The Buildings of Africville

Recently the former residents of Africville have re-launched a suit for compensation for lost property. This seemed like a good time to release a work in progress. I ran through minutes of council meetings from the 1960’s and recorded the Owners and compensation Paid to each resident.

I cannot claim to be an expert in race relations, or the very real discrimination that black people feel, but reading through the City of Halifax Council minutes – expropriation of property in the 60’s was done with an ease that the current council awards repaving contracts. Reports from experts, and support from the Federal government enabled a Canada wide program of Slum Clearance, that was reinforced by reports from social welfare experts. Hundreds of poor people, living in “slums” and “Unsanitary Conditions” were displaced and re-located, Not just from Africville, but from the areas of Scotia Square, Cogswell Interchange, and along Barrington Street to North.

The Africville Relocation Program Ran between 1964 and 1967. Each property number below corresponds to city plan P500-46A, and council minutes address expropriations by those Numbers. Properties expropriated with clear title, the owner received full value. Those without clear title were awarded 500$ +expenses.

When you click on a building, you can find out who the owners were and what was paid as compensation. Several properties had outstanding Hospital and Tax bills which were paid off as part of the package. (At this Time the city ran the hospitals, not the Province) Some properties could not be found in Minutes, or were addressed without mention of the number, so the map features some Errata.

Modern Planning Theory

To understand how we got to where we are, we need to travel all the way back to the mid-19th century, to Manchester, England. At this time, Manchester was at the height of the industrial revolution, and people were moving from the country to the city to work in factories driven by coal powered steam engines.

Friederich Engles was a German, who at the age of 22 went to work in Manchester at a textile mill. On the way he met Karl Marx, and the two become friends. During his time in Manchester, Engles sent Marx several letters describing the working conditions and the general condition of the city.

7fa7bd9a479e626eed5e73bc850c033dManchester in the mid-19th century was a dirty, crowded city. The burning of coal, to power the machinery that made the factories run, polluted the air, and soot made things dirty. People lived in crowded housing of low quality – often quickly and cheaply built to accommodate the influx of workers. They worked long hours, and because of the large population living in close proximity diseases spread quickly, resulting in a higher mortality rate among city dwellers then country dwellers.

The conditions in Manchester were so bad, Engles’ writings to Marx were part of the inspiration for Marx’s communist manifesto. Engles himself wrote a book in German titled “The Condition of the Working Class in England” in 1857. (Published in English in 1887.) He argues that people in cities are worse off – they died more frequently of disease and industrial accidents then country people.

Engles’ writing was intended for a German audience who at the time were industrializing, though several years behind England. It was meant to serve as a warning about how not to grow and develop.

Another early urban thinker was Ebenezer Howard. Howard is known for his publication Garden Cities of To-morrow (1898). Though he worked as a court reporter and journalist, he spent much time considering the human condition. He would have likely read the writings of Engles, and have been familiar with the conditions in Manchester.

Howard’s efforts to resolve the human condition attempted to resolve the issues of the city and the country. Howard decided that the city, despite its downfalls, had some advantages. By merging the town with the country the advantages of both can be obtained. He offered the Three Magnets diagram showing the advantages of the Town,the Country and the Town-Country.

Howard envisioned a city without slums and enjoying the benefits of both town (such as opportunity, amusement and high wages) and country (such as beauty, fresh air and low rents). He illustrated this concept with the Three Magnets diagram, showing the pulls of the Town, the Country, and the Town-country which he described as the ideal. Howard’s Town-country, or Garden City is illustrated below.


Ebenezer Howard proposed a Garden City as the solution to the problems of the city. Architects and planners embraced this idea and worked on concepts for practical implementations. These architects were also heavily influenced by industrial methods and production.

One of the leading urban thinkers was a Swiss architect who went by Le Corbusier. Corbusier published Vers une Architecture (Toward an Architecture) in 1923. The book is a series of essays that had been previously published on the marvels of industrial production. He described mass produced concrete dwellings that could be cheaply manufactured en masse. These consisted of both single family and multi unit developments.

