Dingle Tower Dedication, August 14, 1912
Ceremony at Memorial Tower in Sir Sandford Fleming Park
Sir Sandford Fleming Park is named for the Scottish-Canadian engineer and businessman who, in 1908, gifted his property to Halifax to be used as a park. Fleming introduced international standard time to North America and was a driving force behind the construction of the Intercolonial and Canadian Pacific Railways. The Fleming family lived in Halifax for a short time in the 1860s and thereafter maintained an estate on the Northwest Arm - a retreat Sandford Fleming affectionately called The Dingle. The year Fleming donated his property to the City of Halifax marked 150 years since Nova Scotia established its first representative government. Fleming proposed that the City construct a tower in the park to commemorate the anniversary. The 34-metre stone tower was designed by Sydney Dumaresq and Andrew Cobb. Two brass lions were positioned at the tower’s entrance, donated by the Royal Colonial Institute of London. Inside, stone plaques from countries across the British Empire and Canadian provinces were placed in the walls. These could be appreciated by visitors climbing the staircase up ten stories to the viewing platform, which overlooked the park, water, and Halifax. A prominent feature on the Northwest Arm, the Memorial Tower was designed to commemorate not only the province’s anniversary but also Halifax’s relationship with the British Empire.
On August 14, 1912, the His Royal Highness Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught and the first royal Governor General of Canada, arrived at Sir Sandford Fleming Park to officially dedicate the Memorial Tower. The City of Halifax was so honoured by the visit that City Clerk, Fred Monaghan, created a commemorative booklet of the dedication, outlining the pomp and circumstance of the occasion. The dedication ceremony included "patriotic songs by school children," and presentations of gifts from the City of Bristol, Australia, the Royal Colonial Institute, and the Canadian Club, who financed the construction of the Tower. Sir Sandford Fleming ceremoniously delivered the 1908 title deeds for Sir Sandford Fleming Park to Mayor F. P. Bligh. Invited guests - who included the Mayor of Bristol, the Lieutenant Governor and the Premier of Quebec, the Governor of Newfoundland, Senators, Captains, and Clergy - then joined "the royal party" for a civic luncheon at the Waegwoltic Club. Festivities continued into the night with a regatta, "illuminations," and a procession of decorated boats.
In 2008, one-hundred years after Fleming gifted his lands to the people of Halifax, Sir Sandford Fleming Park and the Memorial Tower were designated a National Historic Site.