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Sterns' Corner

81 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/09/28

Side and front elevations, Sterns' Corner, Portland Street side, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 2005.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2005.
Side Elevation
Sterns' Corner, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 2005.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2005.
Pediment Feature
Front elevation, Sterns' Corner, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front Elevation

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1894/01/01 to 1894/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/11/01

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Sterns' Corner is a brick, Italianate style building located on the corner of Alderney Drive and Portland Street in Downtown Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Built in 1894, it is a important landmark for the downtown area and remains an integral part of the streetscape. The building is an excellent example of its architectural type and is visually pleasing. The heritage designation applies to the building and the lot it occupies.

Heritage Value

Sterns' Corner is valued for its association with several influential local merchants. Luther Sterns began his general store in 1849 in a wooden building at the location of the current brick building. Sterns no doubt chose the location for its proximity to the Halifax Harbour that the boats that would have carried merchandise for this store. The dry goods, shoe store and post office business operated for seventy-five years. Sterns died in 1892 before the brick structure was built, however by that time his son Edwin had joined the business, which at the time was known as L. Sterns and Son. Edwin Sterns hired Edward Elliott to design the current building in 1894. Sterns' Corner is the one of best known structures in the area and was the core of the old downtown commercial district. During the 1917 Halifax Explosion, the foundation of the building was damaged and the storefront suffered major damage.

Sterns' Corner is also valued as an excellent example of Italianate architecture in Dartmouth. Sterns' Corner is a three storey brick structure that is ideally situated near the Alderney Ferry Terminal. This style of building has been often adapted for commercial purposes. The Italianate features are seen in the corner pilasters and the segmental arch shape of the window openings. As well the cornice is broken by a raised freestanding pediment form. This pediment shaped feature on the façade of the building near the roof is an embossed stone circle with the dates of the building. The circular pattern allows the passer-by to read the date as 1849 or 1894. These dates represent the founding of the business and the completion of construction of the current structure.

Source: HRM Heritage Property File: 81 Alderney Drive, Sterns' Corner, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Sterns' Corner relate to its Italianate style and include:

- three storey brick construction;
- corner pilasters;
- segmental arch shaped windows;
- broken cornice;
- raised freestanding pediment;
- embossed dates in pediment;
- location in downtown Dartmouth.



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


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

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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