Halifax Police Department photographs

In celebration of Police Week (held each May), the Municipal Archives offers a selection of historical images from Halifax's policing past.

Halifax Regional Police transferred many historical records to the Municipal Archives in 2006 and 2007, covering a number of policing areas from 1851-1998 (102-16). Along with charge books, court record books, and Chiefs' records, there is a wonderful series of over 700 photographs dating from 1864-2004. For further historical information, see the history of Halifax Regional Police.

South Park Street from Sackville Street, ca. 1890

Sepia photo of a wide street in winter.

South Park Street from Sackville Street, ca. 1890. HMA 102-16N-0016.3 O/S

The Halifax Police Department had this photo (102-16N-0016.3 O/S) to show the house in which John Delaney was found sealing himself in a cupboard following the murder of his wife in 1919. It is the first house on the left, formerly 187 South Park Street. The photo looks south, and the building housing the tearoom and washroom facilities in the Public Gardens can be seen on the right.

Early police officers

Black and white photo of officer standing in street

Angus MacDonald at the corner of Buckingham and Barrington, 1923 or 1924. HMA 102-16N-0012.4

Black and white photo of policeman writing in a notebook on the pedestal at the Grand Parade entrance to City Hall.

Inspector John W. Miller City Hall, ca. 1910s. HMA 102-16N-0012.5


Protecting Halifax's morality

Black and white photograph of policemen smashing a slot machine with a hammer.

Police Chief Fox and Deputy Chief MacLellan destroy slot machines, ca. 1950. HMA 102-16N-0004.1

Police Chief George Fox and Deputy Chief Angus MacLellan destroy an illegal one-armed bandit, ca. 1950. From 1925 to 1976 only charitable gambling, raffles, bingo, and horse betting were permitted in Nova Scotia. HMA 102-16N-0004.1, taken by Wilfred Doucette, Halifax Chronicle and Daily Herald.


Police athletics and recreation

The Halifax Police Department (HPD) had its own Athletic and Social Club. Members of the force played with RCMP and the Halifax Fire Department (HFD). Sports and recreation teams included hockey, track and field, basketball, bowling, and curling. The department also held an annual pistol competition.


Black and white athletic team photo.

HPD A. and R. Club Champion Athletes 1920. HMA 102-16N-0008.2

HPD A. and R. Club Champion Athletes, 1920. (102-16N-0008.2)

Back row: A. Callaghan, G. Fox, M. McLean, C. Fulton (killed on duty in 1924). Middle row: Jas. [James] Buchanan, Chief Hanrahan, Insp. L. Lovett, A. Woollaston. Front row: T. MacDonald, H. Lawlor.





Black and white photograph of a hockey team

HPD and HFD hockey teams, 1940-1945. HMA 102-16N-0008.1

HPD and HFD hockey teams, 1940-1945, Navy League Building. (102-16N-0008.1)

Can you identify any of these officers? Many individuals in our images are unidentified, and we always appreciates assistance identifying people and places.




Black and white team photo

Pistol Competition June 8, 1966. HMA 102-16N-0023.1

Annual Pistol Competition, June 8, 1966 (102-16N-0023.1)

Photo shows First Place Team winners. L-R: Cst. L. Swinimer, Cst. E. Joyce, Insp. R. Bedgood Team Captain, Cst. G. Legge, Cst. A. Wyatt, Chief V.W. Mitchell presenting trophy. Photo by IDENT.




Police outreach

Black-and-white photo of Constable Art Francis holds a boy from the Halifax Infants Home, petting a horse

Cst. Art Francis with a boy from the Halifax Infants Home, ca. 1940. HMA 102-16N-0059.1

Winnifred Keddy, who used to work at the Halifax Infants Home, sent this image (102-16N-0059.1) to HPD with a letter thanking members of the Mounted Squad for so often taking the time to let the children pet the horses. She noted the children would often look forward to these visits, as they had few connections outside of the Home.

The Halifax Infants Home was opened in 1875 for unmarried mothers and abandoned children under the age of three. Originally located on Cunard Street, it moved to Spring Garden Road then to a brick-and-stone building designed by J.C. Dumaresq and Son on Tower Road in 1899. The home continued there until it closed in 1960.


Breathalyser demonstration, 1969

Black-and-white photo of police officers observing a breathalyser demonstration, 1969

Halifax Police Breathalyser Demonstration, 1969. HMA 102-16N-0053.1

Officers took breathalyser training courses, when that technology became available in the sixties.

Halifax Police has a long history of using cutting-edge technology for crime prevention. The first known case of using the telegram to combat crime was in 1862 when the city marshal was alerted by telegram that two horse thieves were headed toward Halifax. Thanks to this timely information the offenders were apprehended. In 1934 Halifax was one of the first cities in Canada to equip its patrol vehicles with radios. Other training included bomb disposal and fingerprint analysis.


Increasing presence of visible minorities

Black and white photo of African Nova Scotian officer using call-box

Cst. Richard Smith calls in to the station. HMA 102-16N-0012.1

Call boxes were located throughout the city to help officers stay in contact with headquarters while out on patrol. Walkie talkies were not used until 1966. This promotional photograph shows African Nova Scotian Cst. Richard Smith using a call box.

The role of community and race relations in policing is increasingly recognized, and Halifax Regional Police actively recruits visible minorities.


Black and white photo of female officer sitting in car talking on radio

Cst. Aileen Richardson, ca. 1975. HMA 102-16N-0012.2

Constable Aileen Richardson (now Mitchell-Halliday) was the first female Halifax police officer to go on street patrol in 1975. Prior to that, female police officers served as "matrons" who searched and guarded female prisoners, and did desk duty. By 2007, 1 in 5 police officers in Canada were women. Today Halifax Regional Police actively recruits women, and female officers are increasingly assuming senior leadership roles.


National Police Week, 1972

Black and white photo of a cruiser on display under a National Police Week banner

Police cruiser at National Police Week, 1971. HMA 102-16N-0059.2

Police Week is held each year around May 15th, International Peace Officer Memorial Day. This image is from one of Halifax's first National Police Weeks, in 1971. The event began in 1970 as a collaboration between the RCMP, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, and local police departments.




Police with wildlife

Black and white photo of a police office and three boys feeding a deer.

Sergeant Detective Walter Woods feeds a fawn, ca. 1930s. HMA 102-16N-0059.3

Feeding a fawn (102-16N-0059.3)

Sergeant Detective Walter Woods feeds a fawn near his cottage on the Salmon River, with his nephews Donald, Waynem and Dennis Purcell, ca. 1930s. Thanks to Betty Pothier for identifying the people in this delightful photo.




Black and white photo of police officer smiling holding wildcat by the ears

Cst. Frank Carver holding a wildcat he shot on Friday, August 11, 1966. HMA 102-16N-0012.3

Wildcat on Quinpool Rd. (102-16N-0012.3)

The following police report accompanies this photo:

At approximately 5:30pm Constable Frank Carver was proceeding along Quinpool Rd. on his motorcycle when a citizen stopped him, stating there was wildcat in his backyard. Constable Carver proceeded to the backyard of 6950 Quinpool Rd. and observed the wildcat in the bushes. He drew his service revolver and fired at the animal, wounding same. It fled to an adjoining yard where the Constable fired the second shot, killing the wildcat.
Friday, August 11, 1966



For more historic police photographs, see the full Police Department photographs and moving images series (102-16N), including more digitized photographs, or visit the Halifax Municipal Archives to view the hundreds of original photographs from the Halifax Police Department.

A list of photographs and this exhibit were compiled by volunteer Sherri MacQuarrie.