In 1922 he presented his scheme for a “Contemporary City” for three million inhabitants (left). The scheme was a series of towers in a park,connected with large highways. The influence of industrial production is evident. This scheme was also included in his 1929 book “The City of Tomorrow and its Planning”. Note that on the image on the left are large towers sitting on a podium, which connects buildings to transportation.

Le Corbusier exhibited his “Plan Voisin”, sponsored by an automobile manufacturer, in 1925. In it, he proposed to bulldoze most of central Paris north of the Seine and replace it with towers from the Contemporary City, placed within an orthogonal street grid and park-like green space. It was not well received, though it did provoke discussion concerning how to deal with the cramped, dirty conditions that enveloped much of the city. (Below: Model of Plan Voisin)


In 1929 Corbusier published The City of Tomorow and its Planning. In it he specifically refers to garden cities, and embraces Howard’s ideals. Corbusier also embraced industry and industrial production. He was fascinated with machines, and the automobile, and he is known for quotes such as “A city made for speed is made for success” and “A house is a machine for living in”.

In the 1930s, Le Corbusier expanded and reformulated his ideas on urbanism, eventually publishing them in La Ville radieuse (The Radiant City) in 1935. This eventually evolved into the Functional City, and the Athens Charter of 1943. The Athens Charter was based on the observations of many cities and was an offshoot of the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne or CIAM.

The Athens Charter was greatly influential in the Post-war period. The charter stated that:

  • Housing districts should occupy the best sites.
  • A minimum amount of solar exposure should be required in all dwellings.
  • For hygienic reasons, buildings should not be built along transportation routes.
  • Modern techniques should be used to construct high apartment buildings.
  • Buildings should be spaced widely apart, to free the soil for large green parks.
  • It is important to reduce commuting times by locating industrial zones close to residential ones and buffering them with wide parks and sports areas.
  • Street widths and requirements should be scientifically worked out to accommodate the speed and type of transport.
  • Finally, with regards to conservation, historic monuments should be kept only when they were of true value and their conservation did not reduce their inhabitants to unhealthy living conditions.

So now we have seen how Howard’s Garden City ideals have been analyzed and scientifically studied, to result in the Athens charter, which set out the rules for modern planning.

The Nova Scotia Legislature passed the first Town Planning Act in 1912. the act emerged from the Victorian reform movements who were interested in improving living conditions in cities. They were members of the city beautiful movement, which was a primarily north American implementation of the garden city ideas.  The movement was concerned with introducing Grandeur and beautification to cities and promoting beauty not only for its own sake, but also to create moral and civic virtue among residents. The City Beautiful movement also took hold in Australia.

The 1912 act was likely the result of increased interest in planning in Halifax by citizens organizations and the public, concluding with a visit from British MP Henry Vivian, who commented that the slums in Halifax were far worse than those found in Britain, and that such conditions would never be tolerated there” he also presented on the garden city. That lecture spiked a furry of interest in planning, and attempts to get council to engage in town planning.  the first attempt went nowhere, but a second attempt in 1911 was more concerted. A lecture series, newspaper articles and proposed plans were all presented.

Various Design Schemes were presented, including the boulevarding of Morris St, grand parks at fort needham, A Bridge over the northwest arm, and ferry terminal improvement. The illustrations were done by Architect Andrew Cobb, and the grand buildings were neo-classical in style, as preferred by city beautiful.

untitled2 untitled1 untitled3 untitled4

It is worth noting that the hydrostone was developed based on European Garden City ideals, However the All Saints Cathedral area was built to City Beautiful principals. The proposed Morris street boulevard was completed from the Dalhousie university campus to South park street, exactly as illustrated. There is an interesting dichotomy of ideas presented in Halifax- The garden city was about using design to directly improve peoples lives by removing them form unsanitary conditions. the City beautiful movement was more concerned with using design to elevate the social well being of the people with superficial changes to the environment.

