave more freedoms to former slaves, but it did not put them on an even footing in Nova Scotia. Due to discrimination, life for free blacks in Nova Scotia had always been full of hardship. Farmers could only farm second rate land, and jobs were scarce. people to come together in communities like Africville, but by the 1960's Africville was targeted for demolition, and it population was displaced.

Slavery was a terrible blemish on the history of Nova Scotia. The face of racism has drastically changed. It has become more subtle, but in Halifax and around the Province, it is still a part of everyday life.

Poster wish list

Unfortunately with only two weeks to make posters, only a few were made. It would be wonderful if people in Halifax took over this project and made it there own, Or if this inspired people to make their own posters, zines, street theater, radio, or anything else that brought the history to life.

Here is a list of some of the posters that would have been made, if only there was more time:
-Maroons building the Citadel
-Tall ships and slavery
-Demolished Neighbourhoods and Urban Renewal
-Halifax Harbour for war.
-Near nuclear sub accident
-unexploded orindance
-Women's movement and anti-nuclear marches
-Riot in 80's after blacks banned from Rosa's bar
-Riot after World War II
-Riot in early days of city
-Mi'kmaq helping slaves escape
-Occupation of employment office on Gottigen Street
-Boxing and race relations
-student tent city
-student movement in the 1980's
-labour struggles
-buried creeks
-the Commons; how should common land be used...

no doubt there are countless of events in the city's history that deserve plaques made of them.


Robert Street Social Centre and Anchor Archives

Missing Plaque Project - the Toronto Edition

Tim Groves blog on Investigative Research and Journalism

Article on Tall Ships In Halifax

Article on Renaming Cornwallis

Gone Missing - video and Audio on Halifax's Northend

If you have other sites you think should be linked to please send a message or leave them in the comments.
The Halifax Missing Plaque Project, is a based on a similar project in Toronto. If you want to learn more about this project you can check out this link to the Missing Plaque website, or go straight to the poster page. You can also email the project at

Unfortunalty the website is a bit out of date.

An older version of CBC poster


This is the first post on this blog. Soon posts will appear with posters on Halifax history. They try to sum up events in the city's history that either don't have plaques made about them, or that have plaques that don't do justice to the full story. These posters will also be wheat pasted up on lamp poles in the area the history is about. the idea is that anyone who walks by may stumble upon a peice of history.

Tim Groves is a Toronto based activist who has been conducting a two week residency at the Robert Street Social Centre. His project to make posters on little known Halifax history is based on a similar project he has done in Toronto for the past seven years, The Missing Plaque Project. He has made over 15 posters on bits of missing Toronto history, highlighting place names before Europeans arrived, demolished neighbourhoods, people writen out of the history books, strikes, riots and protests.

While in halifax he has tried to make as many posters as he can on Halifax history. With only two weeks of work there remain many histories that could not be covered. so the posters above really only touch the tip of the iceburg. There goal is to make people look at the city's history, including some of the darker sides that official plaques like omit.