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South Magazine and Shifting Room Classified Federal Heritage Building

Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1996/03/28

South Magazine and Shifting Room Classified Federal Heritage Building; Rhona Goodspeed, HSB, July 1995
Exterior Photo
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1843/01/01 to 1848/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/07/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

One of only three free standing structures within the interior of the citadel the South Magazine is a long rectangular, symmetrically low building with a gabled roof. It was designed as a magazine for the storage of gunpowder. The building is set within and surrounded by blast walls. It has massive, granite ashlar walls which are low on the sides and high on the gable ends. It is topped by a slate roof with granite copings. An entrance porch is centered on each end wall, a double shuttered window in each gable and four ventilation openings in each side-wall. The South Magazine and attached Shifting Room are part of a complex whereby the Magazine is a large bomb-proof structure recessed into the V shaped gorge, of the South-west Demi-Bastion, (one of the projections of the fortification). The Shifting Room is a brick vaulted casemate structure under the ramparts of the same Demi-Bastion and was designed for organization of barrels for powder and for the transference of powder between containers. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The South Magazine and Shifting Room is a Classified Federal Heritage building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
The South Magazine and Shifting Room is one of the best examples of a structure associated with the theme of the defence of the Imperial naval station of Halifax and is also an integral part of the coastal defence system at Halifax. The building illustrates the technology of a permanent main magazine of a fort from the mid-19th century. Its construction, the associated economic benefits and the subsequent influx of personnel had a significant impact on Halifax.

Architectural Value:
South Magazine is a very good example of a functional mid-19 thcentury military defence design. The construction and use of materials are highly specialized to accommodate technical functions and equipment. The design aesthetics derive from the massive, thick granite walls and the brick vaulted ceiling inside. Its solid ground hugging appearance is enhanced by its situation within enclosing blast walls. The building exhibits good quality craftsmanship.

Environmental Value:
The South Magazine and Shifting Room are located within the gorge of the Southwest Demi-Bastion, one of only three free standing structures within the interior of the citadel.
The South Magazine and Shifting Room complement and reinforce the military character of the citadel by their use of similar building materials.

Rhona Goodspeed, and Edgar Tumak. The Citadel Vols.1+ 2 Halifax, Nova Scotia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 95-001.

Halifax Citadel South Magazine, Halifax Defence Complex. Heritage Character Statement 95-001

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the South Magazine and Shifting Room should be respected, for example:

Its functional military design and good quality materials and craftsmanship as evidenced in:
-The rectangular, low massing with gabled slate roof.
-The massive granite ashlar walls and granite copings of the building.
-The surrounding blast walls.
-The entrance porch on each end wall and the double shuttered window in each gable.
-The four ventilation openings in each sidewall.
-The ceiling vault and relieving arches over the brick doors.l
-The interiors of the north and south vestibules and the Shifting Room with their brick walls and granite surrounds.

The manner in which the South Magazine and Shifting Room as part of Halifax Citadel establish the military character of the area.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type


Military Support


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Canadian Inventory of Historic Building Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 525, 25 Eddy Street, Hull, Quebec.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places

Aerial view

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada

Halifax Citadel is a large, stone early 19th-century British fortification located atop Citadel Hill, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The walled citadel is surrounded by an expansive…


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