Historical Fire Department records

Colour photo of firefighters riding vehicle

An antique Bedford Fire Department truck travels in a local parade, [198-?]. HMA 103-8-1.4

The Municipal Archives holds historical records from the:

Curious about ancestors who served with the Fire Department?

See the photographs below, as well as these listings:

For Halifax Fire Department:

  • City Treasurer's Office superannuation ledgers list firemen, 1906-1954 (102-21B)
  • A roll of members with employee names, salaries, the fire station they were attached to, as well as the dates of hiring and retirement/resignation, 1903-1911 (102-111-7)
  • A daily log contains lists of staff on duty, procedures, visits, and training at the fire station, May 1928 - June 1929 (102-111-7).

For Dartmouth Fire Department:

  • Lists of the names of active and honorary firefighters and the widows of deceased firemen and the widows of deceased firemen (1885, 1891-1903, 1909), supplied by the Dartmouth Engine Co., the Union Protection Company of Dartmouth, and the Dartmouth Axe and Ladder Co. (101-19C).
  • Log books recording daily activity at each fire station, including the number and names of firemen on duty, 1965-1985 (101-85-3)

Interested in historic fires?

Records of Fires provide information on the date, time and locations of fire incidents, number of occupants in the dwelling, the cause of fire, and the cost of damage.

  • Halifax Fire Department Records of Fire, 1903-1980 (102-111-2)
  • Dartmouth Fire Department Records of Fire, 1963-1974 (101-85-3)

Annual Reports from the Fire Chief also give statistics and mention significant fires. These reports were compiled in the City of Halifax Civic Reports, 1865-1920, and the Town of Dartmouth Annual Reports, 1887-1953.

Later, the Fire Departments prepared their own Annual Reports:

  • Dartmouth Fire Department annual reports, 1987-1990, 1992-1995 (101-85-1)
  • Halifax Fire Department annual reports, 1963-1966, 1968-1982, 1992, 1993 (102-111-1)


Historic Fire Department photographs

Black and white photo of participants in a parade.

Postcard depicting a Halifax Fire Department fire prevention float, [19--?]. HMA 102-111-4-1.32

The Municipal Archives has images dating back to the 19th century from the Halifax Fire Department (102-111-4), Dartmouth Fire Department (101-85-2), Bedford Fire Department (103-8-1), and various fire departments within Halifax County, including Spryfield, Rockingham, and Fairview. These photographs include departmental sports teams; fire scenes, such as Kay’s Department Store fire in 1950; equipment and vehicles; and community outreach programs, such as fire prevention booths and local parades. The fire departments also took many aerial and streetscape photographs of the region, which provide new perspectives on Africville, downtown Halifax, and surrounding neighbourhoods.

Some photographs have been digitized and can be viewed in our online database. Some early images of firefighters are in a Flickr Album. All of the thousands of fire department photographs can be viewed at the Municipal Archives.

Black and white photo of a fire vehicle.

Driver Edward Ingram and Caretaker Frank Deyoung, Spryfield Volunteer FD, ca. 1948. HMA 400-8-3-3.01

In addition to photographs, the Fire Department records also contain important textual materials documenting the history and operations of various fire departments, including histories of the Union Engine Company and the Halifax Fire Insurance Company, which were early incarnations of our present-day fire services. We also have extensive newspaper clippings files and scrapbooks (102-111-3) dating from the 19th century right up to the 21st century which document all things fire-related. Fire departments played an important role in response to the Halifax Explosion.

Maps and plans related to firefighting:

The plans below are primarily from the Halifax Engineering and Works Department. They are listed in chronological order, though some maps and plans have no determined date. Very few have been digitized, but they can all be viewed on-site at the Municipal Archives, or you can request a scanned copy.

