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The Cambridge Military Library

The Cambridge Military Library (CML) was established in 1817 as the Halifax Garrison Officer’s Library and is Canada’s oldest non-university library.  It was moved to its present location in Royal Artillery Park in 1886 and received its present designation in 1902, named after His Royal Highness, Prince George, the Duke of Cambridge.

The CML received an initial grant of £1,000 from the Castine Fund - the Customs revenues taken from New Ireland (now Maine) during the War of 1812. George Ramsay, the ninth Earl of Dalhousie and Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, established the book collection to address the lack of any bookshops or libraries in Halifax at the time. The remainder of the Castine Fund supported the establishment of what is now Dalhousie University.

In the 1860s the library holdings were considerably augmented by the “Corfu Collection”, a collection of older books originally from the British Army Garrison Library established in 1810 at Messina, Sicily and later moved to the British garrison on the island of Corfu.  By 1886, when the present-day CML building was opened, the library collection totaled 30,000 volumes.

The CML is an integral part of the military heritage of the City of Halifax and occupies a unique niche in Canada’s military history.  As well, the library predates the establishment of public lending libraries in Canada, affording it pride of place within our national library system.

With its historic connection to the British and Canadian Armies and to Dalhousie University, and its historic role in adult education in this former British garrison town, the CML is an important historical site, as well as a valuable research resource. It is the only vestige of the British military garrison which continues to operate in much the same manner as it did when it was originally established.

CML is currently managed by the Headquarters of the 5th Canadian Division of the Canadian Army, based in Halifax, and including Regular and Reserve land forces across Atlantic Canada and elsewhere. It is located in the historic Royal Artillery Park, at the foot of the Halifax Citadel, in downtown Halifax. (click here).

The current CML collection comprises over 12,000 books, journals, maps, photographs, documents and recorded media, dealing primarily with a range of military historical and technical subjects.

To arrange an appointment, or to book a tour, please contact CML Librarian, Nicole Walsh at [email protected] or 902.427.4494

For facility booking, and for other general inquiries please contact CML President, Major Peter Dawson at 902-427-0774 or 902-441-3027, or at [email protected].

The Cambridge Military Library collection is available to visitors and researchers for in-house use. Other borrowing privileges may be arranged at the librarian’s discretion.         

- Current CML Catalogue

- List of CML Subject Areas

- The 5th  Canadian Division’s “Mighty Maroon Reading List”

- A History of the Cambridge Military Library

- Download the Cambridge Military Library brochure

- Donation and Information.

- Recent Donations to The Cambridge Military Library

Related External Websites

Army Museum Halifax Citadel


Canadian Military History (Government of Canada)


Halifax Military Heritage Preservation Society


History of the Armed Forces of Canada


Library and Archives Canada


Naval Museum of Halifax


Nova Scotia Archives


Novanet A Consortium of Libraries    


Shearwater Aviation Museum: