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Roots of Democracy: Nova Scotia in the 18th-century


On October 2, 1758, the first representative government in Canada convened in Halifax.  Although only Protestant, male, freehold property owners over the age of 21 were enfranchised, the election of this Legislative Assembly of 22 men marks the origins of democracy in Canada.

To celebrate 250 years of democracy in Canada, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia presents this selection of 18th-century paintings, prints, and maps from the Permanent Collection.

The works featured in The Roots of Democracy include scenic landscapes, maps, and portraits of individuals to represent multiple narratives from the 18th-century: Europeans who colonized and shaped the fate of the province; prominent landowners and settlers; encounters between Mi’kmaq and Europeans that reverberate today; scientific endeavours that made advancements in both the artistry and utility of mapmaking.

This exhibition is a visual portrait of the momentous place and time where parliamentary democracy emerged in Canada.

Click here for details on the Celebration of 250 Years of Democracy in Canada.