Fairview Historical Society Articles Archives

Three Special Fairview People

Submitted by Devonna Edwards

Robert “Bob” Cole

Bob was born in Armdale in 1922 and at the age of seventeen he enlisted with The Princess Louise Fusiliers during World War 2 where he was trained as a machine gunner and driver then fought in Italy at Cassino, Ortona and Revenna. After he and his companions reached their objective under heavy fire, they ran out of ammunition and were surrounded by the Germans. He then became a Prisoner of War (POW) and was shipped by railway boxcar in the cold winter of 1944 to the horrible Stalag 7B, which was a forced labour camp located at Memmingen, Germany.

Memmingen is a town in Swabia, Bavaria, Germany.

Nazi Germany operated around 1,000 Prisoner-of-War (POW) Camps during World War 2. Approximately 9,000 Canadian soldiers, airman, naval sailors and merchant seamen were captured by the enemy and held as prisoners of War (POW) during World War 2.

Prisoners of various nationalities were generally separated from each other by barbed-wire fences, subdividing each Stalag (German term used for Prisoner of War Camps) into sections. The experience of the Canadian POW was hard both mentally and physically. The prisoners were forced to carry out slave labour on a starvation diet in which many prisoners lost at least 40 lbs. in weight. The prisoners suffered from malnutrition and many died from this or disease. The Germans had them working in factories, coal-mines, quarries and on farms or on railroad maintenance. The guards were hostile and punishment was issued for the smallest disregard of camp rules.

The sacrifice of those who suffered as POWs should not be forgotten. We honour Bob Cole and the men who helped make sure that victory was achieved in the Second World War. After Liberation, Bob was sent to England to recover and then returned home to Halifax. He then operated two service stations, the first one was called “The Biggest Little Service Station in the Maritimes” and it was located in Fairview on the Bedford Highway, not too far from the Fairview Underpass. A live parrot, perched on a pole stood in front of his station.

His second service station, which was a White Rose Station, was located across the street from his first station and stood in front of a Rock Quarry. Today a car dealership is located where the Quarry once stood.

Bob Cole lived with his wife Rita and three children Pamela, Carmen and Dallas on Dutch Village Road in Fairview. They once had a pet monkey which I can remember seeing swinging from the trees in their back yard. Having a pet monkey was not uncommon in the late 1950s and early 1960s, my grandmother had a pet monkey called Tinker and he was quite the character. Bob was an active member of the Fairview Legion and was Chairman of the Poppy Fund for many years. Bob died in 2016. Today a large apartment called The Edison stands on the site of his former home in Fairview.

Iris Berlie MacKelvey Belle (Carnell) MacDonald

Belle was born on Indian Isles, a small remote island off Fogo Island, Newfoundland. She passed grade 12 by correspondence and while waiting to be accepted at the Grace Maternity Hospital in St. John’s to study nursing, she taught school in St. John’s. In 1944 Belle graduated as a Registered Nurse. While in St. John’s she met and married the love of her life Colin MacDonald, a Canadian soldier from Truro, Nova Scotia who was stationed in St. John’s during World War 2. After the war they moved to Dartmouth, N.S. and Belle accepted a job at the Grace Maternity Hospital in Halifax. They then moved to 30 McFatridge Road in Fairview.

After leaving the Grace Maternity Hospital, she moved on to work at the Halifax Infirmary Hospital on Queen Street. At the Halifax Infirmary Hospital she worked as a Head Nurse in the Premature Birth Nursery (Neonatal Unit) for 25 years giving tender loving care to all the tiny babies there. Belle’s husband Colin had a heart attack when he was a young man and never fully recovered his health, due to this fact Belle took care of her seven children and a sick husband on a nurse’s salary. She was a hard, dedicated worker who worked long hours.

