Where to Shop – Celebrating the Holidays in Dartmouth, c. 1973

Written by staff blogger, Vicky


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♫…Later on, we’ll conspire as we dream by the fire to face unafraid the plans that we’ve made walking in a winter wonderland… walking in a winter wonderland… walking in a winter wonderland…♫

CFDR! Dartmouth!

Hello and good morning, Dartmouth!

That was the great Dean Martin crooning to you this morning with “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”. It is 8 a.m. on Friday, December 14 and it's starting to feel a bit more like winter out there with temperatures hovering around 34 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you're heading out to take care of your holiday shopping today, it might be a good idea to bundle up!

Comin’ up next, we've got a hit from the talented Johnny Mathis, but first: a word from our sponsor.

You hit the snooze button and roll out of bed. Dude, it’s almost like the DJ read your mind! It’s your first Friday off in a month, and if you want the holidays of 1973 to rock, you need to get out and hit the shops. You hop into your bell bottoms, grab your puffer jacket and platform boots, and get truckin’ out the door!

Stop One: The Bank of Montreal

You've been saving up all year to make sure you can buy something nice for everyone on your shopping list. But, you can't get your shopping done if you don't have any scratch! You head down to the Bank of Montreal at 126 Portland Street. The lineup is long, but eventually you leave happy with a bundle of cash in your wallet. You wouldn't normally carry this much money around, but you've got one BIG purchase in mind that's sure to blow the family away!

(Formerly located at 170 Portland Street, this branch of the Bank of Montreal moved to the corner of Portland and Dundas Streets between 1964/1965. The branch was in operation for more than 30 years before closing in the late 1990's. Today, the building is home to Clean Foundation Nova Scotia.)

Stop Two: Keddy's Keyboards

Your parents basically ruined your life when they gave your sister an accordion for her birthday last summer. Jeepers creepers, the racket it makes! You figure if she's going to play it, she might as well learn to do it right. You stop in to see Dave Keddy at Keddy's Keyboards on Dundas Street and take him up on an ad you saw in the Dartmouth Free Press. You buy your sister a few accordion lessons as a gift, and hope that it'll help your headaches go away!

(In 1975, Dave Keddy founded Keddy's School of Music where he offered an holistic approach to music instruction to "focus the mind and the fingers". According to his LinkedIn profile, Keddy is currently semi-retired, and keeps himself busy taking photos for both the CBC and National Geographic. The location of his studio in 1973, 28 Dundas Street, was torn down in subsequent years. It is currently the home of Seacoast Towers apartments.)

Stop Three: Jacobson's

A quick walk toward the harbour and you're at Jacobson's department store. Your girlfriend has been hinting that she wants some new shirts, so you take a look around the clothing department.

Well look at that! You've found the exact blouse she was fawning over in the newspaper. Groovy! $26 is way more than you'd spend on clothing for yourself, but for her: it's worth every penny!

(Jacobson Bros Limited, simply known as Jacobson's, moved from Prince Albert Road to 16 Portland Street between 1956-1957. The president of the company at that time was Hyman Isaac Jacobson, a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania. His wife, Rachel, acted as the company's secretary/treasurer. At one point, the store had two locations: Portland Street and MicMac Mall. When Jacobson died in 1969, the company presidency passed to Elliott M Jacobson. By 1975, the Portland Street location had closed, with the MicMac Mall location soon to follow. In the 1980s, the Jacobson's building on Portland Street was used as the police headquarters and a social club for officers called the Billy Club. Currently, it is Harbour Place, a combined residential and commercial space.)

Stop Four: Back home... for a moment

For the next part of your shopping trip, you're going to ask for a little help. You book it home and ask your dad if you can borrow the family car, a 1970 Oldsmobile. He gives you the keys, but reminds you to bring it back with gas still in the tank... unlike the last time you borrowed it. Oops!

Stop Five: The Lobster Hutch

You get behind the wheel and take a spin over to Tacoma Drive. You park the car and hear your stomach growling. You space cadet! You didn't eat any breakfast! Well, it's basically lunch time now. Might as well treat yourself to a meal at the Lobster Hutch!

As much as you know you could eat a full fish and chips family pack by yourself, you settle on a two-piece meal... with coleslaw... and a lobster roll... and a few shrimp. Delicious! You need to come out here more often.

(The Lobster Hutch opened on Hartlen Street in Dartmouth around 1970/1971. William Frank was the manager, but the business was owned by Earnest B. Edwards, president of Edwards Fine Foods. Edwards was perhaps best known for his Quinpool Road restaurant Town and Country. It was here that he first brought Kentucky Fried Chicken to Halifax after meeting the Colonel himself - Harland Sanders - at an event in Toronto in the late 1950s. Edwards Fine Foods eventually operated 14 Kentucky Fried Chicken locations. Unfortunately for the Lobster Hutch, it only remained active for about ten years before closing in 1980/1981.)

Stop Five: Canadian Tire

Now that you're packed full of seafood you have the strength and energy to keep shopping! Your kid brother has been hiding Canadian Tire ads for toboggans throughout the house: in the fridge, in the pantry, he even put one in your sock drawer! The boy is downright desperate. Who can blame him? He basically shattered his old wooden sled last year when he slid into the back of the garage. You decide to do him a favour and pick up a five foot aluminum toboggan. Maybe this one will survive the winter!

(Canadian Tire was founded by brothers J. W. and A. J. Billes in 1922. The first store in Halifax opened in 1934/1935 at 135 Granville Street. Dartmouth followed in 1959/1960 with its first Canadian Tire shop at 16 Commercial Street. This store focused primarily on automotive care. By the early 1970's, the Dartmouth shop had moved to 91 Tacoma Drive. In the 1973 Might's Greater Halifax and Dartmouth City Directory, the shop is listed as a Canadian Tire, but is also referred to as an associate store called Forbes Supplies Ltd. This is certainly due to Jack Forbes who is listed as president of this location. As part of this move to Tacoma Drive, the Canadian Tire was able to expand its selections to include sports equipment and hardware. By 1981, this particular Canadian Tire location had closed.)

