In honour of Natal Day (and as a history buff myself) I thought it would be a good time to delve back into the archives and take a peek into what the Chamber (then known as the Halifax Board of Trade) was up to 50 years ago. In our library we have bound archival copies of the Commercial News, which was the 1960s equivalent of today’s Business Voice magazine, with news from the Halifax Board of Trade and the Dartmouth Chamber of Commerce included. I took a look through the issues from 1964 and have found a few gems – and found, as always, that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
At left is the cover of the April 1964 edition of Commercial News. The cover story celebrates the 9th anniversary of the MacDonald Bridge. Today, we are still talking about the bridge – except now instead of it still being a relatively new convenience, we are talking about extending its life via a huge redecking project known as The Big Lift . True to 1960s form, though, they seem to take a more poetic view of the bridge than many might today: “It is something more than a link – it is more the giant ‘stitch in time’, knitting the patience and perseverance; the pride of separate pasts into the progress, the prosperity and the promise of one, united future. For it seems to me that just as surely as Spring follows Winter the fraternal twin-cities of Halifax and Dartmouth must become as one great Maritime metropolis, melded in a singular identity. And a bridge – the giant ‘stitch in time’ – will have it brought about.” Funny that it took another thirty years to actually amalgamate the cities, and that we should finally, fifty years later, have a new brand for our city that gives us just that – a singular identity for the former twin cities.
In the March 1964 issue (left) we find a wonderful history lesson about the Chamber itself. Click on the picture to view a larger image and take a read through the history of the oldest Chamber in North America (or, as it claims here, in the whole of the Commonwealth!). If you pick up a Business Voice magazine today, you will find a section called “New & Noted”, listing new members to the Chamber, and one called “Members in the News”, highlighting great news from Chamber members. Though the format as changed (and we now list people’s email addresses as contact information!) the idea has stayed the same since 1964. Check out the listing of new members and the “executive” news from July of that year: Note the Board of Trade’s stated aim of “making this a better area in which to live, work and do business” – a goal to which we still aspire today. The Halifax Chamber of Commerce strives to continuously improve our services to members, and that has not changed in fifty years either: Readers of Commercial News were asked to clip out and mail a survey indicating which parts of the magazine they read the most. Today, we use an online survey tool, but we’re still always interested in member feedback. Commercial News had member advertisements in it, too. Check out this gem from Hillcrest Motors – wouldn’t you love to get a New Beetle for $1760? (Don’t call that number, though – they can now be reached at (902) 453-2790 or www.hillcrestvw.com.)
I hope everyone had a great Natal Day weekend. I’ll leave you with a look at what you could have enjoyed in Dartmouth on Natal Day fifty years ago: Jennifer Pierce is the Member Services Specialist at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. She has a BA in with a major in History from Dalhousie University and loves to read historical novels and non-fiction. She can be reached at (902) 481-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.