A lecture presented by Thomas Mawson, a British landscape architect and planner was attended by Nova Scotia MLA for Halifax County George Faulkner. It was Faulkner who introduced the Town planning act to the legislature 4 months later.

the 1912 act was largely based on the 1909 British act. That first act however was short lived, and was replaced in 1915 by a new act written by Thomas Adams. Adams was pioneer urban planner. Born in Scotland, he was secretary to the Garden city association. in 1914 he took the position of town planning adviser with the federal Commission of Conservation. It was Adams who designed the Hydrostone in 1917, based on garden city principals. As part of a federal advisory commission, he had no ability to legislate land use federally, so he undertook a tour of the provinces. in Feb 1915 he stopped in halifax, and found the 1912 act to be insufficient for the needs of the city. he then worked with city reformers  to update it.

Halifax’s first modern urban plan was finally created in November 1945.


A foot Note.

Also of note, is that in 1910 City Alderman Clarke proposed slum clearance in the area of what is now Scotia Square. he also suggested some improvements to the road layout.untitled

All Saints Cathedral


The All Saints Cathedral is tucked away between two condo buildings on Martello Street, facing Victoria Park. It is unfinished, and her corner stone was originally laid at the corner of Spring Garden and Robie.

Proposed_All_SaintsBishop Binney (of Black Binney House fame) dreamed of a stone cathedral to serve the needs of the western suburbs.  A site had been selected at the corner of Spring Garden and Robie, and plans were drawn up by British architect Arthur Edward Street in 1888. A temporary wooden chapel was built on the site, and a corner stone and single buttress constructed after Binney’s death in 1887.


Bishop Frederick Courtney, Binney’s successor, lost interest in the cathedral project – the temporary church met the needs of the community. The bishop was seated at St Luke’s on Morris Street, since 1865, when the chair was moved from St. Paul’s. There was other work to do in the diocese, and money was tight. Courtney resigned in 1904 due to ill health, and took a rector’s position in New York. He was replaced by Clarendon Lamb Worrell, a parish priest from Smiths Falls, Ontario, and English teacher at Royal Military College in Kingston. Shortly after Worrell took over, St Luke’s burned to the ground. Suddenly a new cathedral was needed.

Cathedral comes from the latin word for chair. A cathedral contains the chair of a bishop, which is what makes it a cathedral.

The late 1800s were seeing new cathedrals built throughout the British Empire. There was again a renewed interest in such buildings, and Worrell had $20,000 in insurance money to seed the project. The street plans from 1887 were pulled out, but found not to meet the needs of the church. Local architect William Critchlow Harris, of the firm of Harris & Horton, rather self-servingly dismissed the plans, and gave Worrell the answers he wanted. By March 1906, the Spring Garden site was too small and cramped for the building and facilities Worrell wanted.


Harris was from PEI, and while he had completed several churches and public buildings in the Maritimes, he was less successful in the rest of Canada. He prepared a concept and presented it to the bishop.

Worrell now had 2 designs, and did some of his own research. He had an idea of what he wanted, and wrote to Ralph Adams Cram, principal partner of the firm of Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson from New York. The firm had experience with chapels, and working in a “modern” Gothic style, including the commission for the chapel at the US Naval Academy at West Point. Goodhue visited Halifax and was excited by the project. He produced a couple of sketches of what he envisioned, and this probably won his firm the commission over Harris.

All_Saints_Sketch All_Saints_Sketch2

Harris was persistent, and forced the bishop to hold a competition. Basic plans were to be drawn up for a church to seat 1100, plus a chapel, organ loft, vestries, chapter room and vault, for a total cost of $150,000. The plans were to be judged by  Professor Percy Nobbs, Director of the McGill School of Architecture. Nobbs awarded the competition to Goodhue, chastising Harris in every aspect of his design except cost, writing “…it would be nothing short of a calamity to entrust a Gothic church to Harris, however competent he may be in other branches of architectural practice…”

Nobbs warned the bishop that both plans were over budget and that a great deal of work would be required to reign in the costs of the Goodhue proposal. GoodAll_Saints_1All_Saints_2hue went on to produce working drawings for the entire building, though only a portion would be built initially.

Worrell was on a tight budget. The budget was $150,000, no more. Goodhue calculated his design to come in at 169,000. Before the project went to tender, Harris was retained as superintendent of the project to work with Goodhue. The call for tenders was requested for August 1907 and called for the first construction of chancel, transepts, crossing and three bays of the nave with a temporary wooden front. Three bids were received, and all were over budget.

