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John O'Brien House

121 Victoria Street, Truro, Nova Scotia, B2N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/05/05

John O'Brien House, front elevation, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Front elevation
John O'Brien House, side perspective, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Side perspective
John O'Brien House, dormer detail, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Dormer detail

Other Name(s)

John O'Brien House
121 Victoria Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/11/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

John O’Brien House is a one and one-half storey wood frame dwelling located at 121 Victoria Street in Truro, NS in the urban core of the town. It is a Second Empire style house, with the characteristic mansard roof and a partially enclosed entrance porch. The house is situated in Truro’s Heritage Conservation District I, a neighborhood noted for its concentration of largely intact late Victorian residences. The designation includes the building and surrounding property.

Heritage Value

Historic Value

John O’Brien House is valued for its association with John M. O’Brien (1862-1924) who was proprietor of the Inter-Colonial Railway (ICR) dining hall for a number of years.

Architectural Value

John O’Brien House is a valued late example of the Second Empire style of architecture. Although the style had passed out of general favour by 1895, in Truro it remained popular for use in narrow lots and remodelled earlier buildings. The house is an important element of a late Victorian streetscape that the Town has designated Heritage Conservation District I.

Source: Planning Department, Town of Truro, file 10MNS0038

Character-Defining Elements

External elements that define the building’s heritage character include:

- all Second Empire style features, including: basic form and massing; simple mansard roof with a straight profile and prominent upper and lower cornice mouldings; narrow enclosed eaves with brackets at the corners; two front gable dormers, three on the west side, and two on the east, projecting through the eave lines; the side dormers supported by brackets; Stick-style decorations in the dormer gables; hip roofed single-storey bays on the sides, with brackets under the eaves; hip-roofed partially-enclosed porch supported by turned pillars, with turned rails on the balustrade and side stairway, and a wide moulded frieze above.
- all original window and door elements, including: double-hung sashed windows in the dormers and front façade; triplets of narrow windows in the side bays; front door facing sideways, slightly hidden from the street; simple wide window and door mouldings.
- building materials, including: wood clapboard cladding; asphalt-shingled roof.
- all building elements compliant with Truro’s Heritage Conservation District By-Law.

Elements that define the site’s heritage character include:

- consistency with its neighbours in terms of placement of the buildings relative to the street;
- all site elements compliant with Truro’s Heritage Conservation District By-Law.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Planning Department, Town of Truro, PO Box 427, Truro, NS B2N 5C5; file 10MNS0038

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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