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  #1361  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2022, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
That photo really illustrates how much NSLC outlets have changed. This predates me, but I was told that in the early 1970s and before, you'd go to the NSLC and there would be a counter across with a divider of some sort where you'd tell the clerk what you wanted, they would go back into the store and retrieve it for you. No brightly lit stores with shelves displaying product where you could browse and decide what you want to buy - you had to know what you wanted before you went in there.
That doesn't exactly predate me. I can recall as a kid accompanying my dad on his weekly jaunts to pick up rum and Oland Export at the old NSLC at the base of Canal Street in Dartmouth. It always struck me as a bit sketchy, dark and dingy, a bit like visiting a jail with its high barred windows. While the stores became a bit brighter and more open, they were still pretty functional, in no way intended to market or promote the product. Some of those buildings survive: the one in Annapolis Royal is about the same vintage as the late Hollis Street store. An NSLC exec laughingly shared with me that it was only a couple of years ago they took the bars off its windows.

As anachronistic as the old "hide the product" retail model may seem, it's really not that much different than how the NSLC treats cannabis today.

The original NSLC Canal Street building still stands. It's now a metal shop. The barred windows are still there.

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  #1362  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2022, 12:19 PM
Saul Goode Saul Goode is offline
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...the old NSLC at the base of Canal Street in Dartmouth. It always struck me as a bit sketchy, dark and dingy, a bit like visiting a jail with its high barred windows. While the stores became a bit brighter and more open, they were still pretty functional, in no way intended to market or promote the product. Some of those buildings survive: the one in Annapolis Royal is about the same vintage as the late Hollis Street store. An NSLC exec laughingly shared with me that it was only a couple of years ago they took the bars off its windows.

As anachronistic as the old "hide the product" retail model may seem, it's really not that much different than how the NSLC treats cannabis today.
Sadly, I find I'm suddenly old enough (it really does creep up on you...) not only to remember such stores but actually to have purchased alcohol in some of them. I have fond memories of students having to leave Acadia football games early enough on Saturday afternoons to ensure a place in line on the sidewalk outside the old NSLC on Main Street that would get them through the door before the 5PM closing, there of course being no evening or (perish the thought) Sunday hours in those days. And it was only many years later that NSLC finally accepted anything other than cash! That was another thing to bear in mind as a student: make sure to hit the bank before 3 on Friday or you'd be cashless for the weekend. But somehow we made it all work.

One of those old-model stores survived in Halifax until the early 80s on Cornwallis street too.

And yes, that's pretty much exactly the way NSLC treats cannabis retailing. But honestly, that stuff all comes in pretty compact packaging which would make it a very tempting shoplifting target. Also, like tobacco, it's governed by very severe packaging and labeling restrictions which means there'd be precious little for prospective purchasers to see but generic labels if it were on open shelf display anyway. It just doesn't lend itself to a self-serve model very well.

Last edited by Saul Goode; Apr 29, 2022 at 12:39 PM.
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  #1363  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2022, 12:19 PM
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I never actually went into one of those old "counter" stores, but I do remember as a kid waiting in the back seat of the car while my dad did. There was one he went to on Cornwallis St in DT Halifax, and I believe another was in a building that still exists on Young St in Halifax, across the street from and just west of the Superstore:

https://goo.gl/maps/rnTjA9nScvYUeH3G8

The HRM archives posted a pic of the interior of one of them a while back, I believe this one being on either Agricola or Granville St.:






I also recall him needing a permit of some sort that he had to apparently show to the clerk before being allowed to make a purchase. I don't know what was involved in obtaining that although I suspect the bar was not a very high one.
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  #1364  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2022, 2:24 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Here's a photo from the mid-60s of the oil tanks that replaced the gas holders on Lower Water Street (opposite the Water Street generating plant). That's the rear of the old Victoria Apartments at the corner of Hollis and Morris in the background.


Source
Great pic! I'm geeking-out a little on the Mercury drilling rig as well (Mercury-branded trucks were a Canadian anomaly). I seem to recall those oil tanks, which I assume were used for diesel generators (for back-up power generation in the event of coal-fired going down?). Presumably they were removed when the plant was decommissioned.

The coal gas holders are something that I wasn't aware of until I read about them on this forum. From other readings I recall that coal gas was used for street lighting, as well as lighting in some homes and larger buildings, and perhaps for cooking and heating in some cases(?).

I don't have any info about the infrastructure involved, but presumably it was transferred through metal pipes buried under the streets. I do recall in reading about the Poor House fire that this building did have gas lighting, so the piping did make it up to Robie Street at least.

I do wonder whether people were nervous living around them, but I also don't recall reading about any gas holder explosions in Halifax, so I suppose they just became part of the landscape in the neighbourhood.

Here is a pic of one of the holders from the Municipal Archives, giving an idea of its size:
Birney Car no. 117 by Halifax Municipal Archives, on Flickr

With info from wikipedia and comparing to the photos, I'm thinking that these ones were water-sealed telescoping holders.

I understand that coal gas is made by heating the coal without the presence of oxygen, but beyond that I have no knowledge. I was wondering whether the coal gas was also used for power generation, or if the boilers were heated directly by burning coal (which would seem more thermally efficient).

