Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Could Have Been

A couple of nights ago our family took a trip to Halifax. As I was looking out at the night view from the window of our 7th floor hotel room, I started thinking about some of the similarities of this view with Annapolis Royal. Those of you have been reading this blog for any length of time will know that the view across the Annapolis Basin to Granville Ferry is a frequent source of inspiration. Like Annapolis Royal and Granville Ferry, Halifax and Dartmouth are functionally one community divided by a body of water. The longer I watched the Halifax waterfront, the more I started to wonder what would have happened to Annapolis Royal had the capital of Nova Scotia not moved to Halifax in 1749.

Through the Acadian period and under the British until 1749 Annapolis Royal had served as the Capital of Acadie and Nova Scotia. With the founding of Halifax a certain amount of official attention was drawn away from Annapolis Royal. While the garrison remained at Fort Anne until 1854, this was increasingly a port of secondary strategic importance. As it should, Halifax grew and prospered as the capital. A provincial capital means growth and development. If only to accommodate the housing and living needs of the bureaucracy, a capital tends to be a fairly large community. Add to this the industries and merchants who want to be close to the seat of government and the community grows larger. Of course a capital must have grand buildings to house a legislature and and other public functions. In no time at all you have developed quite a large community.

To be clear, this was really more musing on what could have been rather than what I would like to see. While the population of Annapolis Royal is currently similar to what would have been found in the 1750s, I am perfectly content with the view from the Annapolis Royal waterfront. I still find it interesting to wonder how different this view would be if the capital had not moved.

All for now,

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