S. M. Brookfield, Ltd., contractors and builders, bid $155,474.00. it was an all inclusive price. Samuel Brookfield worked with the bishop to bring down costs by changing methods and materials of construction, and was able to project a reduction in costs of almost $24,000. In the end, the final construction contract was signed for $124,245.00. $15,000 was saved using concrete pillars not granite, and 1700 for substituting molded concrete trim rather then concrete block trim. Sod was turned on 26 September, 1907, and completion projected for June 1909. This was to be the then largest civil construction project in Halifax. As construction progressed, three more bays were added to the nave, financed directly from Samuel Brookfield. This left the Cathedral only one bay short of the original design, rather then 4 as stated by the build contract.

Construction progressed slowly, likely due to shortage of funds. Donations from the laity were projected at $40,000, but by 1909, only $16,000 had been collected. Goodhue was non-compromising, so Worrell often turned to the more sensitive Harris and Horton when seeking advice on cost-cutting. The church leaked, as mortar specified by Goodhue failed around the ironstone. This appears to have been a result of the condition of the stone and the mortar, and was finally solved with a new mortar formula derived by a Dal Chemistry professor, when the same problem affected buildings underway at the campus.

The cathedral was never finished as designed. Continued water issues plagued the church, and  wrongfully S. M Brookfield bore the blame for shoddy construction. Funds were required for constant repairs. There is a certain irony that Brookfield gets wrongly blamed for the issues with the church, despite him enabling it to be built.

The Martello Towers of Halifax


The Prince of Wales Tower is a well known monument in Point Pleasant Park. It was one of 16 similar towers built in Canada. Of the 16 built,  five were built at Halifax; one at Saint John, New-Brunswick; four at Quebec City: and six at Kingston. The Kingston towers are the newest, built 1846-48. The remainder were built between 1796 and 1815; Three of the Halifax towers predate the “Martello Tower” name and concept and were built between 1796 and 1799.

The Martello tower was a fortification built in the south of England during the Napoleonic wars, around 1805-1808. The basic definition is a circular tower of brick or stone construction used for coastal defence. The name is derived from a stone tower on Cape Mortella in Corsica which was defended against English naval attack. That tower was designed by Giovan Giacomo Paleari Fratino and built in 1565.

The standard Martello tower is stone, 2 stories high, with a terreplein on top designed to take armament. (A terreplein is the topmost horizontal surface of a fortification designed to take guns.) The towers are constructed of arched spaces around a central pillar to improve bomb resistance, and are 35′-55′ feet across depending on the number of guns to be mounted.


The Prince of Wales Tower was the first, and thus differs from the accepted design. Commissioned by Edward, Duke of Kent, it was built by Captain Straton, Edward’s Commanding Royal Engineer. The tower was intended to back up the batteries in Point Pleasant, and was begun and 2/3 complete by the end of 1796. That’s when Edward ran afoul of regulations. As a field commander, Edward had the ability to build temporary fortifications; however, permanent fortifications required the approval of the board of ordinance. Construction was halted until the end of the 1797 building season, after Edward got approval from the board. The tower was completed in 1799, but was defensible from 1797.


The completed tower is built from rubble masonry, and is 72′ in outside diameter. It is 26′ tall, and the walls are 8′ thick at the base, 6′ thick at the top. There were 2 interior stories, topped with a 3 foot thick wooden roof. The roof was supported by a 16′ diameter hollow column, that extended to the foundation, leaving a 16′ room on each level.


As built, the tower differed from what would become the standard in several significant ways – it lacked a magazine of its own, the bomb-proofing structure was not included, and its large dimensions. Work to rectify this began in 1805, with the addition of a magazine, and in 1810, the wooden terreplein was replaced with a bomb-proof arch. As originally built, entry was via spiral staircase on the exterior, and through hatches in the terreplein.  The ground level door likely was added in 1805 when the magazine was added on the ground floor. In 1862 a basement magazine was built in the Prince of Wales Tower, the idea that it would be more economical then a separate magazine, and meet the needs of the Shore batteries there. The upper door was added at this time, ensuring the tower could be accessed without interfering with the magazine.

