There was northing organic about the creation of Halifax. On June 21, 1749 Edward Corwallis sailed into Halifax Harbour with 1,176 settlers and their families. Their arrival was a direct violation of the British treaty with the Mi’kmaq in 1726. Within a few months the native raids began as the British were busy fortifying the area.
In short order the new Halifax residents were embroiled in the Seven Years War with France and the new settlement - and capital - became the headquarters of the Royal Navy’s North American Station. The base was the launching pad for the Siege of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island that led to the submission of the French in Atlantic Canada, a much-needed refuge for General William Howe during the American Revolution and the primary staging grounds for the Royal Navy during the War of 1812.
Halifax’s war-filled days wound down after the Royal Navy transferred operations to Bermuda in 1818. The town eventually settled into the business of trade and finance. Samuel Cunard, who was born here in 1787, launched one of the world’s most successful steamship lines from the Halifax docks. Two of Canada’s most powerful banks took their first deposits in Halifax.
After Confederation Halifax did not prosper as anticipated as the leadign city of the new Atlantic Canada. In the following half-century the population rose only from about 60,000 British to 80,000 Canadians. With the arrival of World War I, however, Halifax moved to the forefront of Maritime cities. Halifax was the point of departure for most Canadian troops and the city’s infrastructure was modernised.
On December 6, 1917, however, a French cargo ship called the SS Mont-Blanc, laden with high explosives, rammed the SS Imo flying a Norwegian flag, in the Halifax Harbour. Even though the Mont-Blanc was moving only two kilometres per hour the collision caused a fire which detonated the French ship’s deadly cargo. The Halifax Explosion - some say the larrgest man-made explosion before World War II - claimed some 2,000 lives and left another 9,000 injured. Blocks in the city’s North End lay in ruins.
Halifax set about rebuilding and in the century since has not been shy about sacrificing old build- ings for new in the process. But there are still plenty of pockets of heritage buildings in downtown Halifax Regional Municipality (the City of Halifax, the City of Dartmouth and the Town of Bed- ford amalgamated in 1996) and we will begin our explorations to find them from a spot that har- kens back to a martial past...
bounded by Brunswick Street to the east, Sackville Street from the south and Rainnie Drive to the north
As soon as Halifax was founded in 1749 work began to fortify the settlement atop this strategic hill with its sweeping view of Halifax Harbour. Four different defensive stalwarts occupied this location, now a Canadian National Historic Site. The star-shaped fortress seen today dates to 1856 and is the result of 28 years of pouring masonry into its creation. Known as Fort George, the position was garrisoned by the Canadian Army during the First World War and did duty as an anti-aircraft post in the Second World War. The re-enactors seen today represent the 78th Highland Regiment that was stationed here from 1869 until 1871.
WALK DOWN THE STAIRS ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE HILL (TOWARDS THE HARBOUR).
Old Town Clock
Brunswick Avenue at the head of Carmichael Street
One of the most recognisable icons in the Atlantic Maritme, the clock in this octagonal tower has been keeping time since 1803. The story goes that commander-in-chief of all troops in British North America, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, wanted to put an end to tardiness in the Halifax garrison by erecting a prominent clock. The mechanism is the work of Benjamin Vulliamy, the Royal Clockmaker in London. The three-storey Palladian-style tower on the east side of Citadel Hill rises above a white frame building that at various times served as a guardhouse and the clock keeper’s quarters.
STANDING ON BRUNSWICK STREET WITH YOUR BACK TO THE OLD TOWN CLOCK ON YOUR LEFT IS... ‘
bounded by Argyle Street, Carmichael Street, Brunswick Street and Duke Street
This multi-use facility opened in 1978 as the largest indoor arena in Atlantic Canada. The Centre seats over 10,000 for Halifax Mooseheads games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and can expand to 13,000 for concerts. The arena is uniquely configured in the hillside to conceal its mass. The Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame is part of the Scotiabank Centre.
WALK DOWN CARMICHAEL STREET, CROSS ARGYLE STREET INTO THE GRAND PARADE. TO YOUR RIGHT, ON THE SOUTH END IS...
St. Paul’s Anglican Church
1747 Argyle Street
The original street plan for Halifax in 1749 was roughly six blocks along the water and seven blocks deep into the hillside. At the center of the town was a two-block long military parade square. This church building was raised on the south end of the Grand Parade on plans drawn by James Gibbs to resemble St. Peter’s Church in London, constructed two decades earlier. Services were held the next summer but the Palladian-style meeting house, the first such building in Canada, was not complete for another ten years or so. St. Paul’s stands as the oldest Anglican Church in North America and the oldest building in Halifax. It has been fiddled with over the years but the oak and pine frame, precut in the New England colonies and delivered here for assembly, still carries the load in the original part of the church.
