Home / Accueil

Imperial Oil Building

1860 Upper Water Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/01/25

Front elevation, Imperial Oil Building, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1997.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 1997.
Front Elevation
Front elevation, Imperial Oil Building, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2004.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2004.
Front Elevation
No Image

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1926/01/01 to 1927/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/07/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Imperial Oil Building is a two-storey, red brick building located in Downtown Halifax, NS, near the Halifax Harbour Waterfront. The building is located on the corner of a busy intersection at Duke and Upper Water Streets. Built in 1926 as a commercial building, it has Classical details including a symmetrical, five-bay façade with pilasters, quoins surrounding the central doorway, and a copper cornice lining the flat roof. The designation applies to the buildings and the land it occupies.

Heritage Value

The Imperial Oil Building is valued for its historical associations and architectural design.

The building is situated on the former site of the Pontac Inn. The Inn was well-known in the early years of the city and often hosted prominent members of Halifax society. The Pontac Inn is thought to have been partially destroyed by a fire in 1830, rebuilt and briefly occupied and eventually purchased by Imperial Oil Limited in 1925. The wooden building that remained on the site was demolished and a new building was built in 1926. Imperial Oil Limited used the site for general office space until 1954. The building was then used as offices by various shipping firms and consulates. Since the 1980s it has been used as a restaurant.

Architecturally, the Imperial Oil Building is valued for its early twentieth century Classical style. The building is well-proportioned and relatively plain with a few decorative elements. This rectangular shaped building is predominantly constructed of red brick, with granite foundation. The overall simple design of the Imperial Oil Building with few classical elements of design is perhaps indicative of the attitudes of the company at the time of the building's construction.

Source: HRM Heritage Property File 1860 Upper Water Street, Imperial Oil - Historic Properties, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Imperial Oil Building relate to its twentieth century Classical style and contribution to the surrounding streetscape and include:

- solid block massing;
- rectangular shaped;
- two-storey construction of brick;
- flat roof;
- granite foundation, lugsills, window keystones and trimming, pilaster capitals and the quoining surrounding doorway;
- five symmetrical bays divided by low relief pilasters;
- four simple windows on each bay, two at the ground level and two at the second floor and a segmented one on the second floor;
- granite linear voussoirs surrounding the windows and doors that feature a prominent keystone;
- central doorway surrounded by granite quoins;
- copper cornice and the horizontal band of copper set above the second floor windows;
- granite block inscribed “Imperial Oil Ltd.”



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1830/01/01 to 1830/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places