The second tower was at Fort Clarence, where the Imperial Oil Refinery now stands. Originally intending to be a blockhouse, Edward decided to build a round tower instead. The tower was 50′ in diameter, 42′ high from foundation to parapet, with 6′ thick walls. it was completed in 1798. The tower when built was 3 stories tall, though the 1st floor was surrounded by a ditch and was below grade.  Access was via external iron staircase to the top. This tower also lacked bombproofing,  and the internal pillar was only 6′ in diameter.

ft clarence

In 1812, the external stair was removed, and a second level door added (this was ground level), reached by a drawbridge across the ditch. A magazine was built on the first level, but no bomb proofing was done.

fortClarenceBy 1867 the upper floor was removed, and the middle turned into a barracks. A bomb-proof arch was installed in the basement, for conversion to a magazine. In 1889 the barracks floor was removed, leaving only the magazine.

Duke of York Tower, 1891

Duke of York Tower, 1891

The Third Martello tower was also built by Edward. Located at York Redoubt, it was 40′ in diameter, and 30′ high, with uniform 4′ thick walls. It was built of rough quarried stone, and was completed in 1798, replacing a blockhouse. The tower may have been chosen as it could carry heavier guns than the blockhouse. The tower also featured the hollow central column. The terraplein was constructed of wood, as was the parapet – unique to this tower. A bomb-proof magazine was added after 1811, but the tower remained unchanged until the 1860s.



A 1960 renovation added caponiers on either side. Caponiers are protruding galleries that allow muskets to be fired. These can be seen in the image at the top.

A fire in the 1890s destroyed the upper level of the tower, and the lower level was integrated into other defensive improvements at the Redoubt.

Tower 4, located on Georges Island, was the first true Martello tower in Halifax. Though the island had been fortified since 1750, defences were inadequate, and comprised mostly of earthworks. Under Edward, a star fort was constructed with a blockhouse before his departure in 1800, but it too proved inadequate.  The plan for this tower was approved in 1811, and construction began in 1812. It was well underway by July, and complete and armed by the end of the year.


As completed, the tower was 42 feet in diameter, with a 5′  solid central column. It was built of bomb-proof arched construction, 2 stories tall with terreplein and parapet. Walls were 7′ thick at the base. A brick magazine was located on the first floor, and there was an entry door on the ground level.


Sherbrooke Tower was the 5th tower. It was demolished in 1944, and replaced with the current concrete light at Maughers Beach. Begun in 1814, construction was slow due to the need to move materials to the site, and faulty estimates. The tower’s construction was halted in 1816 for 10 years due to the end of the war of 1812. Go-ahead was finally given to continue in 1827.


When completed, the tower was 2 stories, 50′ in diameter and 30 ‘ high, with walls 7′ thick at the base, diminishing to 5′  at the parapet. A solid 2’ circular central pillar supported a bomb-proof arch above the barrack floor.  In 1826, the NS Legislature voted to spend 1500 pounds on a lighthouse on the beach. Gustavus Nicolls, then Commander of the Royal Engineers, suggested the completed tower could be used. It was too remote for a barracks, and the province would cover a lightkeeper who could maintain the tower, at no cost to the military. When complete, it was pressed into service as a lighthouse. The intended platform guns were installed in 1827 before the wooden lighthouse superstructure was placed on top of the tower. This light room caused no conflict with the guns, as it was balanced on a single masonry king post rising from the centre of the platform. The lighthouse began operation in April 1828.

The towers frequently suffered from moisture problems, and were fitted with wooden conical snow roofs by 1824. Sherbrooke Tower was the first to receive the roof. It was intended that guns could be fired from under the roof, though the roof would be removed in the event high readiness was required. Maintenance varied, and the towers were all considered to be in fair condition owing to the fact the Halifax towers  were attached to the British Imperial Naval Station, post-confederation.

