Bedford, NS, Urban Community, is situated at the head of Bedford Basin, in Halifax Regional Municipality. Mi'kmaq inhabited the site initially and the French harboured there from the early 17th century. Both the basin and the community were named in honour of John Russell, fourth duke of Bedford (1710-71), who was secretary of state for the colonies when Halifax was founded in 1749.
At first called Sackville when established as a fort in 1749 to keep open the overland route to Minas and to protect against Native raids, it took its present name in 1856 when the Nova Scotia Railway (later the Intercolonial) built a station in the area. With access to Halifax, Bedford grew as a summer resort area and dormitory suburb. Some small industries in the 19th century used local power, including Moirs, the confectioners, but the town's real growth came after 1961 as people sought its suburban location away from built-up Halifax. It was incorporated as a town in 1980 but lost this status when it was amalgamated into the Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996.