Whatever Happened to Pleasant Street? Rediscovering an Urban Shoreline in Halifax, Nova Scotia
This Gallery studies maps, plans, paintings, and photographs to find a lost shore road in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Pleasant Street ran beside the city's famous harbour from the downtown commercial centre to the forested south end. A promenade through the long nineteenth century, Pleasant Street is now found only in fragments and echoes along and underneath the rail-yards, wharves, and container piers of an industrial port. This Gallery seeks that shore road, where fresh and saltwater and city met, to measure the changing contours of an urban shoreline. The images, which date from between 1840 and 1922, bracket the arc and spirit of industrial modernity. In the summer of 1840 Samuel Cunard began transatlantic, coal-powered steamer traffic to Liverpool. By the First World War, the federal government had begun one of the largest infrastructure projects in Canadian history in the “Ocean Terminals” port development. This Gallery visualizes the creation of a modern port city in the submersion of a shoreline of human scale – of pathway, pond, park, and neighbourhood – into an industrial sublime. Finding Pleasant Street and the older shoreline it followed asks us to reflect on the development ethos in shaping port geography, the implications in an era of climate change, and historical inspirations for reconnecting the city to tidewater.
Campbell, Claire E.. "Whatever Happened to Pleasant Street? Rediscovering an Urban Shoreline in Halifax, Nova Scotia." (2020) : 134-149.