Memorial Tower National Historic Site of Canada
The Dingle Tower
Halifax Memorial Tower
Tour commémorative de Halifax
Links and documents
1910/01/01 to 1912/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Memorial Tower National Historic Site of Canada is dramatically located on a rise of land in Sir Sandford Fleming Park overlooking downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. Standing 34 metres in height, the imposing tower is approached by a large staircase and is flanked by two large bronze lions. The base of the tower is constructed of rough grey ironstone while the upper storey is of grey granite and features Palladian windows. Official recognition refers to the area of the peninsula on which the Memorial Tower is located.
Memorial Tower was designated a national historic site of Canada in 2008 because:
- built at the inspiration of Sir Sandford Fleming for the twin purposes of commemorating the achievement of representative government in the colony of Nova Scotia 150 years earlier and celebrating Canada’s relationship within the British Empire, it reflects a transitional moment on the eve of the First World War, when the country was on the cusp of a change towards more independence;
- it is a rare structure whose design neatly mirrors its commemorative intent by means of the transitional qualities of its architecture, from the High Victorian character of its massive rusticated shaft to the later Edwardian Classicism reflected in the tower’s more delicate classical superstructure; and,
- its prominent site speaks forcefully to Halifax’s special relationship with the British Empire.
The Memorial Tower was built in 1908 to commemorate the adoption of representative government in Nova Scotia (1758), the first British colony to do so. The monolithic base of the tower and the Palladian windows of the upper storey illustrate the use of High Victorian and Edwardian Classical styles respectively, and gives the tower its unique appearance. This combination of design styles captures this transitional moment in the meaning of Canadian nationalism as it moved toward a more independent relationship with the British Empire prior to the First World War.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 2008.
The key elements contributing to the heritage value of the Memorial Tower include:
- its prominent location on a rise of land in Sir Sandford Fleming Park, overlooking downtown Halifax;
- the tall, square massing of the slightly tapered tower set on a well-defined base and topped by a shallow pyramidal roof clad in copper, and the roofs broad overhang with dentilled eaves;
- the stone construction that incorporates both rough grey ironstone and smooth grey granite;
- the tower’s harmonious tri-partite proportions that are well-defined by its projecting base and the strong projecting stringcourse set below the upper storey;
- the elements of High Victorian design such as the solid rusticated shaft of the tower;
- the elements of Edwardian classicism, including the four large Palladian windows and the smooth exterior surfaces on the upper storey;
- the two large bronze lions set on granite plinths that flank the entrance to the tower;
- the monumental flight of steps that lead from the bottom of the rise of land to the base of the tower;
- the design and configuration of the metal staircase set within the body of the tower that allows access to the viewing platform on the tenth floor.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1908/01/01 to 1908/01/01
1914/01/01 to 1914/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commemorative Monument
Architect / Designer
Dumaresq and Cobb
S.M. Brookfield Ltd.
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec.
Cross-Reference to Collection