Dartmouth Park

This online and self-guided tour of the geology of historic Dartmouth Commons was published in conjunction with the Geological Association of Canada meeting in Halifax in May 2022. This tour features the interesting glacial geology and cultural history that can be seen from these historic vantage points.

Travel back in time to the early theories of glacial geology in the mid-1800s and visualize over one kilometer of ice scouring the landscape 18,000 years ago.

This tour begins at the Alderney Ferry Terminal.

Participants from Halifax can take the 15 minute passenger ferry crossing to the Alderney Ferry Terminal in Dartmouth from the Water Street Ferry Terminal for a cost of $2.75. If you ask for a transfer on paying for entry you could use the transfer for your return trip to Halifax within two hours.

You can access an online version of the route on Google Maps App by clicking < Link >

The 2.5 km route was chosen to minimize physical barriers and steep inclines to promote accessibility. The route involves an elevation gain of 43 m and a couple of steep sections were unavoidable.

Use caution when walking along the busy streets and use designated public crosswalks, staying visible and aware of your surroundings.

Tour Highlights

  • Walking through the historic neighbourhood and park you will see the Halifax Formation shale and mudstone bedrock that is used in the extensive retaining walls and foundations of historic houses.
  • The route includes historic vantage points to look out the Halifax Harbour. At the highest point of the route you can see glacial striations exposed that demonstrate the direction of glacial ice flow 18,000 years ago.
  • Large glacial erratic boulders are also seen in the historic park.
  • The park is also the location of the site of mining and economic importance. The Cleverdon Mine site is now overgrown – but was a small mining operation in the 1850 that was central to the colony of Nova Scotia winning legal title to mineral rights that had been held the General Mining Association.

Glacial Striations

The glacial striations noted at the highest point of the route have also been provided here as a digital model that was developed when the light was just right for showing the grooves in the shale bedrock.

Explore more

Geotour Introduction
Geotour Detailed Notes
Additional Info/Resources