The wikipedia page on NSL&P reveals that the evolution of the business was quite complicated (and quite fascinating as well). The street railway and gas production businesses that eventually enveloped electricity production as well are quite interesting.
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  #1365  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2022, 4:05 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
The coal gas holders are something that I wasn't aware of until I read about them on this forum. From other readings I recall that coal gas was used for street lighting, as well as lighting in some homes and larger buildings, and perhaps for cooking and heating in some cases(?).

I don't have any info about the infrastructure involved, but presumably it was transferred through metal pipes buried under the streets. I do recall in reading about the Poor House fire that this building did have gas lighting, so the piping did make it up to Robie Street at least.

I do wonder whether people were nervous living around them, but I also don't recall reading about any gas holder explosions in Halifax, so I suppose they just became part of the landscape in the neighbourhood.

Here is a pic of one of the holders from the Municipal Archives, giving an idea of its size:
Birney Car no. 117 by Halifax Municipal Archives, on Flickr

With info from wikipedia and comparing to the photos, I'm thinking that these ones were water-sealed telescoping holders.

I understand that coal gas is made by heating the coal without the presence of oxygen, but beyond that I have no knowledge. I was wondering whether the coal gas was also used for power generation, or if the boilers were heated directly by burning coal (which would seem more thermally efficient).

The wikipedia page on NSL&P reveals that the evolution of the business was quite complicated (and quite fascinating as well). The street railway and gas production businesses that eventually enveloped electricity production as well are quite interesting.
I remember as a kid going with my parents to look at a house that was for sale on Lawrence St. near Windsor. It was one of those large Victorians you find in that area and was a real time capsule. Most everything remained from the longtime occupant and it was a real Miss Havisham type of vibe, everything old, dusty, and untouched. One of the things that remained but were thankfully long abandoned were the gas jets in the walls that I presume once provided light.

I read somewhere that town gas was not suitable for heating (I guess it didn't provide enough BTUs when burned) so it was only useful for lighting. If that was true it amazes me to think that people here were still using gaslight in the '40s and '50s. But that Wiki page says the VG Hospital became a NSLP gas customer in 1948 and I can't imagine they were using it for lighting, so who knows. That page also says the Lower Water Street plant generated electricity from coal.

Large gas holders were a fixture in many US cities. I know these from Queens, NY, were used to hold natural gas. They were demolished about 20 years ago and were reportedly 400 feet tall:

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  #1366  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2022, 4:50 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I remember as a kid going with my parents to look at a house that was for sale on Lawrence St. near Windsor. It was one of those large Victorians you find in that area and was a real time capsule. Most everything remained from the longtime occupant and it was a real Miss Havisham type of vibe, everything old, dusty, and untouched. One of the things that remained but were thankfully long abandoned were the gas jets in the walls that I presume once provided light.

I read somewhere that town gas was not suitable for heating (I guess it didn't provide enough BTUs when burned) so it was only useful for lighting. If that was true it amazes me to think that people here were still using gaslight in the '40s and '50s. But that Wiki page says the VG Hospital became a NSLP gas customer in 1948 and I can't imagine they were using it for lighting, so who knows. That page also says the Lower Water Street plant generated electricity from coal.
Fascinating story about the Victorian your parents looked at. I can almost smell the mustiness while I'm picturing it in my mind. The gas jets for lighting make me wonder how many fires were started by that type of lighting back in the day (just like the practice of lighting a Christmas tree with real candles...).

Electrical generation was certainly a game changer, but even though the first attempts at power generation were made locally in the late 1800s, it's almost surprising to think that more widespread use in Halifax didn't start to happen until approx 100 years ago. Even then, it took a while for almost everybody to switch over, as evidenced by the fact that the old ice houses on Lake Banook in Dartmouth stood until they were taken down in the mid 1950s - so the majority switch-over to electric refrigerators would probably only have predated this by a few years.

The VGH as a gas customer is a little puzzling, unless they used the gas for another purpose (like Bunsen burners in the labs, maybe?).

Ah, I didn't read the wiki page deeply enough to get the coal info. Though I think I almost answered my own question as it wouldn't have made sense to heat coal to extract gas only to use the gas for heating again. Gas only made sense in that it was easily delivered by pressure through pipes, and as you mention wouldn't have generated enough BTUs to be used in heating huge boilers to run the turbines.
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  #1367  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2022, 5:33 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by ns_kid View Post
That doesn't exactly predate me. I can recall as a kid accompanying my dad on his weekly jaunts to pick up rum and Oland Export at the old NSLC at the base of Canal Street in Dartmouth. It always struck me as a bit sketchy, dark and dingy, a bit like visiting a jail with its high barred windows. While the stores became a bit brighter and more open, they were still pretty functional, in no way intended to market or promote the product. Some of those buildings survive: the one in Annapolis Royal is about the same vintage as the late Hollis Street store. An NSLC exec laughingly shared with me that it was only a couple of years ago they took the bars off its windows.

As anachronistic as the old "hide the product" retail model may seem, it's really not that much different than how the NSLC treats cannabis today.