By the 1860s the towers were obsolete. Rifled munitions were more powerful and accurate then smoothbore cannons before. In tests in 1860 on the Sussex coast,  a Martello tower was destroyed with 27 rounds of rifled munitions. Smoothbore guns had a negligible effect on a different tower.

The Prince of Wales tower was turned over, intact, to the Canadian government in 1906, on the departure of British forces. The tower at York Redoubt was also well maintained as a signal post, though the upper level was destroyed by fire. It was roofed over, and also turned over to the Canadian authorities in 1906. The Tower at Fort Clarence survived as just the magazine until after the Second World War, when it was removed for refinery expansion. The Tower on Georges Island was demolished in 1877, as Fort Charlotte works were commenced.

Amherst ICR Station in Danger


Thanks to Steve Boyko’s Confessions of a Train Geek blog for making me aware of this.

The railway station in Amherst is facing an uncertain future. Still owned by VIA, it was closed in 2012 when The Ocean went to 3 days a week. The train still stops; however, the train crew handles customer service.

There were plans  for the town to operate an artisan market in the station, but pipes burst last winter, causing $200,000 in damage. VIA is looking to sell the station to the town, but the town requires a use for it.

old_stationThe Intercolonial Railway (ICR) opened its line from Truro to Moncton on 9 November 1872. Initially the ICR served Amherst passengers from a station constructed of wood on the same site as the present-day structure. The present structure was opened on 31 August 1908 and is constructed of local red sandstone.

Several minor modifications have been undertaken to the structure in recent decades, including removing the south wing in 1975, replacing the bottom exterior stone in 1991 with stone from the Roman Catholic Church once located on Prince Arthur Street, and in 1992 new metal exterior doors were installed.

Amherst Station is protected under the federal Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act. The act responded to long-standing and widespread concern that Canada’s heritage railway stations were not being afforded an adequate level of protection. The initiative of a private Member of Parliament, the Act received support from all parties.

Since 1990, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has evaluated almost 300 railway stations, more than half of which were designated heritage railway stations. To be considered, a railway station must be owned by a railway company subject to Part III of the Canada Transportation Act; and be more than 40 years old.

The Bank of Nova Scotia


First Bank of Nova Scotia, 1832, Corner of Duke and Granville

The Bank of Nova Scotia was founded in 1832 to compete directly with the Merchants bank of Halifax. Its first branch was located in John Romans’s building at the Corner of Duke and Granville Streets.

By 1836, the bank had outgrown the location, and Purchased the lot at 188-190 Hollis St. They built their second branch there,Moving in in 1838. The bank  remained at that location until they built the new 1930 headquarters at the Corner of Hollis and Prince Streets.

1838 Branch and Headquarters

1838 Branch and Headquarters

The Bank of Nova Scotia headquarters,  was built in 1929 and designed by John M. Lyle. Lyle was trained in the Beau Arts Style in Paris, But wanted to build in a uniquely Canadian way. The building is best described as Canadian Deco, and is similar to Scotia Bank offices he also designed in Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary. The Branches show a progression from the Neo-classical to a more modern form.

Ottawa Branch

The Ottawa Branch was built in 1924. It features a rusticated base, and full Doric columns leading to an entableture. By the time Calgary is built, the doric Columns have been flattened to a pilaster, though the formal composition is still very much the same.

Lyle’s Calgary branch.

The Style has again been reduced to its most simple by the time the Halifax Headquarters is built.

John Lyle, Drawing

John Lyle, Drawing

Borrowing from the Chicago style, the banking hall is rusticated, providing a stable base.the Pilasters extend through the office floors above, giving an emphasis on the vertical, and finally topping out with a cornice. Hallmarks of the Canadian Deco style include Canadian floral and fauna motifs. the beau Arts syling can best bee seen in the symmetry of the building.

(Above) The Lobby Facing the Elevators up
(below) The banking floor facing the lobby (Note the Symetry)

(Above) A depiction of the first steamship to Cross the Atlantic.
(Below) The Doors to Bank Vault. It features Squirls with nuts (hide for safe keeping), beavers (presumably symbolizing Canada, and hard work and industriousness) Wheat Chaffs For Prosperity.