  • 102-39P-C-6-402: Plan of H.M. naval and victualling yard - includes locations of gas, fire hydrants and water pipes. 1877/08/07. 
  • CR10-005: Map of Halifax City showing buildings, waterlines, gas mains, Hydrants, Fire Alarm Boxes, Sentry Posts and Lamps. Charles. E. Goad, C.E.; published in London, England [microfiche only]. April 1889
  • 102-39P-K-8-1628: Standard fire hydrant - Brown Machine Co. 1905/01/17    
  • 102-39P-Q-2-1716 to Q-2-1722: Fire station for the City of Halifax. Prince and Bedford Row. R.A. Johnson, architect. 8 architectural drawings. 1906/04/12. [Scanned]
  • 102-39P-Q-1-1657: Plan of property on George Street to be expropriated for Fire Dept. purposes. 1906/10/11
  • 102-39P-GG-6-7952: Plan of high and low water service mains and location of #5 fire station. 1906/10/27
  • 102-39p-Q-8-1863: Plan of property purchased from Evans & O'Donnel for Fire Dept. 1907
  • 102-39P-A-3-8047 to A-3-8055: Plans of proposed new fire station at Brunswick Street, these plans received from the Fire Chief. 1943/11/14     
  • 102-39P-A-3-8017 to A-3-8046: Proposed new fire station on Brunswick St. [Undated].     
  • 102-39P-Q-8-1863: Engine House Plan of properties corner of George and Albermarle streets purchased for Fire Dept. purposes. [Undated].
  • 102-39P-W-7-3433: Plan showing location 40,000 Gallon Tank of John Tobin & Co. Simon Building by General Fire Extinguisher Co. [191-?]    
  • 102-39P-S-6-3817: Pump - Worthington. Sectional arrangement of Rees, Roturbo Chamber Fire Pump. [Undated].
  • 102-39P-W-8-3492: Plan of general arrangement of fire hydrant. 1913/11/21
  • 102-39P-T-5-2671: Fire service distribution plan [microfilm only]. 1914/02/14
  • 102-39P-T-10-2418: Horse drawn wagon with fire extinguisher. 1914/02/20
  • 102-39P-T-10-2419: Sketch of fire walls - John Tobin & Co - Water St. 1914/02/20    
  • 102-39P-T-6-2867: 4" standard compression fire hydrant. 1915/04/16
  • CR10-082: Published map of Halifax and Dartmouth surrounded by business advertisements, fire box numbers, and a street index, and a geographic description of Halifax's wards and boundaries. [192-?] [scanned]    
  • 102-39P-BB-2-8743: Plans and Elevation of Drill Tower Brookline Fire Station no. 6, Boston, Massachusetts. [192-?] 
  • 102-39P-BB-4-4981: O’Shaughnessy building - fire escape. O’Shaughnessy Hospital southwest corner of North Street Coffin building 1 architectural drawing. 1920/10/15    


Image shoes a blueprint of the second floor of a fire station, including hay loft,  dormitory, library, and captain's room.

Second floor plan of the fire station at Prince & Bedford Row, 1906, 102-39P-Q-2-1716.

