History of Lake Banook

Dartmouth's First LakePhoto Source: Flitelab

Dartmouth's "First Lake"

Hockey was played on Lake Banook as early as 1827, and certainly by 1850, though the game was then known as both rickets and wicket. Dartmouth is one of several locales around the world that claim the title of "Birthplace of Hockey." 

In 1864 Starr Manufacturing of Dartmouth, located less than a kilometre from Lake Banook, began producing the world's first modern ice skates. Starr skates, first used on the lakes of Dartmouth including Lake Banook, later became a popular choice for elite ice hockey players.  

In the days before refrigerators, Lake Banook was a source of ice for Halifax and Dartmouth. Johnstone Chittick operated an ice business centred on First Dartmouth Lake, which today is known as Lake Banook, located across from his home. Prior to modern refrigeration, households needed ice to store their perishable food items and Dartmouth was well-known for its clean and clear ice. The ice harvest lasted several months beginning after Christmas and employed as many as two hundred men, working eighteen hour days. The annual ice harvest lasted for almost one hundred and twenty years until the majority of homes obtained electrical service and affordable refrigerators.

In the days of long ago when harness racing on ice was a popular winter pastime, Lake Banook was the place to be.

Since 1903, with the formation of the Banook Canoe Club, Lake Banook has been a home to many competitive and recreational canoeists, kayakers, and rowers. Dartmouth has more paddlers per capita than anywhere else in Canada. (Source: Wikipedia)

Ice Houses on Lake Banook
Horse racing on Lake Banook, 1954
Banook Canoe Club