Description of Historic Place
The Bank of Nova Scotia building is a was built in 1931 to serve has the main branch for the organization in Canada. The Renaissance inspired, six storey, sandstone building is located in Downtown Halifax, NS. The building and the building footprint are included in the designation.
The Bank of Nova Scotia building is valued for its architecture, design, sympathic design to neighbouring buildings, for its and association with architect John MacIntosh Lyle.
The building was designed by famous Canadian architect John McIntosh Lyle. Lyle began designing banks in 1907 and had received three commissions from the Bank of Nova Scotia, including the main branch building in Halifax. Lyle was passionate about architecture and strove to make every design unique and reflective of its environment. Every surface of the building is the result of Lyle's research on the plants, animals and ocean life of the Maritimes. There is not a wall or doorway that does not hold some reminder of Nova Scotia's heritage. Built of sandstone, carved by Ira Lake, the design was chosen to harmonize with nearby Province House and Montreal Trust in height, material, and vertical lines.
The Bank of Nova Scotia building is a rare example of a Renaissance inspired structure. The building is six storeys with the interior ground level being the most spectacular and is the section of the bank that is open to customers. The main floor is sheathed in marble, brass, bronze, and wood. It has important ornamentation such as stone carvings and metal castings depicting the fauna and flora of the Maritimes and symbols appropriate for a bank. The concept and execution is an excellent example of Beaux-Art design. The front doors are bronze and metal of great size. On the exterior, there are traditional pilasters rising from channeled stonework. Pairs of bears, geese, and seahorses are carved in stone; codfish dance along the grilles on the windows. On the Prince Street side of the building the stone panels depict both the workings of the Sydney steel plant and the magnificence of a clipper ship in full sail. Mammoth Canadian coins are emblazoned on the central frieze beneath the roof cornice.
The building continues today to serve as a bank and branch offices.
Source: HRM Heritage Property File 1709 Hollis Street, The Bank of Nova Scotia, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The character-defining elements of the Bank of Nova Scotia relate to its Beaux Arts period architecture and include:
- six storey construction;
- form and massing
- interior main floor is sheathed in marble, brass, bronze, and wood;
- stone carvings and metal castings depicting the fauna and flora of the Maritimes and symbols appropriate for a bank;
- large, bronze front doors;
- traditional pilasters rising from channeled stonework;
- codfish incorporated into window grills;
- stone panels depicting the workings of the Sydney steel plant and a clipper ship in full sail on the Prince Street side;
- mammoth Canadian coins are emblazoned on the central frieze beneath the roof cornice.