Thursday, 14 August 2014

Sullivan's Pond

For those of you lucky to have spent time in Dartmouth, there is a high chance that you have encountered beautiful Sullivan's Pond in the heart of the city. Known to many as "the duck pond," it is a popular place for humans and waterfowl alike. I have lived by Sullivan's Pond for most of my life. My grandmother, Marie Jones, has lived in "the yellow house" on Prince Albert Road, directly across from the pond, since she was five years old. Her son (and my father), Martin Jones, fondly recalled growing up across the street from the pond, in the Introduction to Hockey's Home:

I grew up next to Sullivan's Pond, just below Lake Banook, in downtown Dartmouth. until the flow of the water was changed to accommodate flood-proofing for the city's downtown after Hurricane Beth in 1971, Sullivan's Pond was our preferred hockey venue, especially since we could walk home for lunch, dinner, or hot chocolate with our skates on. Unfortunately, around the same time, the city stopped clearing and lighting the pond and the lake for skating --- though this did little to stop us from using the pond at night.

Martin Jones' Great Uncle, John Martin, left us with key information concerning the origins of Sullivan's Pond (page 182, Story of Dartmouth):
The "new" road to Preston, mentioned as crossing the millstream on page 100. was interrupted by this time (1831), as a consequence of the construction of the Circular Dam, which resulted in forming Sullivan's Pond for a storage basin.
The Canal Company then laid out the present Prince Albert Road down past the Starr Works, and also cut Canal Street to the Cove. The whole stretch from the shore to the Town limits on no. 7 Highway got to be called Canal Street.
As a shorter route to the Steam Boat wharf, they opened the road down the present Nowlan Street to cross a bridge at Lock no. 6 (the Channel), where it continued down the west side of the Canal to meet the old road at the Great Dam.

1944 Fire Insurance Map of Dartmouth - Sullivan's Pond Detail.

1944 Fire Insurance Map of Dartmouth - Sullivan's Pond Detail

  • According to Harry Chapman, local historian, Sullivan's Pond is "named after an Irish canal foreman" (In the Wake of the Alderney, page 84).
  • "Circular stone markers built in Sullivans Pond by Scottish and Irish workers about 1831 indicate the entrance to the first lock in the canal system, located at the head of Lake Banook" (In the Wake of the Alderney, page 85).
Beautiful Sullivan's Pond. Photo: David Jones, May 28, 2014. We are spoiled to have such a park in the middle of our city! The First Nations totem pole on the little island was a gift from British Columbia to Dartmouth for the Canada Games.

Copy of 1873 view of "Entrance to the Harbour from above Dartmouth" . Photo Courtesy Nova Scotia Archives.
Panoramic view of Sullivan's Pond in the heart of Dartmouth. Photo: David Jones.

This is where we gather on Remembrance Day: Cenotaph, Sullivan's Pond. This field was the site of the old town dump.
Photo: David Jones, May 28, 2014.
 Sullivan's Pond, circa 1916. Photo Courtesy Nova Scotia Archives.

Beautiful Sullivan's Pond in the heart of Dartmouth. Photo: David Jones.


  1. Played lots of hockey on the pond in the 50's and had lots of cold feet . Also lost a lot of pucks in the snow banks .

  2. Great site, I remember your family quite well and your grandfather sitting on the porch.I went to school with your late uncle, David Jones. Remember being crossing guards together when we were in Findlay School and only in grade 4. Imagine that today. We lived on Crichton Ave and skated on Sullivan's Pond right up till the flood. Thanks for the great memories