Harbour Swimming

Swimming in Halifax Harbour and the Northwest Arm

These images from Halifax's past show how the City supported recreational swimming on its ocean beaches with docks and lifeguards, and earlier "Bathing Houses."

 Earlier "bathing" facilities

With much of the Northwest Arm the preserve of private clubs and estates, public bathing houses were popular recreational destinations. Many city-dwellers took the tram down to the bottom of Quinpool Road to swim off Horseshoe Island.

Black and white image of Bathers enjoy the waters of Northwest Arm at Horseshoe Island on Regatta Day, 1912 [102-106-1-7 (cropped from original)]

Bathers in Northwest Arm near Horseshoe Island on Regatta Day, 1912. HMA 102-106-1-7

Plans for the Bathing Beach at Horseshoe Island, 1926

Black and white site plan for bathing beach at Horseshoe Island, 1926.

Plan for Bathing Beach at Horseshoe Island, 1926. HMA 102-39P-CC-8-5920

The Municipal Archives also holds plans for bathing houses from the 1870s and 1890s at Chain Rocks and off "the North Ferry Dock," where the Dockyards are now. These earlier municipal changing facilities probably encouraged hygiene as much as later efforts supported fitness and recreation.

Black and white architectural plans for bathing house at Horseshoe Island, 1926.

Architectural plan for Bathing House at Horseshoe Island, 1926. HMA 102-39P-CC-8-5921

This City Engineer's Office plan from 1926 shows the locations of the change rooms, swimming platform with diving tower, and the docking wharves. There was capacity for 50 women's and 50 men's changing rooms.