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Old Fire Station

1679 Bedford Row, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1981/11/02

Front elevation showing main entrance and arched windows, Old Fire Station, Halifax, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front Elevation
Side and front elevations, Old Fire Station, Halifax, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front and Side Elevation
Front and side elevations, Old Fire Station, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2000.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2000.
Front Elevation

Other Name(s)

McKelvie's Restaurant
Old Fire Station

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1898/01/01 to 1898/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/07/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Old Fire Station is a square two storey brick and concrete building located in Downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia in what was once known as "Irishtown." The designation applies to the building and the lot it occupies.

Heritage Value

The Old Fire Station is valued for its role in the safety of Halifax, its association with fire fighting in Halifax and for its distinctive architecture.

Organized fire fighting has existed in Downtown Halifax since 1768. At that time men were called upon to volunteer for service and were known as “call men.” This tradition continued well into the twentieth century. In a city as old as Halifax, with the majority of its residential buildings constructed of wood, the fire house was central to the safety of Halifax residents and as such the Old Fire Station represents this historic relationship between residents and firemen. In 1918 City of Halifax made the volunteer organization permanent and a force of ninety-five men were hired, acknowledging the importance of the Old Fire Station and the men who worked there.

The Old Fire Station is located near the shores of Halifax Harbour and what would have been the centre of maritime mercantile activity, a driving force behind the evolution of the city. As such, the force working at the Old Fire Station would have been called occasionally to assist with fires aboard vessels in the Harbour. The Station is in particular valued for its role in the 1917 Halifax Explosion. The men at the Old Fire Station were called-up to battle a fire that had begun when two ships, the “Imo” and the “Mont Blanc,” collided. Nearly all of the fire fighting crew were killed when the explosive laden “Mont Blanc” blew up, destroying much of the city.

Architecturally, the Old Fire Station is valued for its unique building style in Halifax. Built in 1898, it is a flat-roofed, brick and masonry building with three large arches on the front elevation that would have been the bay doors for the fire engines, and have since been converted to widows. Similar arched windows are repeated on the side façade. Presently it functions as a restaurant.

Source: HRM Heritage Property File 1679 Bedford Row, Old Fire Station, located at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Old Fire Station include:

- brick and masonry construction;
- all elements related to the building's original function as a fire station including three large arched windows with prominent keystone on Prince Street side of the structural and three similar windows on the side facade;
- flat roof;
- groups of three windows with keystone over each window and continuous sill on the second floor;
- concrete string course above second storey windows;
- interrupted concrete string course along first floor windows;
- concrete columns, each with a capital, separate the brickwork;
- horizontal and vertical symmetry.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Community Organizations

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Fire Station

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




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