Fleming, Sir Sandford

Fleming, Sir Sandford

Fleming, Sir Sandford: see standard time.
Sir Sandford Fleming Park is a 95 acre (38 ha) urban park located in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Summer retreat

Sir Sandford Fleming established a summer retreat on the property fronting the Northwest Arm, part of Halifax Harbour, during the 1880s after finishing construction of the Intercolonial Railway. He called it the "Dingle".

Dingle Tower

In 1908, Fleming donated the property to the citizens of Halifax for use as a park and proposed the construction of a tower within the "Dingle" to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of representative government in Nova Scotia; the province having been the first colony in the British Empire outside the United Kingdom to have such a form of government.

An ardent imperialist, Fleming also intended the proposed tower to serve as a memorial to the development of parliamentary institutions in the British Empire, now the Commonwealth. The plan was accepted by the City of Halifax and the local Canadian Club undertook a fundraising drive to raise money for construction. Donations were received from throughout the British Empire and plaques commemorating the contributions, as well as stones from all of the countries of the Empire were placed on the interior walls.

The ten-storey stone "Dingle Tower" was formally dedicated in an impressive ceremony in August 1912 by Canada's Governor General the Duke of Connaught who was Queen Victoria's son Prince Arthur. The presence of members of the Royal Family and dignitaries from other parts of the Empire emphasized the importance of the occasion.

Two large bronze lions at the foot of the tower were donated by the Royal Colonial Institute of London in 1913. They were designed by British sculptor, Albert Bruce-Joy and are similar to Sir Edwin Landseer's lions at Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.

Present-day park

The Dingle Tower is open to the public in the summer months and offers spectacular views of the city and Northwest Arm.

The park contains two walking trails passing through forests, heath barrens, saltwater marsh, and a frog pond. As well, the park also hosts a small sandy beach.

The water quality of the beach has been a long, contentious issue due to decades of raw sewage and pollution dumped into the harbour. However, recent reports suggest that the water may be safe to swim in, and further tests are currently in progress. As of August 1, 2008, the Dingle beach will be open to the public, with lifeguards present.


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