Description of Historic Place
The Hydrostone Market is a two-and-a-half storey commercial structure built of hydrostone located on Young Street between Isleville Street and Novalea Drive in the North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The structure continues to provide a place for a vibrant market with a variety of shops and services. The heritage designation applies to the building and the land it occupies.
The Hydrostone Market is valued for its association with the 1917 Halifax Explosion and the rebuilding program between 1918 and 1922 that followed; for its role within the larger Hydrostone neighbourhood; for its unique architecture; and for its building materials.
On December 6, 1917 two ships collided in the section known as the Narrows of the Halifax Harbour. One of the ships was carrying explosives and the resulting blast devastated much of the North End of Halifax and flattened wooden buildings on both sides of the Narrows. Those buildings that were not destroyed by the force of the explosion were destroyed by fires caused by overturned stoves. The explosion killed 1,600 people and wounded 9,000. The explosion also caused roughly thirty-five million dollars damage. The Halifax Relief Commission was established to deal with the tragedy and its aftermath. The rebuilding of the North End included one of the first planned housing projects in Canada and the most ambitious utilization of concrete blocks undertaken at that time and is known as the Hydrostone district. Planned by Thomas Adams and designed by George Ross, the area is a unique architectural district reflective of the stylish English Garden City design. Hydrostone was chosen as the building material as it is stronger than wood, and more fire resistant. The Hydrostone Market was designed as part of the new neighbourhood as commercial space to service the local residents.
The Hydrostone Market is comprised of six commercial units and is valued as an integral part of the large ten block Hydrostone district. Historically, the shops were occupied by Wallace Brothers, Demone Barbers Herald and Mail, Emporium Company Colwell Brothers, Beckford Company Economy Grocery, and Sheppard House. Today, new commercial activities continue to service the immediate North End neighbourhood of Halifax, and as well provide a distinctive shopping experience that appeals to a the greater metropolitan area and tourists alike. Most of the appeal is generated through the attention to detail of the original architectural style. The block is split by a service road to the rear of the buildings and the units face a narrow one way street. A large beautiful treed green space separates this block from the next. This street was awarded the 1995 Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia Built Heritage Award in the commercial category.
Architecturally, the Hydrostone Market is valued for its construction material, design and style. Hydrostone is the trade name of the hollow concrete block, used to build the Market, made in Eastern Passage, NS. The Hydrostone Market is a distinct architectural style and that has come to be known locally as a style unto itself. The Market, like most Hydrostone homes, has half-timbering on the second storey, gabled dormers and a hipped gable roof. The structure has the appearance of five sections with projecting end and middle units of Tudor style second floor. The other middle sections are shingled on the second storey. The Hydrostone Market is flanked by the Halifax Relief Commission and the Royal Bank Buildings at either ends of the block.
Source: Heritage Property File: 5515 - 5549 Young Street, Hydrostone Market, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The character-defining elements of the Hydrostone Market include:
- Hydrostone blocks building materials;
- Tudor style façade on second floor of end and center units;
- two middle with bell curve shingled second storey;
- two dormers on front and rear roof, one on either side roof;
- two-and-a-half storeys;
- hipped roof;
- four eight-over-eight windows on second floor Young Street façade;
- entablature above large storefront windows with wood trim;
- transom lights above doorways;
- hooded doorways over end and middle units.