Links and documents
1878/01/01 to 1878/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Halifax Academy is two-and-a-half storey brick structure in the Second Empire style. It is located on the corner of Sackville and Brunswick Streets in Downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. Well-known Halifax architect Henry Busch designed the structure with elegance to compliment the Halifax Visiting Dispensary and Salvation Army Citadel structures. This trio of buildings formed a commanding presence on the street. The Academy has retained its commanding presence in the area and remains a local landmark. The heritage designation applies to the building and the land it occupies.
Halifax Academy is valued for its association with its architects, Henry F. Busch and Andrew Cobb. Busch was one of Nova Scotia’s most significant architects, designing many of Halifax’s public Second Empire style buildings and was the style’s leading proponent in the late nineteenth century. Andrew Cobb, another well know local architect designed the northeast corner addition, which was added in 1917.
Architecturally, Halifax Academy is valued as an excellent example of the Second Empire style. The Halifax Academy has the signature Second Empire mansard roof, with a steep slope at the eaves with a flat top. The advantage of the mansard roof is that it provides full headroom in the half storey, no doubt a consideration when Busch designed the building. Another common element to the Second Empire style is the segmental arched window and door openings, as seen in the Academy. The building also features a cupola, roof projections, pilasters, and round headed windows, adding to its commanding appearance.
The building is also valued for its association with the history of education in Halifax. By 1878 the population of Halifax had grown to thirty-one thousand and there was a need in the downtown core for a permanent high school, leading to the construction of the Halifax Academy in 1878. The school was opened on January 9, 1879 to a male student body of seventy-nine. Girls were not permitted to attend the school until 1885. While other school buildings existed in this portion of Halifax at the time, this was the largest and represents the residential development of what is now the commercial centre of Halifax.
Source: HRM Heritage Property File: Halifax Academy, 1649 Brunswick Street, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The character-defining elements of Halifax Academy relates to its Second Empire style and include:
- mansard roof;
- arched cornices with brackets;
- round headed windows;
- segmented arched hoods on windows;
- arched doorway;
- two tiered cupola;
- projecting roof line on sides and façade;
- slim pilasters.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Peopling the Land
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
Function - Category and Type
- Special or Training School
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Cross-Reference to Collection