  • 102-39P-BB-1-5630: Plan of brick chimney - Veteran Firemans Hall. 1923/10/04
  • 102-39P-CC-5-5697: Plan of chimney - Veteran Firemans Hall by L. Cuvelier [on back of ad for the cuvilier permanent chimney cleaner]. 1924
  • 102-39P-P-8-1360: Chimney at Grain elevator Veteran Firemans Hall microfilm. [Undated]
  • 102-39P-BB-6-5666: Plan of proposed plumbing AT West St. Fire Hall. 1924/04/09
  • 102-39P-BB-6-5667: Plan of proposed Plumbing (Fire Hall) Quinpool Rd. 1924/04/09
  • 102-39P-CC-6-5740: Plan of proposed alteration at N.E. corner of Maynard Street - Plan of Watson H. Isnor property - garage and filling station [shows James St. fire station]. 1924/06/34
  • 102-39P-GG-11-7017 and GG-11-7018: Proposed Fire Alarm building - ground floor & proposed plan for fire alarm circuits. [Between 1930 and 1935]
  • 102-39P-Q-3-6703: Halifax Incinerator. Details of special fire brick. City Engineers Office - Griscom-Spencer Co., NY. 1 architectural drawing. 1931/03/24
  • 102-39P-O-3-6703 and O-3-6704: Halifax Incinerator - Details of special fire brick Robie & Young. 1931/03/24
  • 102-39P-BB-2-6737: Fireman's drill tower - Framing and sectional details. 1931/11/23
  •  102-39P-BB-2-6736: Firemen's drill tower Proposed Drill Tower, elevators and site plan. 1931/11/23
  • 102-39P-BB-2-7636: 62' drill tower for Halifax firefighters. 1932/04/12
  • 102-39P-GG-11-7627 and GG-11-7628: Plan of proposed central fire alarm building - site plan;  front elevation. 1933/06/27
  • 102-39P-P-4-7678: Plan of Property #65 & #67 Brunswick Street acquired for Fire Station by the City. 1934/10/03
  • 102-39P-A-3-8020 to A-3-8047: Central Fire Station. [includes floor plans and details]. Pickings and Wilson, architects. 33 architectural drawings. November 1934
  • 102-39P-HH-7-8274: Plan New concrete floor, Morris Street fire Station. 1936/04/04
  • 102-39P-GG-11-8397 to GG-11-8401: Proposed fire alarm building - front and rear elevations; basement and ground floor plan; roof and ground floor plan. 1937/03/24
  • 102-39P-GG-11-8398 to GG-11-8401: Proposed fire alarm building - North and South elevations;  longitudinal section, site plan and details. 1937/03/24
  • 102-39P-KK-6-9024: Plan - fire drill tower - not constructed [microfilm only]. 1939/12/26
  • 102-39P- BB-2-8742 and BB-2-8743: Plan - Steel Details.  Fireman's Drill Tower. 1940/01/15
  • 102-39P- BB-2-8741 and BB-2-8743: Plans - Steel Framed - Fireman's Drill Tower. 1940/01/15
  • 102-39P-LL-4-10043: Siren Tower at Fire Station. Also includes specifications for towers. 1941/11/13
  • 102-39P- LL-4-10044: Siren Tower, West Street, Fire Station. Also includes specifications and revised specifications [microfilm only]. 1941/11/17
  • 102-39P-KK-10-9180 to KK-10-9188: Plan - proposed Young St. Fire Station - basement; first floor; second floor - front & east elevations. 1942/12/04
  • 102-39P-KK-10-9189: Proposed Fire Station. Incinerator Field. North End [microfilm only]. [Undated]
  • 102-39P-LL-4-10042: Old Fire Station ground floor plans – Brunswick St. [Microfilm only]. 1943/03/26
  • 102-39P-JJ-6-9246: Central Fire Station - basement, ground second and third floor plans. 1943/03/29
  • 102-39P-KK-1-9280: Layout in Basement of Fire Alarm Building. 1943/06/30
  • 102-39P-KK-10-9490: Young St. Fire Station - Showing alteration in basement. 1944/09/25 
  • 102-39P-KK-10-9491: Young St. fire station - part plan and sections. 1944/09/26
  • 102-39P-KK-10-9497: Young St. fire station - Proposed addition to Boiler Room - elevations and sections - Fundy Construction Co. 1944/10/23
  • 102-39P-JJ-2-9030: Crane Autocoal Stoker Morris St. Fire Station [microfilm only]. [BETWEEN 1940 AND 1945]
  • 102-39P-NN-6-10943: Site of new Fire Station on Oxford. [BETWEEN 1947 AND 1952]
  • 102-39P-LL-3-9930: Fire Station - Showing Fences Quinpool Rd  [microfilm only]. 1947/02/18
  • 102-39P-LL-3-9983: Proposed subdivision on Connaught Avenue between Chebucto Road and Bayers Road [shows shopping centre, police & fire, traffic circle] approved at Town Planning Board. 1947/04/08


Image is a numbered list of fire alarm boxes and their locations.

Crop of CR10-082, 1920s map of Halifax, showing numbered list of fire alarm boxes & their locations

