Links and documents
1926/01/01 to 1927/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
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.
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.”
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
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
Location of Supporting Documentation
HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Cross-Reference to Collection