Skip to main content

History of the Agricultural Campus

As Canada's third-oldest centre for agricultural academics and research, the Agricultural Campus has seen a lot of development and growth over the years. This timeline outlines some of the highlights of the campus's evolution.

Cumming Hall exterior


1888 Four lots of land, totalling 104.5 acres, bought from Rev. Dr. McCulloch, Charles P. Blanchard, Lucius Crowe, and Edward P. Blanchard. This land went from the west end of the present Bible Hill Recreation field to the east to the present Dairy Building, south to the Salmon River, and north to College Road.
1892 First building built on the Agricultural Campus.
1893 Four and a half acres were purchased west of the 1888 purchase. The Judging Pavilion (rear parking lot of Cumming Hall), an artesian well, and the principal's house (built 1909; present site of Jenkins Hall) were built on this land.
1894 Row of ornamental trees which had been previously started along the present College Road were extended. These trees were presented by Col. William Blair, Superintendent, Experimental Farm, Nappan, N.S., at no cost.
1895 By this time there was 0.5 acres of vegetable garden and a small orchard which included apples, pears, plums, and cherries.
1898 First building built on campus lost by fire on March 31, 1898. It was located where the Bible Hill Elementary School was located and is now the unpaved parking lot behind the paved parking lot of Chapman House.
1905 The Nova Scotia College of Agriculture was created by combining the provincial farm, the School of Agriculture, and the School of Horticulture. Melville Cumming was the first principal.
1909 Present Dairy Building was built.
1912 Horse barn built (present site of heating plant).
1913 Horticulture building (now the Collins Building), small header house, and greenhouse built. The fertilizer used by the horticulture section was stored and mixed in the basement of the header house until the 1960s. Plumdale Farm, a 30-acre plot east of the university south of College Road purchased to be used for horticulture work. It is the present site of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources office and Faculty of Agriculture Plant Science department field work. Helen Woodroffe becomes the first woman to graduate from the college.
1915 The Science Building was built. First two floors used for chemistry, entomology, and biology. Third floor was for the Women's Institute office plus a large 300 seat auditorium.
1925 The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources organized 1925-1929, which led to the passing of the "Agricultural Act" to meet the demands of the agriculture industry.
1926 First extension service under the Department of Agriculture established.
1928 Dr. Loran DeWolfe begins a project to beautify the school grounds using ornamental shrubs through his work with the Rural Science Program and the Nova Scotia Department of Education.
1937 C. M. Collins appointed provincial horticulturist and professor of horticulture 1937-1962. He was also made acting director of extension when Dr. W. A. Longley became ill and was unable to finish out the 1936-37 term.
1939 Present greenhouse by the Collins Building was erected to replace the one built in 1913.
1942 Four acres were purchased from the McCulloch property west of the present university campus in hopes of building a dormitory and an athletic field.
1944 Work on a Rural Beautification Project begins in an effort to get the surrounding communities interested in some landscape work in their areas. This was a step up from the school grounds beautification project started in 1928.
1946 Science building burns down on June 15, 1946. Programs and projects run in the science building moved to the nurses quarters at Camp Debert 10 miles away where a classroom was made with a small greenhouse attached. Students were housed in the camp's Nurses' residence.
1947 C. Prescott Blanchard's 20-acre farmstead, directly opposite the university, between College Road and Pictou Road was wpurchased. New recreation field was built on the west side; soccer and football teams had to use Truro's TAAC grounds before that. Parts of the farm put in pasture and the Department of Transport Weather Station moved from Debert to Vimy Road, Bible Hill. Weather station now used by the Plant Science Department.
1952 Construction started on the Harlow Institute to replace the science building that burned down in 1946.
1953 The Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing Engineering Building finished. Horticulture building expansion started with the addition of a classroom, food processing lab built, more basement storage areas and two storage rooms plus a "minus zero" storage.
1955 First annual meeting of the garden clubs and horticultural societies built out of the Rural Beautification Project.
1957 Trueman House built on the McCulloch property along the Salmon River bank.
1960s Houses on either side of DeWolfe House removed and the site on the east side made into a parking lot. Building on corner of Vimy Road and College Road used as International House. Several buildings and properties surrounding the campus are purchased. Some of the resulting land shared between Bible Hill Fire Department and Plant Science. Atlantic mandate for agricultural education was forged and the agreements with the other Atlantic provinces were signed. Plans for Cox Institute of Agricultural Technology started.
1964 Dr. Bill Jenkins takes over as principal. The road from Pictou Road to College Road was reconstructed to meet the entrance way to Cumming Hall. Planning for construction of two new residences to form a "U" shape with Trueman House started.
1967 Chapman Residence built. When the basement was dug for Chapman House, the soil and sod was trucked across College Road and used to extend the soccer field to regulation size.
1970 Fraser House built.
1972 Hancock Veterinary Building built. Plywood hockey rink moved to the Apiculture yard.
1974 Landscape nursery turned into Alumni Gardens.
1977 Langille Athletic Centre opened.
1979 Jenkins Hall opened.
1984 MacRae library opened.
1987 Animal Science Building opened. Roger Bacon, the Minister of Agriculture, broke ground for this building by ploughing a furrow with a team of horses. He later placed the stone for the completion of this building.
1995 Humanities Department takes over the horticulture foreman's house which was built in the 1930s.
2001 Animal Science Building expanded to include the Aquaculture and Continuing Education sections.
2004 Animal Science Building renamed Haley Institute of Animal Science and Aquaculture after former principal and Deputy Minister or Agriculture, Les Haley.
2007 Atlantic Canadian Centre for Poultry Research opens. First season for the campus Community Garden.
2008 2008-2013 Strategic Plan launched.
2009 Chute Animal Nutrition Centre opens. New Greenhouse opens and two existing greenhouses are renovated. The campus Community Garden doubles in size (from 20-40 plots).
2010 Official ground breaking for the Atlantic Centre for Agricultural Innovation, the first building on campus to be built to LEED Silver standards. Construction begins on the TREEhouse project.
2011 First season for the Chef's Garden, a two-acre, on-site organic demonstration farm that provides seasonal and storage crops for on-campus dining.
2012 On June 1, 2012, the Government of Nova Scotia, Department of Agriculture, and Dalhousie University confirmed the agreement to merge Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) with Dalhousie. The incoming class of 2012 was welcomed as Dalhousie students.