These images are all found on the History of Bedford, Nova Scotia Facebook page, a community driven repository of tidbits and memories, postcards and pictures, bringing to life the town’s past. It was founded by Kevin Tillman, who has fond memories of visiting Bedford as a kid. He moved to Bedford 15 years ago.

“We tend to wonder what it was like in that particular point of time, or any point of time,” says Tillman. “To think about what kind of decisions were made at that time that we live with today…It’s neat to visualize what it was like in ‘the old days.’”
As Tillman began his research a couple years back, he was struck by the fact that Bedford’s history of settlements went farther back than Halifax’s. “When Halifax was first founded, there were [already] reports of Acadian settlements at the mouth of the Sackville River and of foundations for houses belonging to the first real settlers of the area,” he says.
Tillman’s extensive research has covered older and more modern snapshots of Bedford’s timeline, from the Mi’kmaq coming to the area for annual springtime celebrations, and Arthur Lismer (of the Group of Seven) teaching art to local school kids, to the recent draining of Paper Mill Lake.
As an IT professional, Tillman’s specialized skills have come in handy for researching Bedford’s history on a deeper level. “A search engine like Google is a good resource for anyone doing research,” he says. “But … there’s a layer below that that has a lot of published information that your Google search engines won’t pick up. For instance, old postcards may not be picked up through Google but they might get picked up through other websites that focus on postcards. So it takes a lot of time to really go through that.”

Tillman thought it would be valuable to have all this information in one place. He intentionally chose to create a Facebook page so that others could also contribute. “I could have easily created a webpage, but that’s only like a one-way form of information,” he says. “I wanted to be able to get people’s experience and knowledge—to have more than one person communicating.”

One recent case in point is a discussion over a picture of a Santa Clause parade, submitted by Kim McDonald. She asks if it might date back to the 60s.

“Looking at the police car, I’d say this was between 1974 and 1976…” replies a David Williams.

“You must be right… Wikipedia says it was 1976-77 that we switched to the metric system for signage. The speed is posted in km/hr!” exclaims McDonald, referring to the speed sign in the foreground of the picture. – Michelle Brunet

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