As a means of commemorating the 250th anniversary of Halifax, the Archives — which has been a keeper of Nova Scotia's documentary heritage for nearly 150 of those years — wanted very much to contribute a product which would help to define the city across its long history. We recognized early that cities are shaped by their inhabitants, just as much as by their physical location and built environment; accordingly, we decided to focus on the people of Halifax, seen against the ever-changing backdrop of the city.
Our focus is a little ambitious, since we also wanted to include the broader possibilities offered by the new Halifax Regional Municipality — and so, for example, we have included the round-up of Sable Island ponies on that isolated electoral outpost of HRM, paired with their subsequent sale on the Halifax waterfront.
The photographic holdings at Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management are vast — some 500,000 images by the last estimate, covering all aspects of our province's visual heritage. It has been a challenge to select out of these, some 150 images best illuminating the chosen topic. Staff of our Public and Support Services Division are most deserving of recognition for their initiative and commitment to bringing this publication project to fruition. In particular, my thanks are extended to Garry Shutlak and Philip Hartling for their ingenuity in identifying 'the best of the best' — and then creating text to accompany the images; and to Lois Yorke for overall project coordination.
The development of Halifax and Its People / 1749-1999 as a virtual exhibit has resulted from a collaboration with Nimbus Publishing Ltd., Halifax, which will see the publication of an 'exhibition catalogue' in traditional hard-copy format during the autumn of 1999. This innovative partnership is in keeping with our objective of providing expanded and enhanced public access to the institution. The exhibit will remain indefinitely on the Archives' web site as a learning tool, exhibit experience and resource guide for all who visit. It will also be available in conventional book form for those who would like a lasting reminder of Halifax at the 250-year mark.
For those of you already acquainted with the visual history of the Halifax Regional Municipality, it is my hope that you will find 'something new' within these pages. For those of you exploring for the first time, I welcome you to this publication and trust that it will enrich your knowledge of the area — not only during this year of Halifax's 250th, but also for the years ahead, which will bring even greater potential and change to the people who live in and shape this community.