TURN AND WALK TOWARDS THE OTHER END OF THE GRAND PARADE. IN THE CENTRE IS...
The empty soldier’s tomb was dedicated on Dominion Day, July 1, 1929, in honour of those who gave their lives in World War I. Fashioned from local Tangier granite, the names of Second World War battles were included later. The bronze figure of Britannia represents Nova Scotia motherhood and was created by celebrated Scottish-American sculptor J. Massey Rhind. Rhind, who studied at the Royal Scottish Academy, is famous for his Gettysburg Battlefield Civil War monuments in the United States and was also busy in Nova Scotia - the statue of Edward Cornwallis in Cornwallis Square in Halifax is his and so are Highland Soldier monuments in Chester and New Glasgow.
AT THE NORTH END OF THE GRAND PARADE IS...
1841 Argyle Street at north end of Grand Parade
This was originally the location of Dalhousie University beginning in 1818 but clamor for the prime space to be occupied by a public facility led to the school’s relocation in 1886 to Carleton Campus. The school building was razed and the city government then moved up from the waterfront into a sprawling Victorian pile designed by Edward Elliot. The building is proportionately balanced around a seven-storey central clocktower. Cream and red sandstone form the exterior walls. City Hall originally contained jail cells (from which Harry Houdini once escaped) on the ground floor. Today the Regional Council still meets in chambers in the National Historic Site and many government offices are here as well.
EXIT THE GRAND PARADE TO THE LEFT ONTO ARGYLE STREET. TURN RIGHT AND AT THE CORNER TURN RIGHT ON DUKE STREET.
Merchants Bank/Prenor Trust
1819 Granville Street at southeast corner of Duke Street
This handsome Beaux Arts vault was constructed for the Merchants Bank of Canada in 1911. The exterior is faced with white terra cotta tiles and highlighted by fluted Corinthian pilasters separating all the bays. Garlands in a wave motif decorate the arched windows and identical balustrades grace the roof and the window openings.
north side of Granville Street
Fire laid waste to this commercial street in 1859. William Thomas, who was known for his Gothic Revival architecture in Toronto and Montreal and who helmed one of the first architectural practices in Canada, was given the job of rebuilding. In one of the last major projects of his career before dying on Boxing Day 1860 at the age of 61, Thomas oversaw the designs of 17 Italianate stone buildings on this block. Their co-ordinated creation allowed for light to penetrate the urban space and present a cohesive streetscape. The block has been closed to vehicular traffic to evoke the days when horses and carts rumbled along Halifax streets.
TURN LEFT ONTO GRANVILLE MALL.
Split Crow Building
1855 Granville Street
John Shippey was awarded Nova Scotia’s first liquor license by Governor Edward Conrwallis on July 17, 1749 - less than a month after the gang all landed. Shippey set up shop on the corner of Salter and Water streets in his tavern called The Spread Eagle. His customers came to know the public house where they raised mugs of grog as The Split Crow. The descendants of that legacy occupy this corner space.
A.M. Bell & Company
1861 Granville Street
Constructed in 1903, this is the first all concrete building in Halifax. It was constructed with 20-inch thick walls on the ground floor, 18 inches on the second floor and 12 inches on the upper floors. The building served as the third place of business for the wholesaling concern of A.M. Bell and Company. Andrew Mackinlay Bell was born and raised in Halifax and started his own retail business at the age of 28 in 1875 a block away on Water Street.
Cast Iron Façade / Coombs Old English Shoe Store
1883-1885 Granville Street
Cast iron enjoyed a brief period of popularity in the mid-1800s as a building material. Pre-fabricated ornamental cast iron facades were quick to assemble and inexpensive. This facade with classical Italianate styling was fashioned by the Architectural Iron Works of New York City, whose stamp can still be seen on the store-front. Daniel Badger, descended from a New Hampshire shipping family, founded the company and became so renowned these facades were often just known as Bader fronts. Architectural Iron Works exported pre-fabricated cast iron facades as far afield as Cairo, Egypt. This Badger front arrived in 1860 for the Coombs Old English Shoe Store.
WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED EXPLORING GRANVILLE MALL RETURN TO DUKE STREET AND TURN LEFT.
