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Hillsdale House

519 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, B0S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/06/14

Front elevation and grounds, Hillsdale House, Annapolis Royal, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front Elevation
Side elevation, including ell, Hillsdale House, Annapolis Royal, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Side Elevation
Front entrance detail, Hillsdale House, Annapolis Royal, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Entrance Detail

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1859/01/01 to 1859/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/06/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Hillsdale House is a two-storey timber frame building with a moderately pitched gable roof located in Annapolis Royal, NS. It has been operating as an inn for over one hundred and fifty years. Provincial designation applies to the building and the land.

Heritage Value

Hillsdale House is valued for its Italianate style and for its history as an inn, hosting notable guests such as King George V and Prime Minister King.

Hillsdale House was built in 1859 by Susan Foster and she and her husband, Edwin Ryerson, operated the house as an upscale inn. Notable guests included the King George V (while he was Prince of Wales), Marquis and Lady Lansdowne, Sir Archibald Douglas and Prime Minster Mackenzie King. The original kitchen has been removed, however much of the original furniture, collected by Edwin Ryerson, remains in the house. Tourism is one of Annapolis Royal’s most important industries and the Hillsdale House has been hosting visitors for over one-hundred and fifty years.

Hillsdale House is an excellent example of the Italianate style, incorporating bold massing, heavy and sparsely placed decorative features, and round headed windows. The front façade is dominated by a central two storey projecting bay, capped with a large gable dormer. Large double windows are located on either side of the bay. Second floor windows have label moulds and the ground floor windows have heavy hoods, supported with massive brackets. The wide pilasters at the building corners, deep frieze boards and entrance porch detailing all contribute to the solid, Italianate image. A large ell extends from the back of the house, added circa 1897 to accommodate more guests. The house is set on a spacious, well manicured lot, set back from the road. Hillsdale House is a local landmark and continues to function as an inn.

Source: Provincial Heritage Property Program Files, no. 134, 1749 Summer Street,

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Hillsdale House relate to its Italianate style and include:

- form and massing;
- set back from the street on large , open lot;
- timber frame;
- moderately pitched gable roof;
- symmetrical three bay façade;
- centred doorway;
- double arched windows;
- second floor pilasters and paired bracketed return eave;
- deep, projecting portico supported by paired turned columns;
- open deck enclosed with ornate balustrade;
- second floor balcony over portico;
- first floor windows with bracketed shelves;
- second floor, and, all other windows double 1-over-1 with slender surrounds;
- recessed corner boards and wide banded fascia.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Heritage Property Program files, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS, B3H 3A6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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