Behind the Name: Halifax's The Carleton

How this iconic Halifax venue got its name

Hearing the words "The Carleton" may conjure up images of a dance move made iconic by way of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but it is also the name of a popular East Coast venue that offers live music that is especially toe-tapping worthy.

Opened in May 2008, the story behind this establishment's name is a simple one: it is named after the building it resides in on Argyle Street. A simple answer, but a dynamic nod to Atlantic Canada's history.

The building itself has a rich history; from being the oldest business building in the city, as well as being named after a former Governor of Quebec and Governor General for British North America in 1786, the building and name appear to be timeless.

According to owner, Karen Spaulding and program director, Mike Campbell, The Carleton House was built in 1760 by Richard Bulkeley, an influential government administrator.

“He named his house after Sir Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, who oversaw the evacuation of Black Loyalists from New York to Nova Scotia and eventually became Governor of Quebec and Governor General for British North America in 1786.”

Described by the Acadian Recorder in 1913, Bulkeley was the "the father of music in English-speaking Canada", providing music in St. Paul’s Anglican Church as an organist and his large parties in the building where The Carleton now operates. Seeing the space now operate as an award-winning music venue definitely feels full circle.

The venue was originally going to be an entirely different space known as El Kabong.

“Suffice to say, The Carleton location had a little too much history—and dignity—for that tag,” says Campbell.

The Carleton's in-person dining coincides with their public events. Future happenings are listed on their website.