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Demolition of downtown Dartmouth building welcomed as part of ‘healing process’

Portland Street property housed denture business of killer in Portapique shootings

1 min read
A construction worker drags yellow tape across the entrance to a demolished property. There is wood, stone and debris everywhere and a tractor crane in the background.
caption A construction worker drags yellow tape across the Dartmouth property that once belonged to Gabriel Wortman, as demolition was underway.
Elizabeth Foster

Workers have demolished a downtown Dartmouth building that once housed a business owned by Nova Scotia’s worst mass killer.

The property at 193 Portland St., previously known as Atlantic Denture Clinic, was one of several owned by Gabriel Wortman. He carried out the April 2020 shooting spree beginning in Portapique, N.S., that left 22 people dead.

Although a 2020 petition created by Dartmouth resident Lynn Maughan led to the removal of the location’s signage, the building remained until Monday. Verhagen Demolition carried out the work Monday morning on behalf of Dartmouth firm Volcano Construction Services.

“We are keenly aware of the sensitive nature of this project,” Volcano president Beverly Jones said in an email.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the April 2020 tragedy and it is our hope that the removal of this building from our community will be one small step in the healing process.”

Adam Somers, the owner of nearby Moffatt’s Pharmacy, also stressed the importance of this demolition for the community.

He said there’s a renewal in the area and removing the building is part of that.

“It’s amazing, the sense of community that’s in that area, and I think it’s important to move on from (that property), because it really is something that represented a very tragic time in the history of the province.”

The property is being redeveloped into a 150-unit apartment complex.

With files from Josh Neufeldt.

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About the author

Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster is a fourth-year journalism student from Maine. She also works as the Arts and Lifestyle editor of the Dalhousie Gazette and...

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