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Lunenburg Academy National Historic Site of Canada

101 Kaulback Street, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, B0J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1983/11/18

General view of the former Lunenburg Academy, showing the mansard roof in the French Empire style with segmental dormer windows, massive central chimney, and the three projecting towers with pyramidal roofs.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Lunenburg Academy National Historic Site of Canada
Lunenburg Academy
Académie de Lunenburg
Lunenburg Elementary School

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1849/01/01 to 1895/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/07/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Lunenburg Academy is a large, late 19th century school building in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. It is a three-storey, wooden building in the Second Empire style, surrounded by a spacious, open playground area. Its key location atop Gallows Hill is visible from most viewpoints when approaching Lunenburg. The property abuts Old Town Lunenburg Historic District National Historic Site of Canada. Official recognition refers to the building on its legal lot.

Heritage Value

Lunenburg Academy was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1983 because
- constructed of wood in the Second Empire style, it is a rare survivor from Nova Scotia’s 19th century academy system of education.

Lunenburg Academy illustrates a significant stage in the evolution of the education system in 19th century Nova Scotia, which had developed from one-room schoolhouses into the Academy system. The county academies were publicly funded and offered high quality secondary education within the public school system. This was reflected in their design, curriculum and quality of teachers and facilities. The Lunenburg Academy was constructed between 1894-1895 to the designs of prominent local architect Harry H. Mott.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1983.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- the prominent hilltop location at the edge of Old Town Lunenburg Historic District National Historic Site of Canada;
- the setting of the school in a green space with playgrounds;
- the timber frame construction with wooden cladding;
- the substantial, three-storey, cubic massing;
- the mansard roof in the French Empire style with segmental dormer windows, massive central chimney, and the three projecting towers with pyramidal roofs;
- the lively elevations with their projecting and receding masses, defined by a twelve-bay façade with projecting frontispiece flanked by towers housing entrances and nine-bay side elevations with central projecting frontispieces;
- the lively, classically inspired ornamentation with pediments over openings, oval windows, and intricate brackets;
- the horizontal emphasis of the moulded belt courses;
- the large school bell housed in a tower;
- the large windows with wooden frames and muntins;
- the use of a variety of exterior textures and colours;
- the surviving interior configuration and ornamental detailing including the wooden wainscoting, stairs and banisters, paneled doors with transoms, and the original hardware.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type



Primary or Secondary School

Architect / Designer

Harry H. Mott



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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