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Joseph Seeton House

1253 Barrington Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1981/12/10

Front elevation, Joseph Seeton House, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2000.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2000.
Front Elevation
Front elevation, Joseph Seeton House, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front Elevation
No Image

Other Name(s)

Joseph Seeton House
Heritage Hostel
Heritage House Inn

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1864/01/01 to 1864/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/08/31

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Joseph Seeton House is a three-storey brick Halifax House style building located on Barrington Street between Morris and South Streets in Downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is the first of a group of five brick houses with stone basement erected by architect and builder George Blaiklock. The heritage designation applies to the building and the surrounding land it occupies.

Heritage Value

Joseph Seeton House is valued for its association with its prominent occupants and community organizations. Joseph Seeton, commission merchant, bought the property in 1864. Seeton operated from Collin's wharf on the nearby Halifax waterfront, and had a brick warehouse at the corner of Duke and Hollis Streets. Joseph Seeton moved to Barrington Street in 1865 where he lived until 1871. Thomas A. Ritchie, barrister and member of a prestigious Nova Scotian family of lawyers, lived here from 1871 to 1890. Ritchie became judge of the Supreme Court in 1873 and Chief Justice in 1874. Throughout its history it has served as a residence and homes to a variety of organizations, including The Great War Veterans Association of Canada in the 1920s, Missions to Seaman Maritimes from 1957 to 1975, and the Halifax Business Academy from 1975 to 1982. Today, Seeton House operates as an international hostel.

Architecturally, Joseph Seeton House is valued as an example of the local Halifax House style. This popular style typically includes three bays with a side hall plan and is deep from front to back. The overall impression is one of solidity and stability that suited the original owners who were influential merchants and professionals in the province at the time. The building has a truncated gable roof with central dormer. Typical of the Halifax House style, Seeton House has is a smooth brick surface with heavy quoins and projecting drip course. The house is distinguished by its paired cornice brackets and full-length windows on the main floor. There is a consistent design of sandstone window and door surrounds. The shallow pedimented door and window surrounds are plain.

Source: HRM Heritage Property File: 1253 Barrington Street, Joseph Seeton House, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Joseph Seeton House relate to its Halifax House style and include:

- three bays wide;
- side hall plan;
- deep from front to back;
- stone basement ;
- truncated gable roof with central dormer;
- smooth brick surface;
- heavy quoins;
- projecting drip course;
- paired cornice brackets;
- full-length windows on the main floor;
- sandstone window and door surrounds;
- shallow pedimented door;
- plain window surrounds.



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

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

George Blaiklock



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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