RBC Waterside Centre
1871 Hollis Street at southwest corner of Duke Street
The six heritage buildings on this block had a tenuous hold on life. They survived calls for their demolition in the 1970s for a proposed new roadway and then came RBC Waterside Centre. The classically styled brick building on the corner with a curved corner is the Shaw Building. Designed by S.P. Dumaresq in 1901, it was the home of many of Nova Scotia’s leading sugar merhants.The Harrington MacDonald-Briggs Building at 1865 Hollis was considered the oldest commercial building in Halifax, opening its doors in 1820. Rather than obliterate this history for all time, RBC bank decided to raise its nine-storey glass office tower inside the historic facades of Hollis Street. The Morse’s Tea Building, a six-storey stone and brick warehouse at the far end of the block from 1841, survived to fight another day.
(IF YOU HAVE WALKED DOWN THE BLOCK TO SEE THE FACADES AND MORSE’S TEA BUILDING, RETURN TO DUKE STREET AND TURN LEFT.)
at southwest corner of Upper Water Street and Duke Street
When this 22-storey commercial skyscraper went up in 1985 it was the tallest building in Halifax. The glass wall tower, 87 metres high, is now the city’s third tallest structure.
TURN LEFT ON UPPER WATER STREET. TURN RIGHT AND WALK DOWN TO THE WATERFRONT THROUGH PRIVATEERS WHARF.
1869 Upper Water Street
The privateers in question operated during the War of 1812 when Nova Scotian sea raiders captured over 200 American merchant vessels and brought their plunder back to these docks for resale. Often the best customers were the Americans themselves. Enos Collins, who owned the notorious privateer schooner Liverpool Packet that was credited with 50 seizures alone, was the most famous of these “traders.” Collins went on to start the city’s first bank in 1825, the Halifax Banking Company, and was considered the richest man in Canada. Collins had plenty of time to accumulate his fortune - he lived into his 98th year in 1871, still fighting on the side of the British and opposing Confederation. The Collins Bank Building on the north side of the Upper Water Street entrance to Privateers Wharf was started in 1832. It anchors ten of the city’s oldest buildings in the complex, including the Privateer Warehouse with its roots in the 18th century.
TURN RIGHT AND WALK SOUTH ALONG THE WATERFRONT ON THE Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk (THE WATER IS ON YOUR LEFT).
Murphys Cable Wharf
This one-time cable ship terminal is now home to a flotilla of tour boats including Theodore Too, a full-size operating personification of the popular children’s television programme Theodore Tugboat. Theodore and his fellow tugboats plied the waters of the fictional Big Harbour in Halifax from 1993 until 2001. The CBC Television production used radio-controlled models but this grown-up version designed by Fred Allen, who created the models for the children’s show, and naval architect Marius Lengkeek has sailed as far as the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes on goodwill tours.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
The CSS Acadia was christened in 1912 and is the last ship afloat to have been commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy in both World Wars. Her day job, which she performed for over 50 years, was as a hydrographic surveying vessel. Much of what is known about Hudson Bay came from work performed aboard the Acadia. Retired from active service in 1969 the Acadia, one of the best-preserved vessels of her era, became a museum ship under the auspices of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
The Sackville was built in the Saint John shipyard for the British Royal Navy in 1940 as a Flower-class corvette to serve as an anti-submarine escort during the Battle of the Atlantic in the early days of World War II. During its duty the Sackville helped escort over 1,200 ships between Newfoundland and Northern Ireland with the loss of only 10 vessels. After the war most of the escort ships were scrapped but the Sackville was spared for reserve duty. She eventually was put to work for the Department of Marine and Fisheries but in 1983 was restored to her wartime appearance and moored as a museum ship.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
1675 Lower Water Street
The museum, the oldest and largest museum devoted to the sea in Canada, opened in 1948 and was the keystone to the development of the Halifax Waterfront. In addition to more than three score small craft in its collection the museum curates over 30,000 maritime artifacts. Permanent galleries remember Atlantic shipwrecks, the age of steam, the Halifax Explosion and the RMS Titanic that includes the world’s largest assemblage of wooden artifacts from the doomed cruised ship.
WALK BACK TO WATER STREET AT THE FOOT OF PRINCE STREET ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE MARITIME MUSEUM OF THE ATLANTIC.
Dominion Public Building
northwest corner of Prince and Upper Water streets
This splash of Art Deco on the Halifax skyline arrived in 1934 courtesy of the Public Works Construction Act. The Chief Architect’s Office provided the distinctive stepped back design for the tower leading to a central dome. Native sandstone and granite was used in the construction of the city’s first true skyscraper. Decorative motifs lean towards the influence of the sea - waves and dolphins and sea horses.
