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Walden Square

5419 Portland Place, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/03/01

Side elevation, Walden Square, Halifax, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage, 2005.
Side Elevation
Front elevation, Walden Square townhouses, Halifax, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage, 2005.
Main Elevation
Walden Square after the removal of the original roof, Halifax, Nova Scotia, circa. 1975.; Courtesy of the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Front Elevation

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1864/01/01 to 1864/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/10/05

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Walden Square is a two brick two-and-a-half storey Georgian style building consisting of two semi-detached houses located on Portland Place between Maitland and Brunswick Streets in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This building acts as an anchor in a pleasant urban area that has recently seen the construction of several residential buildings similar in style and scale to Walden Square. The heritage designation applies to the buildings and the surrounding land they occupy.

Heritage Value

Walden Square is valued for its age and association with the Methodist Church. Walden Square was built by Thomas Saunders, a local mason and builder, in 1864. The building is named Walden Square since “Walden” is often associated with the names of many Methodist churches. The first two owners of the homes were the Honourable William Black and the Rev. Humphrey Pickard. Black was a silversmith, ship owner, and member of the Provincial Legislative Council. Rev. Pickard was a Methodist minister who was the first president of Mount Allison University; editor of the popular local Methodist newspaper 'The Wesleyan;' and twice elected President of the Methodist Conference.

Walden Square is also valued for its association with early commerce in Halifax. Many of the residents following the original owners were closely involved in commercial activities. They included tradesmen, manufacturers, and merchants making Walden Square representative of the prosperity that the Maritimes enjoyed up until the early 1900s. Walden Square is a good example of the economic vitality and growth of this neighbourhood during this era when Halifax was a leader of industry.

Other important resident of Walden Square were members of the Dr. Avery Buckley family. Dr. Buckley was the founder of Avery Drug Company, the first graduate of the Pharmacy Board in 1878, and went on to open the Buckley Brothers Drug Store on Barrington Street. Brother Albert Buckley received his Master of Pharmacy from Dalhousie College in 1882 and expanded the pharmacy to include six locations in Halifax. The Buckley Brothers trademark is the nationally famous cough syrup 'Buckley's Mixture,' which is still sold across Canada today.

Architecturally, Walden Square is valued as an excellent example of the Georgian style. The building reflects the balanced Georgian style that was popular in Halifax until the late 1860s. The two houses are mirror images of each other and follow the grade of the topography, giving a stepped appearance. The Georgian style is seen in the steeply pitched truncated gable roof with bracketed eaves and wide cornice. Symmetry is representative of this style and is seen in the placement of the windows and the centered doorway. In the late 1990s a major restoration of the house was undertaken. Sometime in the twentieth century the gable roof was removed. In the late 1990s it was restored to what is believed to be its original appearance.

Source: HRM Heritage File: 5419 - 5425 Portland Place, Walden Square, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Walden Square relate to its Georgian style and ‘mirrored’ repetition of characteristics on both sections of the building and include:

- steeply pitched truncated gable roof;
- bracketed eaves and wide cornice;
- two well proportioned dormers on the front and rear elevations of each section;
- two-and-a-half storey stone and brick construction with granite quoins and drip course;
- granite caps and sills;
- larger window over doorway;
- three bay façade with central doorway;
- wood panelled doors;
- entablature;
- columns with capitals;
- decorative doorway window etching;
- centrally located large chimney;
- rough slate block foundation.



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


Multiple Dwelling


Architect / Designer



Thomas Saunders

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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