Downtown Dartmouth is enjoying a Renaissance and if you hurry, you can still join the cool kids.
Thanks to decades regarded as Halifax’s edgier sibling — think Princess Margaret to Halifax’s
Queen Elizabeth — your money still goes further here than on the peninsula. And there’s
certainly no compromise in the quality of real estate or neighbourhood.
The first British settlers began construction of Dartmouth in 1750, in the area the native Mi’qmak
called Ponamogoatitjg, or Salmon Ground. It grew apace with Halifax for decades, since its
string of lakes lent itself to creating water passage across to the Bay of Fundy. A handful of
monuments to these early developers are scattered across downtown, memorializing the
whaling fleets and fishing boats that once anchored in Halifax Harbour.
The Halifax Explosion leveled Dartmouth’s downtown in 1917, as it did Halifax’s North End. As a
result, there aren’t as many heritage properties here, but the homes constructed in the wake of
the explosion have every bit as much character as the row houses on Bauer Street or Fuller
Terrace. So what’s the difference? Many of these homes are still waiting for their renovation,
which means you’ll pay $100,000 less than you would on the other side of the harbour. The
deals you can find are remarkable, especially considering the waterfront views are protected
from future development by the active railway tracks.
So the homes are charming and affordable, but is there anything to do?
Well, thanks in part to the development of King’s Wharf and Halifax’s steep rental prices, the
nightlife here is choice, and only getting better. Chef Renee Lavalle’s award-winning Canteen
started as a lunch counter above the coffee house Two if By Sea, but has now grown into its
own location around the corner. The space above TIBS is now occupied by YeahYeahs Pizza,
which is even better than you’re imagining. Battery Park features rare beers from
microbreweries across Canada.
The landmark King’s Wharf development is home to Il Trullo, serving regional Italian cuisine with
local Nova Scotia products, and The Watch that Ends the night is an emphatically Canadian
cocktail bar and bistro, offering “cured cuisine” and “curious cocktails.” And don’t overlook the
food trucks, tea rooms, pop art galleries, and local businesses of every stripe that are
New, curated drinks-and- dining experiences seem to pop up every few months. And there’s
plenty of room for more. Downtown Dartmouth’s Renaissance is still young, and so is the
population that it nurtures.
As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, traffic in Dartmouth is much more easily managed than in
Halifax. The drive from downtown to Dartmouth Crossing — Home Depot, Costco, Walmart,
Michaels — is less than 10 minutes, and hassle-free. There’s a 12-theatre Cineplex with IMAX,
and its parking lot backs on to Shubie Park. Not to mention the only Canadian IKEA east of
Montreal, which is a dream come true for many homeowners.
Of course, commuting to work in Burnside the Micmac Mall or Magazine Hill is even faster.
You can probably tell, we’re passionate about Dartmouth! And we’re not the only ones — give
us a call today, so you can be a cool kid, too.