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The Halifax Literary Walking Tour


Province House, 1726 Hollis Street

9. Charles Dickens

For one day, on January 21st, 1842, Joseph Howe hosted notable author Charles Dickens on his first visit to Canada. Dickens was already a popular English author for his work The Pickwick Papers (1837) and would soon start on his classic, A Christmas Carol (1843). Favourable accounts of his visit are noted in his work American Notes (1842), however a more telling opinion emerged in private letters with an acquaintance. While Dickens enjoyed the Georgian features of the Legislature building, he was less impressed with the opening session of the General Assembly, stating "...the commencement of a new Session of Parliament in England were so closely copied, and so gravely presented on a small scale, that it was like looking at Westminster through the wrong end of a telescope". It is not known if Dickens ever returned to Halifax for another opportunity to witness provincial politics.

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