Home / Accueil

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

1741; Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/10/17

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, side perspective, 2004; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Side Perspective
Frontispiece, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS, 2004.; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Frontispiece
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS, side perspective, 2004.; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Side Perspective

Other Name(s)

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
Dominion Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1861/01/01 to 1868/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/04/13

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is a three and a half storey, Italianate style building located in the core of downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Art Gallery was built in 1868, modeled after the fifteenth and sixteenth century Italian palazzos built during the Renaissance period. Nova Scotia sandstone faces the exterior of the building and is included in much of the decorative elements of the building. Both the building and the surrounding property are included in the designation.

Heritage Value

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is valued as a representation of the peak of Nova Scotia’s existence as a self-governing colony within the British Empire. Also referred to as the Dominion Building, the Nova Scotia Legislature voted in 1863 to erect a building to house the Post Office, Customs House and Railway Department, as these institutions had vital roles in the economy of nineteenth century Nova Scotia. Upon Confederation in 1867, the Post Office, Customs and Railways became federal responsibilities, though it was not until 1871 that the new federal government purchased the building from the province. After its service as a Post Office, the building housed for a time the Bank of Canada and later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia now occupies the building.

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is also valued as an excellent example of late nineteenth century Italianate style architecture. Designed by David Stirling and built in 1868 under the direction first of contractor George Lang and competed by John Brookfield, the gallery is a three and a half storey, sandstone building. The design of the building was influenced by the fifteenth and sixteenth century Italian palazzos of the Renaissance period. The height of the building reduces the buildings proportions, while the triplet composition of the vertical and horizontal divisions and the grouping of the round-arched windows give the building a simple rhythm.

Source: Provincial Heritage Property File no. 085.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Nova Scotia Art Gallery include:

- Nova Scotia sandstone used throughout the exterior of the building including the statue of Britannica;
- decorative parapets.

Character-defining elements of the Italianate style of the Nova Scotia Art Gallery include:

- horizontal band of round-arched windows, separated by projecting stone cornices at the first, second and roof levels;
- windows grouped in threes, bordered by a single widow on the east and west side of the main façade;
- windows decorated with round arched hoods, keystones and recessed sills;
- quoins on the principle corners of the building;
- central window elements on the third floor;
- pedimented gable ends on both the east and west facades and a broken pedimented gable with return eaves on the three-storey main entrance projection;
- cornice at the roof level with dentils and heavy massing;
- two large stone-clad chimney flues.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date

1988/10/17

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Museum

Historic

Government
Customs Building
Government
Office or office building
Government
Post Office

Architect / Designer

David Stirling

Builder

John Brookfield

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Registry found at Heritage Property Program, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3A6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

00PNS0085

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

SEARCH THE CANADIAN REGISTER

Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Find Nearby PlacesFIND NEARBY PLACES PrintPRINT
Nearby Places