  • 102-39P-LL-4-10019: Siren Tower on Roof of Fire Station and specifications for tower. [Microfilm only]. [Undated]    
  • 102-39P-MM-6-10246: Alterations to Fire Station [see mm-6-10278 for same plans]. [Microfilm only]. 1947/09/30
  • 102-39P-MM-6-10278: Alterations to West Street Fire House - 3 sheets. 1947/09/30
  • 102-39P-NN-1-10444: 3 sheets - West Street fire Station, alterations to building. Dumaresq Plan. 1947/09/30
  • 102-39P-NN-3-10652: Alterations to West Street Fire Station.  3 sheets. Dumaresq Plan. 1947/09/30
  • 102-39P-RR-1-12690: Plan of scene of accident with Fire Truck corner of George Street and Granville Street between George and Prince Streets. [Undated].
  • 102-39P-SS-2-14164: Plan of Fire Station and City owned land Bayer’s Rd. Microfilmed. [Undated]
  • 102-39P-SS-7-15245: Plan showing underground street lighting & fire alarm system Westwood Park. [Undated]     
  • 102-39P-MM-7-10297: Quinpool Road showing location of Fire Station, traced from assessment plan. 1948/02/18   
  • 102-39P-NN-5-10861: Plot Plan - new Fire Station, corner of Oak and Allan Streets. P. Dumaresq. 1948/02/01
  • 102-39P-NN1-10423 to -10426: 4 plans - proposed revisions to heating system at Morris St fire station  [microfilm for NN-1-10423 & NN-1-10424 are missing]  [possibly only one plan in hard copy]. 1948/03/10.
  • 102-39P-NN-2-10533: 3 sheets - West Street Fire Station, alterations, wall covering details. Dumaresq Plan. May 1948   
  • 102-39P-NN-2-10545: Incinerator Field - Traced from Official Plan with Additions [shows Young St. Fire Station]. 1948/07/14
  • 102-39P-NN3-10724: Grafton Park showing old Fire Station. microfilm only. 1948/11/30
  • 102-39P-NN-6-10900: Proposed new Fire Station for residential district.  Dumaresq Plan. [microfilm only]. 1949
  • 102-39P-TT-16-19680: Contour plan - Halifax County adjacent to Dutch Village Road [contour Plan showing general layout of Fairview Area (partly) from Upper End of Main Ave., Deal Street, Deal Street, Ashdale Ave., Flint Street, Borden Street, and Skeena Street. Shows building footprints and terrain, including location of fire hall. 1949/02/01
  • 102-39P-NN-1-10430: City Home Property showing buildings.  Also showing Morris Street Fire Station. 1949/03/02
  • 102-39P-TT-30-26647 to TT-30-26656: Halifax / Fire Station - Oak and Allen St. Plan of floor plan for fire station ; plan of elev. plan for fire station; basement plan; roof details; wall details; wall elevation. [Scanned]. 1949/04/01
  • 102-39P-NN-5-10866: Plan showing land to be exchanged between Martha B. Allen & City of Halifax to improve site of fire station. [Scanned]. 1949/05/12
  • 102-39P-QQ-3-11875: Fence for incinerator [Robie St. Fire Station]. 1 drawing. shows location of pump house. 1951/05/28
  • 102-39P-TT-3-16180: Plan showing Watermains around Hospital Area - Robie, University and South Street. PSC Plan shows footprint of City Home, Fire station, Isolation Hospital, Tuberculosis Hospital, Children's Hospital and Pathology Building. 1951/06/19
  • 102-39P-RR-1-12641: Area under consideration for redevelopment [plan showing Maynard Street and vicinity area under consideration for redevelopment with labelled building footprints noting dwellings, vacant houses, a fire station, service station, and businesses.]. 1953/02/04
  • 102-39P-RR-1-12780: Plan showing location of house civic nos. 13 and 15 James St. [Properties adjacent to West Street Fire Station property. Plan also includes note about right for access to rear of property granted to City of Halifax June 26, 1935]. 1954/07/09
  • 102-39P-OO-10-17736: Halifax / Spryfield Dam Road Plan Showing Fire Station lot description and abutting lots. [Scanned from microfilm only]. 1955/07/04
  • 102-39P-RR-5-13554: Plan of Robie and Young streets showing relocation of street lines and curbs [Shows location of Imperial Oil land and footprint of fire station on northwest corner of intersection.] 1956/08/15
  • 102-39P-SS-5-14771: Compiled plan and profile of Bicentennial Drive entrance to City comparing possible underpass and overpass grades. [Also shows location of water course and culvert, and footprint of Presbyterian church and fire station on Ashburn Avenue.]. 1960/02/16 
  • 102-39P-SS-5-14841: Plan of railway crossing at Bayers Road and Howe Avenue showing overhead fire alarm wires. [Shows surface crossing of railway. Howe Avenue now Joseph Howe Drive. Fire alarms had been connected to call boxes across the city.]. 1960/03/06
  • 102-39P-SS-5-14802: Plan of street lines of area bounded by Kempt Road, Young Street, Robie Street and Stanley Streets. [Also shows locations of fire station and pump house on Robie Street.]. 1960/04/20 
Image is a faded copy of a side elevation of a fire station

102-39P-TT-30-26650, East Elevation, fire station at Oak and Allen Streets, 1949/04/01 [cropped]