The original NSLC Canal Street building still stands. It's now a metal shop. The barred windows are still there.

Interesting. By the time I became of age, the NSLC on Canal had moved up the street to this building, which is also where I had to go to pick up my official liquor licence (which was an ID to prove I was over 19, and had my picture on it - unlike NS driver's licenses at the time) - my ticket to (legally) get into bars and buy beer and liquor. The store was more of a self-serve layout then IIRC, but was still a little stoic in appearance.

It's funny how much the alcohol industry has changed over the past 40 - 50 years, although NSLC still has its claws into private producers/retailers to protect their profit centres. I suppose it is more of a sign of social change than business model, but I recall the bluster over cold beer being offered in the stores, and also for drive-thrus. It's like people worried that folks would just buy the pre-chilled beer and drink it on the spot, thus creating widespread beer drinking in public places... which of course never happened.
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  #1368  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2022, 7:21 PM
Saul Goode Saul Goode is offline
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Interesting. By the time I became of age, the NSLC on Canal had moved up the street to this building
...which started life as a Dominion supermarket.
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  #1369  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2022, 8:18 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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...which started life as a Dominion supermarket.
Which I vaguely remember as well.

Competition for the Capitol Store and IGA nearby on Portland Street.

127 Portland St., Capitol Stores by Halifax Municipal Archives, on Flickr

159 Portland St. corner of Victoria Rd., Portland IGA Food Market by Halifax Municipal Archives, on Flickr

...though I remember my parents mostly going to the Dominion Store in the Dartmouth Shopping Centre.
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  #1370  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2022, 9:07 PM
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Man, I think a store like that one in that location would do pretty well these days with the revival of residential in that area.
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  #1371  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2022, 4:50 AM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Man, I think a store like that one in that location would do pretty well these days with the revival of residential in that area.
Yeah, isn't that the truth. It's amazing how cyclical this stuff can be. People are again wanting fine-grained walkable areas with smaller stores where they can get what they need, when it actually was that way 50+ years ago before we blew it all up to go in the direction of malls and big box stores...
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  #1372  
Old Posted May 10, 2022, 5:52 PM
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Halifax Municipal Archives posted a bunch of new photos to Flickr. I particularly liked the shots of Hollis and the Purdy's Wharf area.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/halifaxarchives/



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  #1373  
Old Posted May 10, 2022, 9:33 PM
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Whomever is responsible for IDing these photos at the HRM Archives must have changed because they are really mailing it in with this batch. The two pictures above are labeled as unidentified but the first is the then-Sheraton Hotel (now the Marriott Harbourfront) with Purdy's under construction in behind, while the second is of a very soot-stained Halifax Club on Hollis St, with the 2 buildings to its right now the site of the Joseph Howe Building across from Province House.
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  #1374  
Old Posted May 19, 2022, 4:42 PM
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On the topic of schools, from another thread, here's a photo of Alexandria School on Brunswick. This streetscape degraded remarkably:


https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=360
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  #1375  
Old Posted May 19, 2022, 10:34 PM
mleblanc mleblanc is offline
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On the topic of schools, from another thread, here's a photo of Alexandria School on Brunswick. This streetscape degraded remarkably:


https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=360
Wow, what a beautiful structure. I had no idea that existed, thank you for sharing!
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  #1376  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2022, 9:19 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Halifax Municipal Archives posted a bunch of new photos to Flickr. I particularly liked the shots of Hollis and the Purdy's Wharf area.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/halifaxarchives/

Giving this pic a second look, I noticed the rough shape that the power pole is in, and suddenly remembered how linemen used to wear those spikes on the side of their boots, that they would dig into the poles to climb them. You can see one of the rungs they would grab onto with their hands, and a number of small holes in the pole made by the spikes.

Much different than today, where they pretty much exclusively use bucket trucks. I'm sure the old method would have failed a number of health and safety rules that are in place today...
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  #1377  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2022, 2:21 PM
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  #1378  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2022, 2:51 PM
terrynorthend terrynorthend is offline
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Giving this pic a second look, I noticed the rough shape that the power pole is in, and suddenly remembered how linemen used to wear those spikes on the side of their boots, that they would dig into the poles to climb them. You can see one of the rungs they would grab onto with their hands, and a number of small holes in the pole made by the spikes.

Much different than today, where they pretty much exclusively use bucket trucks. I'm sure the old method would have failed a number of health and safety rules that are in place today...
I follow a linesman on YouTube from NB Power. He still uses the climbing gear on occasion, as a lot of poles aren't accessible by the heavy bucket truck.
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  #1379  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2022, 5:36 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I follow a linesman on YouTube from NB Power. He still uses the climbing gear on occasion, as a lot of poles aren't accessible by the heavy bucket truck.
Thanks for the info. I was only thinking about what I see around the city, but yeah it makes sense that in more remote areas they would have to get up there using other means. That kind of blows away my 'health and safety' comment, though.
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  #1380  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2022, 5:38 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Wow... by the post-explosion photo you would have assumed that this was a tear-down, but it looks like it was repaired as its basic configuration survives. Looks like it must have been jacked up and had a new foundation poured at some point in its life.

Great find!
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