(Below) Above the main door from the Lobby is this depiction that appears to be a Pontus – the Greek God of the Sea. He Has a fishing lure in his mouth.

Above the main door, is this depiction of the William D. Lawrence. She was a full-rigged sailing ship built in Maitland, Nova Scotia along the Minas Basin and named after her builder, the merchant and politician William Dawson Lawrence (1817-1886). Built in 1874, she was the largest wooden sailing ship of her day, one of the largest wooden ships ever built and the largest sailing ship ever built in Canada

Additional Floral and Fauna Motifs from the Exterior:


Building’s Entry on Historic Places register

The Halifax Drill Hall

Drawings from Canadian Architect and Builder, Feb 1897 showcasing the new building to the rest of Canada.

The Halifax Drill Hall was built in 1895, to a design by Thomas Fuller, the Chief Architect with the department of public works in Ottawa. It was one of the first buildings in Canada to make use of steel Fink roof trusses.
Ottawa’s Cartier Square Drill Hall

Drill halls presented a long standing architectural problem – The need to span a large uninterrupted open space. Previous Drill Halls in other cities had been built with wooden roof trusses. These limited the available span, or when daring and ambition were used to stretch the possible, collapse resulted. The earliest surviving example of a drill hall with wooden trusses is the Cartier Square Drill Hall in Ottawa. The Wooden trusses span 75′, whereas the Steel trusses in the Halifax Drill hall allowed an open Span of 110′.

The building is styled in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Fuller Built in Several Styles – His Gothic Revival Parliament Buildings and Second Empire style Langevin Block in Ottawa are best known however Fuller also designed a number of smaller government buildings, including the Baddeck Post Office and Custom House, Opening in 1886 was also done in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

(Top) elevation from North Park Street ( above and below) elevation on Cunnard Street

Fuller was also the initial architect on the New York State Capitol building in New York, however was replaced when costs continued to climb. He was eventually succeeded by Henry Hobson Richardson, who is the originator of the the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Richardsonian Romanesque is characterized by asymmetrical forms, round towers, string courses (Prominent horizontal bands of stone that stick out from the side), corbelled banding (particularly in the towers, where the narrow lower portion transitions to the wider top portion), and deep set multi-pane windows with heavy mullions with wide voussoirs (Stones in curved part of the Arch).

The drill hall has been home to the Princess Louise Fusiliers and the 1st (Halifax-Dartmouth) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, since it was constructed. The Princess Louise Fusiliers hold battle honours in the Riel Rebellion, Boar War, Both World Wars and Afghanistan. The 1st Artillery served as a home defence unit, providing anti-aircaraft support during both world wars. The hall was also used for Social Events earlier in its life, and held dances.


The Regimental Rogue Offered two posts with much better scans of the above floor plans and Elevations. I Have included them Below.


George Wright Residence


Located on the Corner of Inglis St and Young Ave. in the south End, this house has some significant history. The House was designed by J.C. Dumaresq, in 1902 for George Wright. (Note that this will not be the last time we hear of this Client/Architect relationship)Wright himself Was quite wealthy, owning both the St. Paul’s Building and Wright Building on Barrington street. Wright Ave. (Off  Morris, East of South Park St. is Named for him. It was also the location of a series of working class Duplexes, built behind more elaborate mansions fronting South Park St, which were also commissioned by Wright. Wright was also a supported of the temperance movement, and financially supported many local charities.

Despite his prolific Building program, George Wright is probably best remembered not for how he lived, or what he built, but for how he died. Wright was a traveler, and was unfortunate to be Booked for passage on the Maden voyage of the Titanic. His body was never recovered. He left the House to one of the Charitable causes he supported, the Woman’s Council of Halifax, Who continue to own the building today.

G_wright_0 G_wright_1 G_wright_2

Dumaresq chose to design the home in the eclectic Queen Anne Revival Style. The Queen Anne Revival is from the late Victorian era, and was most popular between 1890 and 1914. The Style generally feature asymmetrical facades, steeply-pitched and irregular rooflines, front-facing gables, overhanging eaves, circular or square towers with turrets in corners, unusual windows, wraparound verandas, highly ornamented spindles, and bright colours. Most of these details can be seen in George Wright House.

