rooted in history

The community of Upper Hammonds Plains in Nova Scotia, Canada, has a rich history that underscores the resilience and tenacity of its residents in the face of adversity. Originally established in 1815, this settlement became home to a group of 500 Black Refugees from the War of 1812. These individuals, seeking freedom and a new beginning, moved to an area immediately north of the then 34-year-old logging and farming community of Hammonds Plains. Their arrival marked the foundation of one of the earliest African Nova Scotian communities in the region, setting the stage for a community that would grow and evolve over the next two centuries.

Life in Upper Hammonds Plains was fraught with challenges from the outset. The Black settlers were allocated land on the outskirts of more developed areas, facing significant hardships in their new environment. Despite the difficult living conditions and numerous obstacles, a significant majority of the settlers chose to remain in Upper Hammonds Plains, demonstrating remarkable resilience. In 1821, faced with these challenges, 95 of the settlers left for Trinidad in search of better opportunities. However, those who stayed continued to strive for a better life, working tirelessly to carve out an honest living for themselves and their families. This spirit of perseverance became a defining characteristic of the community.

By 1970, Upper Hammonds Plains had developed into an almost exclusively Black community, with a population of around 500 residents. This period marked a significant chapter in the community’s history, as it faced new challenges related to land and water expropriation. Starting around 1974, municipal and provincial governments targeted the area for land to serve the expanding urban needs of Halifax, Bedford, and Halifax County. The expropriation of Pockwock Lake to house the Halifax regional water commission’s water treatment plant significantly impacted the community. The compensation offered for the land was far below its true value, and despite the proximity of water main lines, no offer of water service was extended to the community. This period highlighted the community’s ongoing struggle for fair treatment and equitable access to resources.

The issue of water service and compensation became a focal point of community advocacy in 1987 raising awareness about the loss of sustainable resources and the cultural impact of the expropriation. The community’s access to fishing, recreational swimming, and even Sunday morning baptisms was affected. This advocacy eventually led to Upper Hammonds Plains being connected to the city’s water system, marking a victory in the community’s long-standing efforts to secure basic amenities and recognition. Despite the challenges faced over the years, the history of Upper Hammonds Plains is a testament to the enduring strength and resilience of its residents, who have worked tirelessly to preserve their community’s legacy and improve the quality of life for future generations.

Addressing our Housing Needs


UHPCLT will provide affordable housing opportunities to community members in greatest need. We believe that providing housing capacity in the community to ensure that cost is not a barrier for families to stay in the community by renting or owning a home or for them to return to Upper Hammonds Plains. Currently, UHP does not have public housing or any other form of community housing. Through UHPCLT’s sustainable model of perpetual affordability, the organization creates affordable housing projects that build long-term community housing capacity.  

An important aspect of the UHPCLT’s work will be converting existing dwellings into affordable housing projects. UHPCLT will aim to maximize the environmental and sustainable impacts of its developments by leveraging our partnerships to ensure that we are informed and can incorporate innovative strategies for housing and community sustainability, such as eco-friendly building design methods. We want our projects to serve the greatest range of residents in terms of incomes, ages, and accessibility (multi-generational, universally accessible, and environmentally friendly).  
Upper Hammonds Plains does not currently have a balanced supply of housing. Housing supply in the community owned by private developers is very expensive and is inaccessible for many. UHPCLT seeks to provide housing opportunities that fills the gap in the housing continuum. UHPCLT will create the first affordable housing in the community; with a long-term goal of purchasing back some of the multi-unit developments and converting them into affordable housing. UHPCLT will provide affordable homeownership opportunities by building modest housing that is made affordable by taking the value of the land out of the purchase price. This strategy meets the evolving needs of potential homeowners. 


We’d like to give a special thanks to all of our partners that make the Upper Hammonds Plains Community Land Trust possible.