OTD: Nova Scotia legislature holds inaugural meeting

On today’s date in 1758, Nova Scotia Governor Charles Lawrence convened the first meeting of the Nova Scotia legislature in the Halifax Court House with the first popularly elected parliament in Canadian history.

In 1958, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) issued a five-cent stamp (Scott #382) commemorating Nova Scotia’s first elected assembly, which marked the beginning of the colony’s democratic government. The speaker’s chair and mace depicted on the stamp pay homage to the first general assembly in what is now Canada.

Nova Scotia Governor Charles Lawrence (taken from the Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society.Vol. 16. 1912. p. 11).

Nova Scotia Governor Charles Lawrence convened the first meeting of the Nova Scotia legislature in 1758. (Photo by Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society)


In 1758, England granted self-government to the colony of Nova Scotia. The newly formed government consisted of a governor, council and general assembly. The governor and council provided an election of 16 members for the entire province, which at that time included New Brunswick.

Meanwhile, maces evolved from weapons of war to ceremonial items of prominence in British parliament. These maces, along with a speaker’s chair, form the stamp’s central motif. Flanking the chair is text in English and French, detailing the first elected assembly marking the beginning of democratic government in Canada.

Printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company and measuring 26 millimetres by 38 millimetres (horizontal), this stamp had a print run of 25,360,000.

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