1684 Lower Water Street at southwest corner of Prince Street
George Mitchell was an active player in the West Indies trade and prosperous enough to buy this land in 1819, which at the time would have been much closer to the Atlantic Ocean before the days of infilling the harbour. His docks would likely have been right outside his door in those days. He built this standout Georgian-style house of native ironstone and trimmed the windows and doors in sandstone and granite. After the Mitchell family moved out the spacious abode was converted to warehouse use and eventually the ground floor was comprised for retail duty.
TURN LEFT ON LOWER WATER STREET AND WALK TWO BLOCKS, CROSSING OVER SALTER STREET.
Alexander Keith’s Brewery
1496 Lower Water Street
Alexander Keith was a member of the Legislative Council for 30 years and did a couple of stints as mayor of Halifax but before that he started working in a brewery on Argyle Street in 1820, three years after he emigrated from Scotland at the age of 21. Keith bought property here in 1822 and started crafting his own ales, porters and ginger wines. The current core of this complex was constructed in 1837; the original building may have been torn down or was incorporated into this brewery. It is apparent by the facades how the operation grew over the years. On the hill behind the brewery on Hollis Street Keith hired Scottish architect Wiliiam Hay to construct an Italianate-flavoured house in 1863. The Alexander Keith brand is still brewed on the premises with public tours available.
TURN RIGHT ON BISHOP STREET. TURN RIGHT ON BARRINGTON STREET.
1451 Barrington Street
Most of Canada’s provincial governments set their governors up on baronial estates outside of town but Nova Scotia handles its ceremonial business in a decidedly urban setting, although on beautifully landscaped grounds. Governor John Wentworth picked the location in 1800 after rejecting the spot for the legislature. Construction was based on a pattern book published by George Richardson with designs based on the work of his former employer, Robert Adam. The classically proportioned manor house was still not completely finished when Governor Wentworth moved his family in during 1805. Most of the wood and stone was harvested locally but much was imported as well, including fancy marble for the interior. This is the oldest official residence in Canada; it is occasionally open for public inspection.
Old Burying Grounds
entrance on west side of Barrington Street
With the settlement of the town in 1749 also came the establishment of the first public burial ground, which was much in need after an outbreak of typhoid claimed hundreds of lives that winter. By 1762 the original one acre of land had more than doubled to 2.25 acres. Burials were closed in August of 1844 after more than 12,000 internments. Unlike many urban burying grounds the progress of city life did not roll over this cemetery, thanks largely to ecclesiastic intervention from surrounding churches. The oldest stone marks the grave of young Malachi Salter from 1752. The Welsford-Parker Monument facing Barrington Street honours Nova Scotians Major Augustus Welsford of the 97th Regiment, and Captain William Parker of the 77th Regiment who perished in the Crimean War during the final assault on the Russian stronghold of Sevastopol on September 8, 1855. Stone cutter George Lang created the monument and carved the twelve-ton lion atop the arch.
St. Mathews United Church
1479 Barrington Street at Spring Garden Road
This congregation has been a part of Halifax since 1749 when Lord Edward Cornwallis granted a church site in town for a Protestant Dissenting Church. A meeting house was ready in 1754. In 1820 after the Presbyterians came to dominate the various dissenting groups it became St. Mathew’s Presbyterian Church. St. Mathew’s was the largest Presbyterian congregation in the Maritimes when fire destroyed the downtown church sanctuary on New Year’s Day 1857. £4000 was quickly raised for the current building which William Thomas and Sons based on the Gothic design of Knox’s Free Church in Toronto. That total doanted covered about one-third of the eventual cost. The first services were held on October 30, 1859.
St. Mary’s Glebe House
1508 Barrington Street at northwest corner of Spring Garden Street
This red brick Victorian confection was constructed between 1888 and 1891 as a priest’s residence and sometime boys’ school. It replaced the original Glebe House that had stood on the site since 1802. The design is the handiwork of one of Nova Scotia’s busiest Victorian architects, James Charles Dumaresq, who inserted decorative ecclesiastical sandstone elements in the facade.
TURN LEFT ON SPRING GARDEN STREET.