  • 102-39P-OO-11-18879: Site of Spryfield Fire Station.  Civic no. 241. 1960/05/19
  • 102-39P-TT-15-19413: County Plan showing Proposed Sewer; also shows footprint of buildings including Armdale Fire Station. 1961/12/15
  • 102-39P-SS-8-15460: Plan showing land to be acquired by City of Halifax from the Trustees of the Calvin Presbyterian Church for Bicentennial purposes. [Bicentennial Drive development. Shows location of fire station on Ashburn Ave.]. 1962/07/16
  • 102-39P-SS-9-15645: Bayers Road Desmond Avenue to Dutch Village Road, plan of proposed traffic improvements. [Also shows footprints of several buildings, including Bayers Road United Baptist Church and fire station on Ashburn Avenue. Also shows railway crossing.]. 1963/03/25 
  • 102-39P-SS-10-15737: Morris Street Fire Station repairs to concrete floor. 1963/06/17
  • 102-39P-OO-10-17731: Halifax / Spryfield Plot Plan. Spryfield Fire Station. [Scanned]. 1963/08/01
  • 102-39P-TT-4-16315: Plot plan showing Bayers Road Fire Station. 1965/09/08
  • 102-39P-SS-4-14673: Repairs to concrete floor Bedford Row Fire Station. [Microfilm only]. [Undated]
  • 102-39P-SS-6-14903: Repairs to concrete floor Fire Station. [Microfilm only]. [Undated]
  • 102-39P-SS-6-15073: Plan showing proposed underground street lighting and fire alarm service. MicMac, McAlpine, Chisholm, St Andrews streets. [Microfilm only]. [Undated] 
  • 102-39P-SS-9-15563: Westwood Park phase 2 - Plan showing proposed underground street lighting and fire alarm system. [Also shows building footprints.] MicMac, McAlpine, Federal, St. Andrews streets. [Undated]
  •  102-39P-TT-8-17269: Existing fire station on Agricola St. [Microfilm only]. [Undated]
  • 102-39P-TT-7-16922: Plan showing Children's Hospital Area showing existing buildings: City Mental Hospital, Nurses' residence, laundry, Children's Hospital, Convalescent Hospital, Fire Station, Health Centre, and the Scheme K land. - Duffus romans Single & Kundzins Architects. January 1966
  • 102-39P-TT-15-19438: County plan showing improvement survey of Treetop Drive including footprint of buildings including Spryfield Fire Station. 1966/08/31
  • 102-39P-TT-16-19673: Plan showing Treetop Drive, Spryfield, Halifax Co., N.S. showing building footprints with landowner names and location of fire station. Shows locations of wells. 1967/01/26
  • 102-39P-TT-7-16974: Plan showing proposed boundary of Fire Station. 1967/04/25
  • 102-39P-TT-7-16918: Lands to be acquired for West St. Fire Station. [Microfilm only]. May 1967
  • 102-39P-TT-7-16981: Plan showing lands to be acquired for West Street Fire Station shows neighbouring land-owners and footprint of station. 1967/05/09
  • 102-39P-TT-7-17052: Plan showing West Street Fire Station. 1967/07/25
  • 102-39P-TT-7-17077: Plan showing Central Fire Department Head quarters Preliminary Plans.  Microfilm missing since Dec. 8, 1993. 1967/09/25
  • 102-39P-TT-8-17237: James Street - Roberts Street to West Street plan and profile (curb and back of walk) [Plan / Profile Showing Curb and Back of Walk and Sewer  from: Roberts St. to: West St. Shows footprint of proposed fire station.]. 1968/03/22
  • 102-39P-TT-8-17246: Maynard Street - West Street to Roberts Street plan and profile - west curb line and back of west walk [Shows footprint of proposed fire station.] [Microfilm only]. 1968/03/29
  • 102-39P-VV-2-217: Plan of fire hydrant, house connection and washout connection.  To watermain also showing reducer and valve and typical 90 degree bend in watermain. December 1968
  • 102-39P-TT-9-17370: Expropriation plan for West Street (Maynard Street to Agricola Street) Fire Station. [Scanned]. 1968/08/17
  • 102-39P-TT-13-18784: Proposed Fire Station site, existing conditions including location of pumps and spot elevations. 1970/11/19
  • 102-39P-TT-25-23229: Halifax Plan Showing 600 scale map showing existing street classifications and proposed fire alarm. REF. R-227 (oversize plan, so scanned image not complete). 1975/08/14
  • 102-4.1986.09/220-1: Street Light - Hollis Street. A single plan of Sackville Street to Prince Street showing existing and proposed conditions for underground street light, fire alarm and traffic light wiring. Related record in: 102-39P-TT-37-28563. [1986]
  • 101-80B-13: Dartmouth land use survey maps (Dartmouth grey book) a bound volume of maps showing the building density of every lot in the City of Dartmouth from a survey that was done in 1970 or 1971. Stores, businesses, schools, fire stations are identified but not always uniquely named. [1970]

Other Sources on regional firefighting history:

Halifax Municipal Archives gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Council of Archives in supporting the Young Canada Works intern who prepared these records.