At the hospital, the work load was heavy, besides caring for these tiny babies the nursery nurses had to make the babies formula and sterilize the bottles, there was no ready-made formula in disposable bottles which is found in every nursery today. Also there were no disposable diapers, all soiled diapers were sent to the hospital laundry to be washed and dried before they were sent back to the nursery to be folded along with baby blankets, little nighties and under-shirts. It was a huge responsibility to be in charge of this unit. Belle was well liked and respect, not only by her colleagues but by all the nursing students (class of 1968) who she taught in the Preemie Nursery, she schooled us well with kindness and patients.

Belle and Colin’s seven children were Jack, Judy, Colin, Ann, Ricky, Mickey and Michelle, all successful in their own chosen fields. Belle taught her children the value of hard work, honesty, love of family and to give back to their community, something none of her children have forgotten. Belle MacDonald passed away on Christmas morning in 2000 but she will not be forgotten. She has been honoured in many ways;

From Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, she made Canada a better place and is named at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, as “A Nation Builder.”

Two of her sons, Mickey MacDonald, owner of Micco Development and former owner of Down East Communications and Colin MacDonald, Co-Founder and CEO of Clearwater, donated one million dollars to the Grace Hospital in St John’s Newfoundland where their mother did her nursing training. As well they also donated another one million to the Neonatal Unit in Halifax.

The brothers also donated to the The Bella Rose Arts Center, a theatre adjacent to Halifax West High School on Thomas Raddall Drive in Clayton Park, named after Belle MacDonald and her granddaughter Rose MacDonald, daughter of Stephanie and Mickey MacDonald.

Belle was a woman who never had time to go to the theatre. She never took a summer vacation, never had time for anything but her family and work. The family had a sculpture of their parent’s images (Colin and Belle MacDonald) engraved on a plaque at the entrance of Kearney Lake Estates, in loving memory to them.

In October 2002, Phyllis Jardine wrote an article in “The Annals of St. Anne”, a beautiful story called “Lessons From a Dress Up Box” in which she called Belle MacDonald, “a Guardian Angel”, to her baby daughter who was in Belle’s care at the Preemie Nursery at the time. She told of how Belle gave loving care to her baby and encouraged the parents not to give up hope, by telling them in their darkest hour, not to worry. She said, “Your baby is a fighter- embracing life,”

Donnie Poole His Life and Remembrance

Donnie’s family was known for their bakery business, located near the bottom of Main Avenue. His father stared a business in Fairview, called Poole’s Bakery and I remember the wonderful smells that would drift into our yard which was behind their property. I also recall that many housewives from the area would purchase their scrubbing buckets from there; the pails prior to purchase were delivered to the bakery containing all their baking supplies.

Donnie Poole was born on July 9, 1931, he grew up in the family bakery atmosphere and at age 12 years old he began to learn the logistics of the bakery business. At an early age he moved to Middleton, Nova Scotia and opened a very successful bakery business of his own.

He decided to move back to the Halifax area where he went into the construction business and to supplement his income, he went into the Taxi business. In 1956-57 he became a dedicated member of the Fairview Legion where he volunteered for many duties to help make the Legion a better place. He raised funds for an elevator, worked in the kitchen and on the Poppy Fund Committee. These are just a few things he did to assist the Legion.

He was given many honours and award which were well deserved. One of the accomplishments he was most proud of was being founder of the “Senior Day Dance” at the Fairview Branch, which is held once a month with great success. He is a Lifetime Member of the Fairview Legion and is still actively involved today. He is also a Lifetime Member of the Fairview Historical Society where his advice is greatly appreciated.

Donnie’s Story of Growing up in Fairview:

I made many trips to Pete Prought’s Grocery Store which was located on John Brooks property at the bottom of Main Avenue. When I was a little older, I ran the daily newspaper out to Miss Clayton (Clayton Park is named after her family) for the paper boy Robie McGrae. Robie and his brothers Gilbert and Art would all get their papers from the Train Station waiting room on the Bedford Highway, which was the newspapers distributing center.