St. Mary’s Basilica
5221 Spring Garden Road
Catholicism in Nova Scotia got underway in a modest wooden house of worship in 1784. When the cornerstone for Halifax’s first stone church was laid in 1820 the original building was ferried over to Dartmouth. The current Gothic Revival landmark, with a distinctive triple portal entrance and a soaring granite spire that is said to be the tallest in North America, arrived in 1873. The cross on top stands 189 feet above the congregants as they arrive for services. It was Pope Pius XII who bestowed official Basilica status on St. Mary’s Cathedral.
5250 Spring Garden Road
Leading Canadian architect William Thomas arrived from Toronto in 1858 to provide Halifax with this impressive seat of justice. The classically designed three-storey sandstone structure is highlighted by a central Tuscan portico. The facade is awash in decorative flourishes with growling lions, bearded men and keystones. Matching wings came along in 1908 to provide more courtrooms. The Provincial Court still holds trials today.
TURN RIGHT ON GRAFTON STREET.
Halifax Memorial Library
Spring Garden Road at northwest corner of Grafton Street
This piece of property existed just outside the original palisade walls of the town. It was considered the Poor House where indigent people were given a proper burial - that ground is under the ten-foot bronze statue of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The burials stopped in 1853 and became Grafton Park with winding paths, trees and stone walls. In 1951 Halifax got its first full-service library, ending over a half-century of a “disgraceful” lack of a lending institution. Clad in Ontario limestone, the proportionately balanced building is defined by an orderly array of fluted full-height pilasters. It served as the main branch of the city library system until the opening of the striking cantilevered Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Street in 2014. The cost for free books from th enew dispensary - $57.6 million.
Saint Mary’s School
east side of Grafton Street
This unadorned brick institutional building began life as the St. Mary’s Boys School in 1904 and eventually merged with the parish girls school. The last classes were held in 1975 before undergoing a transformation into offices for the Archdioese.
Grafton Street Methodist Church
1544 Grafton Street at southwest corner of Blowers Street
Scottish architect David Stirling delivered this Victorian Gothic church building to the Halifax streetscape in 1868, replacing the original 1852 church on this site that burned to the ground. In addition to ornate finials Stirling outfitted the streetside gable with stone-accented buttresses. In the 1920s a group of nine Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregationalist congregations purchased the building and renamed it the Presbyterian Church of Saint David.
TURN RIGHT ON BLOWERS STREET. TURN LEFT ON BARRINGTON STREET.
1558 Barrington Street at northwest corner of Blowers Street
Constructed in 1897, this red brick Victorian structure anchors one of Halifax’s traditional commerce blocks. The owner was James Augustus Farquhar, a master mariner and ship captain known for his skill at salvaging wrecks. As his fleet grew he formed J.A. Farquhar & Co and extended his financial empire to the shore.
1580 Barrington Street
The bones of this building were erected in 1821 as a home for lawyer and politician Simon Bradstreet Robie. Robie was the son of Loyalists from Marblehead, Massachusetts who fled the American Revolution. He served in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1806 until 1826. Bradstreet died in 1858 and in 1886 the influential City Club purchased the property. Architect James Charles Dumaresq then gave the building an ornate Victorian makeover under a prominent mansard roof. The back half of the L-shaped building was eventually connected to the Neptune Theatre with an entrance on Sackville Street.
Church of England Institute
1588 Barrington Street
Henry Frederick Busch was a German native who sailed to the United States in 1847 at the age of 21. He came to Nova Scotia in the 1850s to join his uncle, a boat builder in Chester. Busch apprenticed with celebrated Halifax architect Henry Elliot and eventually practiced his craft in the city for 40 years until his death in 1902. This eclectic High Victorian creation for the Church of England Institute in 1888 is considered his best work. Its dominant feature is a turretted corner oriel window rising above a single engaged column. Together with the City Club next door and the St. Mary’s Boys Hall next to that these buildings were known around town as the “Three Sisters.”
1593/95 Barrington Street at southeast corner of Sackville Street
Walter Zeller began his working life as a delivery boy in an F.W. Woolworth Company store in Ontario in 1912. After pursuing his retail career in the United States he returned to Canada and launched “stores for thrifty Canadians” in 1931. Zeller aggressively expanded his discounting operation and controlled 60 stores before he died in 1957. This Zeller’s store, with a chamfered corner, was built in 1939 and is considered the city’s best expression of Art Deco architecture. The stone belt courses are adorned with decorative carvings. Zellers grew to 350 stores before closing its doors in Canada for the final time in 2013. The building, with 50,000 square feet, has been repurposed as the Discovery Centre science museum.