The plans and Elevations (above) Are Held by the NS Archives. Among the Other projects completed by Wright with Dumaresq as architect is the Marble Building on Barrington Street.

Owned By Gerorge Wright and Designed By J.C Dumaresq, Wright’s Building or the Marble building as its now known was built in 1896. Built in the Chicago Style, to compliment the Nova Scotia Furnishings building next door.The facade consists of Red and Grey brick, with Terracotta accents. Window pairs are separated by Red Marble Columns, Which are responsible for the building taking the “Marble building” name.

(Above) Wright’s Building 1896 show use of Red and grey brick with terracotta. The Owners name emblazoned on top. (below) Detail between stories.

For 4 years this Building Housed a Marconi Wireless station. in 1896, like today, The latest and most modern buildings attract the most modern clients..

the Works of Edward Elliot

the Nova Scotia Furnishings building was Designed in 1894 by architect Edward Elliot in the Chicago Style.The Chicago Style developed after the 1871 Chicago fire, and made use of the latest technologies in building. Chicago style buildings date from 1895-1930, and are typically designed with Metal (cast or wrought Iron and later steel) skeleton structural systems. This freed the walls to only need to support themselves, and allowed for much larger windows then had been possible.


Chicago Style buildings are typically commercial in nature, Over 5 stories, and feature large fenestration (fenestration refers to the openings in a building, typically windows) Typically Large 3 part rectangular windows

The Steel Structure in the Nova Scotia Furnishings Building is Readily apparent as it is exposed on the first 2 floors facing Barrington Street. When built it featured the Largest windows in Halifax, and was also the Tallest building on Barrington Street, and featured a passenger elevator. The Building Crosses both Blocks, and also has a brick front on Argyle Street.

Edward Elliot also designed the Harrison Building on Barrington Street, the Newman Store, the gates at Point Pleasant Park, the Truro Agricultural College and the Dartmouth Post Office.


Halifax City Hall was built by Rhodes, Curry & Company between 1887 and 1890 in an eclectic late-Victorian version of the Second Empire style.

Argyle Street Elevation.
Duke Street Elevation

When built the Building held all the municipal functions for the city of Halifax. The first floor was for offices requiring public access with additional offices, committee rooms and council chambers on the second floor. The building also provided space in the basement for the police department, lockup and court, and for a library on the second floor. A Majority of the Third floor was assigned to the city Museum.IMG_0775


IMG_0780The City decided to hold a competition to select the Design for the New City Hall. Edward Elliot submited the winning proposal.

(Above)stain glass on main stairwell (Below) Mayors Office

(below) Council Chambers. Though recently renovated, the layout of the room was changed to reflect the setup of council as the room was built.

Edward Elliot also designed the Harrison Building on Barrington Street, the Newman Store, the gates at Point Pleasant Park, the Truro Agricultural College and the Dartmouth Post Office. A full list can be found at the Dictionary of Architects in Canada

the Churchfield Barracks

The ChurchField Barracks, (locally known as the 12 apostles) are a 12 unit townhouse on Brunswick street. The Churchfield Barracks originally served as married Officer living quarters, for officers stationed at Citadel hill. They were built in 1903 by the British Army.

The Churchfield name comes from the fact that they were built on the Garrison Chapel Grounds, the chapel itself located at the corner of Brunswick and Cogswell. Most of that context has since been replaced, largely due to suggestions that the land was prime area for expansion in the 1946 Master plan.

The Historic Places registry describes the Barracks “as a good example Gothic Revival style and is unique within Nova Scotia. The units feature steeply pitched gabled roofs with covered porch entrances that provide shelter and easy run off of rain and snow. Each unit features a gabled Gothic style dormer and an enclosed porch with a small window. As well each unit has a sentimental window on the first story with radiating voussoir and sandstone window sill. “

Floor Plan Courtesy of the Eleventh Apostle Blog – the blog of a full gut and renovation of the 11th unit. Lots of pictures of what the insides look like. The Barracks  made the news  a few years ago due to a fence erected in a front yard, which according to the city is a substantial alteration of the property.