They had people living upstairs at the Train Station at that time. The Mail Tram from Montreal picked up the mail at 6:45 P.M sharp. The mail bag was placed on a hook and the train never slowed down as the conductor grabbed it. There was a shanty (CNR place to go in to get warm) by the overpass and when the first Diesel Train came out, there were about 75 men working on the track. You could not hear the engine coming until it was too late. All the men made it off the track but two. The two men did not hear it and it ran over them, killing them instantly.

My family lived at 8 Main Avenue and my grandmother lived close by at 6 Main Avenue. Doris (Davis) Sanford lived next door to me, she was employed with the Canadian Nation Railway (CNR) and in the 1940s she was the first women to run the turn table at the Round House in Fairview. Gordon Mercer and Earl McClair were neighbours as well.

My Dad had a hen house with 400 to 500 hens. In 1941 my Dad got a contract to make 800 pies a day for the Navy Dockyard, Stadacona. We sold all the hens and cleaned the large hen house and turned it into a bakery. I helped in the bakery every day after school. Not much happened until after the Second World War. It wasn’t until 1946 that Dad got his first panel truck.

We kids coasted down the Duke of Kent Street (Main Avenue) starting from above Fairview School at the corner of the Duke of York Street (Ford Street) and continued down to Dutch Village Road (Joseph Howe Drive) towards Smart’s Hall. There were not many cars then.

Minnie Aalders , who later married the famous singer Hank Snow, looked after me for my mother many times. Minnie grew up with her family near the bottom of Main Avenue. Hank Snow stopped at the Aalders many times while courting Minnie and he was known to walk up and down the Duke of Kent Street (Main Ave.) singing and playing the guitar in the dark of night. After Hank married Minnie, he went to CHNS radio and then to Nashville.

I played the guitar for little Jimmy Snow who was younger than ten years old at the time. Little Jimmy sang at Fairview School (Main Avenue) but his fingers were too short to play the guitar so I played the guitar while he sang. Jimmy was the son of Minnie and Hank Snow. His parents were separated at the time but they eventually got back together again.

Vic Aalders who was little Jimmy’s uncle and Jimmy came into the bakery nearly every day to eat cakes. Our property in Fairview was also near the O’Brien’s and the Keizer’s which were on McFatridge Road. We also had many small taverns (Bootleggers) near the bottom of Main Avenue. My Dad was an amateur wrestler and he had a second, John McGraw who was a Maritime Champ at that time.

My friend, Ray Hobbs (sister Bunny Hobbs was a singer) and I were around 13-15 years old when we visited a band of Gypsies on Kempt Road. Today the site is where Kempsters Restaurant is located. The Gypsies camped there with about 50 tents and Ray Hobbs was the only man that I knew that could mix with the Gypsies and be accepted by them. Ray had such a talent that he could sit down at a piano and play any kind of music without a lesson. He had a super talent that I never before have seen. Waldo Scott and I would peddle on our bikes to Allen O’Neil’s house on the Bedford Highway. Allen owned the store at the corner of Barrington Street (Campbell Road) and Kempt Road, At that time it was the Bedford Highway.

The property of St. John’s Church, once located in the St. John’s Cemetery on Windsor Street went over to Strawberry Hill which is known as Strawberry Hill Street. I also rang the church bell in the morning at 11 A.M. and at 7 P.M at night. I believe it was a Mrs. Gray from Princes Lodge who was killed not far from the church hall. The Bedford Highway ran very close to the hall’s steps which proved to be Mrs. Grays undoing for she was struck by a vehicle only a few feet from the steps.

I worked in the graveyard at St. John’s Cemetery for some time. In 1936-38 Jim, Jack and Hubert Smart all built their homes on Dutch Village Road (Joseph Howe Drive) near the O’Brien house and across from Jones field, near the Fairview Underpass. One of the houses on Jones Hill was moved across the road, I think it was Harold Jones house, there it became Eddie Walsh’s house. Eddie had a little store in a shed by his house.

