After another visit to the archives, I located the former zoo grounds (property of A. Downs) on a 19th century map of Halifax.
The gardens were situated in an area of town formerly known as Dutch Village, which bordered Armdale. During the time of the zoo, these communities were considered bucolic, although downtown Halifax was less than an hour’s walk away. At the mouth of the Northwest Arm, there was a slower pace of life, and a quintessential seaside paradise. We can catch a fragment of its dreaminess, which persisted into the early 1900’s, captured by early video footage of the day; I stumbled upon this clip of Horseshoe Island (see map above) during preliminary research in the Nova Scotia Archives’ online database (take a look at “Scene 2”):
NS Archives footage of Armdale seaside, 1930’s
Times have changed and these communities have been encircled by the city; yet remarkably, when a satellite image of the area is examined, there is still an undeveloped patch of forest that looks to be approximately five acres. It sits precisely where Andrew Downs’ grounds were situated. A field trip is on my horizon.