Stop Six - Shopper's Drug Mart

You put the toboggan in the car, (it mostly fits), and head into Shoppers Drug Mart. Your mom is a quality lady, and you really want to show her that you care. You walk into the cosmetic aisle and a clerk asks if she can help you. You tell her you're looking for something your mom couldn't help but love.

She tells you that you can't go wrong with Chanel No. 5 perfume, and it happens to be a feature in the store this week. You choose the smaller sized bottle, knowing that your biggest purchase is yet to come.

(Shoppers Drug Mart got its start in Toronto as a small pharmacy owned by Leon Koffler in the early 1920's. Koffler's son, Murray, took over the business in the 1940s, and decided to remodel the stores to be more self service like a grocery store. Young Murray was able to expand the business and start its own private label, Life. This Shoppers Drug Mart in Dartmouth was one of only two Nova Scotia locations in 1973. The other could be found on East River Road in New Glasgow.)

Stop Seven - The Candy Bowl

A trip out to Tacoma Drive isn't complete without a visit to the Candy Bowl. This store used to be on Portland Street, which was the bomb, since it was so close to your place, but they moved out near the KMart Mall a couple of years back. 

Looks like you arrived just in time too! They're having a great sale on chocolates that ends tomorrow. Your dad has quite the sweet tooth, so this is basically the perfect gift for him. You pick up three boxes of the Ganongs chocolates and head back to the car.

(The Candy Bowl opened its first location on Spring Garden Road around 1951, with a secondary location opening on Quinpool Road in the mid-1950's. The Dartmouth location, originally located at 133 Portland Street, opened around 1958; by the early 1970s, they had moved to 50 Tacoma Drive. The stores were primarily run by the Sperdakes, a Greek family from New Glasgow. The Tacoma Drive location of the Candy Bowl closed in 1977/1978, but patrons were still able to visit the Spring Garden and Quinpool locations in the years that followed.)

Stop Eight: Nova Scotia Power Corporation

You drive the Oldsmobile back to downtown Dartmouth. You manage to get a parking spot right outside 26 Portland Street, and you're very happy for it. Your last gift is the biggest and most expensive, but it's a present the whole family will think is totally radical. You've pinched your pennies all year and you finally get the thrill of buying...

A Microwave Oven!

You even have enough money to afford the large R-6500 model. Normally spending this much money on something practical would be a real bummer, but you find yourself feeling very excited! It cooks a 5lb rib roast in 30 minutes? WILD! You manage to load the box into the car without crushing the candy or the perfume. Now where are you going to hide it when you get home...?

(Nova Scotia Light & Power Co. Ltd had a place at 26 Portland Street as far back as 1958. In 1973, they were listed in the Might City Directory as Nova Scotia Power Corp Electrical Appliances, suggesting that this location was more focused on sales of equipment than of the utility itself. By 1979, the location had closed. Today, 26 Portland Street is the home of Staggers Pub & Grub.)

Done in!

You sneak your purchases upstairs into your room. Opening the closet door, you push aside the box of your Rock'em Sock'em Robots game and hide the gifts safely inside. You're worn out from all your running around, but you're stoked you got something for everyone on your list. You sit down on the bed and turn on the radio. You've earned the right to chill, all the while imagining the delighted looks on their faces when they open their surprises.


Library Sources

Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, City Directory  (1930s-2000)

Halifax Regional Municipality [telephone Directory] (1973)

Map of Dartmouth, 1970's

Additional Sources

Photos:

Dartmouth Free Press

Canadian Tire for an Aluminum Toboggan , Dartmouth Free Press, The Third Section, December 12, 1973 , p. 5

Chanel No. 5, Shoppers Drug Mart, Dartmouth Free Press, December 12, 1973

Jacobson's, Dartmouth Free Press, December 12, 1973, p.7

Keddy's Keyboards, Dartmouth Free Press, December 12, 1973, p.3

Nova Scotia Power, Dartmouth Free Press, December 19, 1973, p. 2

Shoppers Drug Mart, Christmas Money Saver Logo, Dartmouth Free Press, December 12, 1973

Halifax Municipal Archives

Aerial Photograph of Lobster Hutch and Penhorn K-mart by Atlantic Air Survey, 1970s, Halifax Municipal Archives 101-80C-1-4-H-55

Bank of Montreal, 126 Portland Street, 1967, Halifax Municipal Archives, 101-80C-2-8

Dartmouth Sign, 1960's, Halifax Municipal Archives, 101-80C-6-1

Jacobson's department store as seen in aerial photo of Dartmouth 1960's, Halifax Municipal Archives, 101-80C-1-1.2

Halifax Chronicle Herald

Candy Bowl, Halifax Chronicle Herald, December 12, 1973 p. 11

Halifax Retales

Menu from the Lobster Hutch, 1970s, Halifax ReTales Twitter (@HalifaxReTales), December 20 2016

Mecum Auctions

1970 Oldsmobile Delta 88, photo from Mecum Auctions

Articles and References

Canadian Tire, The Canadian Encyclopedia

David Keddy, LinkedIn

Dignity Memorial, Christopher Sperdakes

History of Canadian Broadcasting, CFDR

Nova Scotia Business Laureates, Earnest Edwards

Shoppers Drug Mart, The Canadian Encyclopedia

Weather History for Halifax, NS December 14, 1973

Your Dictionary, Cool 1970's Slang

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