Roy Taylor lived at the bottom of Main Avenue where we had the big flood in the 1940s. Brothers Leo, Cecil and Bill La Pierre gathered every night under the Fairview Underpass to chat. They called one of the brothers Bill Coady because he dressed up like a cow-boy with a cow boy hat and six guns. Bill La Pierre’s father Jim, lived with Philip Sydney who worked for Willow Park during the war. Jim was killed while lying on top of a DND government truck. There was a large sign located by the Fairview Underpass that said “Keep to the Right” but the truck didn’t pay attention to the sign and Jim was struck by it.

There was also a plane that collided with another in mid-air (an Avenger and a Sea Fury) in 1953. My mother, grandmother and I were walking down Main Avenue after blueberry picking and seen that happen. One of the planes landed in the Bedford Basin and stayed at the bottom for 30 years before they recovered it and sent to Quebec. The plane was in pretty good condition due to the cold water. The first Hydroplane was tested in the Bedford Basin after the war.
Dick Hyland made quite a racket every day across the street from our house on Main Avenue. He said that he found oil where Clayton Park is today. Dick was a gold- miner who dug holes all over Fairview looking for gold.

There was a horse barn next door to my grand-mothers house on Main Avenue. I rode many horses and was nearly killed a couple of times, I also remember Bud Aalders riding horses there as well. I was hire to take people horse-back riding and I took up to six people at once, most were from Rockingham. We rode the horses up Windsor Street, down Bayers Road, than turned to the right, down Howe Avenue (Joseph Howe Drive), which was just a path at the time and back to the barn. I recall that a horse was shot there.

When I was just a kid, I remember there was a house fire on Flint Street and two children were killed, one was a foster girl but I forget their names. I watched them put in the Bedford Highway in 1933, it was all cement and it went from Sunnyside to the Fairview Underpass. The highway was near Frank Clark’s roadway, it went through to Evans Avenue, where Gordon Clark lived. Gordon was uncle to Don Tremaine (CBC). We played guitar together with Malcom Johnson when we were young. Joe Johnson’s father had a barber shop at the corner of Titus Street and Main Avenue. Lawson Mosher, who was with the Fairview Aces, lived at 1 Main Avenue, in the Campbell house, which was across the street from Jack Mercer’s house. Lawson’s wife was a Campbell.

Soupie Campbell burnt to death in a garage fire on Andrew Street. His body was laid out on Ruth Daine’s patio, she lived behind Coulter’s Store which was located on the corner of Andrew Street and Dutch Village Road. Shirley’s Restaurant was located next to Walter Webber’s Store on Titus Street, the same side as Keeler’s Farm. I watched from my window on Main Avenue, ships coming and going in the Bedford Basin during World War 2. They were tied up to Buoys at night but by morning they all disappeared. There may have been 125 ships there at once.

Burgess Bakery was the first bakery in Fairview. It was located at the corner of Titus Street and Main Avenue and it burnt to the ground in 1938-39. I remember two big search lights being on the MacDonald property on Main Avenue during World War 2. That would be where the Trailer Court is today. The lights would shine in a criss-crossing pattern in the sky every night, searching for enemy planes. The area was all woods then. At one time there was a small laundry business located near the Rock Quarry on the Bedford Highway by Bob Coles second service station. The laundry moved up by the Coffee Cup on Dutch Village Road in the 1930s.

There were stories about Sam Purcell, but he was harmless. All the kids were afraid of him because they knew that he walked through the graveyard to go to his home on the top of Geizer’s Hill, known as Main Avenue today. He owned most of the top of Geizer’s Hill. When they put him in a nursing home in Dartmouth, the property sold for $90,000, Sam used to pick up garbage and use it to fill in the land near his home. One day his horse dropped dead on the way up Geizer’s Hill and he got another horse to haul it away then buried it on his property. There was also a hanging up on Geizer’s Hill too. Someone from the Purcell family committed suicide t


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