TURN RIGHT ON SACKVILLE STREET. TURN LEFT ON HOLLIS STREET.
1682 Hollis Street
Fifteen of the city’s leading businessmen got together on January 22, 1862 and formed a private club where members could “meet, toast the day’s successes, dine or simply relax in a warm atmosphere of history and tradition.” The clubhouse was designed in an ornate Italianate style and erected in sandstone by Halifax master builder George Lang. Notice the progressively shorter floors as the three-storey dining club rises.
1695 Hollis Street at southeast corner of Prince Street
Sarah Howard is considered to have opened the town’s first department store here in 1867. She had been widowed in 1860 with four children and went into business with one of her four children, Henry. The store specialised in the latest imported Parisian fashions. Sarah Howard and Son continued in business for about ten years after Howard’s death and eventually Montreal Trust moved into the elegant space. Henry Busch provided the Italianate design, executed in sandstone and boasting round-headed windows, carved window heads and an elaborate cornice.
Busch was also busy designing the adjoining three buildings running down Prince Street to Bedford Row. Wyndham E. Hefferman built and sold furniture next door and Joseph Howe and William Annand operated the Novascotian and Morning Chronicle newspapers at 5140 Prince Street.
Bank of Nova Scotia
1709 Hollis Street at northeast corner of Prince Street
Banking in Nova Scotia was a private affair until the Bank of Nova Scotia was chartered in 1832. The first deposits were taken on August 29 that year. Over the next century the bank built a coast-to-coast branch network and business in 25 countries. In 1930 John M. Lyle, Canada’s leading cheerleader for Beaux Arts architecture, was hired to design a new headquarters, a show place for Canadian natural and cultural history. The exterior of the six-storey sandstone building is adorned with figures from the natural world of the Maritimes. Inside, all fixtures and furnishings are meant to resonate with Canadian life.
1726 Hollis Street
Nova Scotia was so small when Province House opened in 1819 that it contained the executive, judicial and legislative branches of the government. Today the building, erected with sandstone quarried at Wallace on the Northumberland Strait, is Canada’s oldest house of government, looking much as it did two centuries ago. Even the stone wall on the property is original. Drawings for the Palladian-styled structure were provided by John Merrick, a local printer and glazer. Master builder Richard Scott interpreted Merrick’s work over eight years to create the finished landmark. On the grounds is a monument to Joseph Howe who won a libel trial in this building in 1835 that proved crucial to press freedom in Canada and cannons from the War of 1812.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
1741 Hollis Street at southeast corner of George Street
When it was constructed in the 1860s this striking Italian Renaissance building was roomy enough to hold the Post Office, Customs House and Railway Department. Today it is not large enough to contain the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia which is the largest art museum in Atlantic Canada and spills into the Provincial Building next door. The gallery started in 1908 and moved into these quarters in 1988. David Stirling designed the three-and-a-half storey building with distinct horizontal and vertical sections that lessen the impression of overall bulk in the composition.
TURN LEFT ON GEORGE STREET..
Bank of Commerce
5171 George Street at northeast corner of Granville Street
This Greek Revival bank with a heavily denticulated projecting pediment and an obscured entrance flanked by four stour, fluted Ionic columns, joined this serious financial block in 1911. Albert Khan, one of the 20th century’s leading architects working out of Detroit, Michigan, delivered this visually impressive vault for the Canadian Bank of Commerce. It is composed completely of granite. The institution began as a private bank, the city’s first, in 1825 and remained so until all the original partners had died. The official charter finally came in 1872.
1740 Granville Street at southwest corner of Prince Street
A penniless William Dennis sailed to Nova Scotia from Scotland in the 1870s and scrounged jobs around the city. In 1875 he was able to put $50 into a single share of a new newspaper, the Morning Herald. Dennis was one of 88 shareholders and also got a job as one of the paper’s two junior reporters. He steadily made his way up the masthead until he reached editor in 1882. Dennis became a 50-50 partner with John James Stewart, a lawyer who assumed control of the paper in 1876. When Stewart died of burns in 1907 he left without a will and Dennis engineered total control of the paper. The Herald moved into this building in 1900 which had been constructed in 1863 as the home of a dry goods business helmed by Thomas & Edward Kenny. The building was gutted by fire in 1912 and prominent Henry David Jost was brought in for the resurrection. he added three additional stories in brick above the original three, clad in granite.
CONTINUE WALKING UP GEORGE STREET THROUGH THE GRAND PARADE AND ONTO CITADEL HILL AND THE START OF THE TOUR.