Annapolis County Court House National Historic Site of Canada
Annapolis County Court House
Palais de justice du Comté d'Annapolis
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Annapolis County Courthouse National Historic Site of Canada is a handsome building in the Palladian style. Prominently located on one of Annapolis Royal’s major streets, it is raised upon a high foundation storey of rusticated stone, and consists of a symmetrical facade with prominent central portico, all under a gracefully curving hipped roof. The designation refers to the building on its footprint.
The Annapolis County Courthouse was designated a national historic site of Canada because:
- it is an aesthetically pleasing example of the Palladian style in Canadian architecture; and
- it is one of the oldest courthouses in Canada still in original use.
The heritage value of this courthouse resides in its historical associations as reflected in its design and historic fabric. One of the oldest courthouses in Canada, it was constructed in 1837, and enlarged in 1922-23. Still in original use, it continues the local presence of the British-based judiciary, which dates from 1721. Builder Francis LeCain designed it in association with the county grand jury, a common process in early-19th-century Nova Scotia. The symmetrical facade, with its raised central projection and columned portico, is a hallmark of the Palladian style and typical of courthouses of that era throughout the British Empire. Prominently situated within a neighbourhood of 18th- and 19th-century buildings, the courthouse enhances the historic character of the town of Annapolis Royal.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1993; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 1999.
Key elements contributing to the heritage character of this site include:
- those elements which speak to the designation as an aesthetically pleasing example of the Palladian style in Canadian architecture, specifically the rectangular form, the symmetrical facade of five openings with a central door, the hipped roof and surviving side chimney, prominent portico with columns, as well as the distinct horizontal divisions of the exterior mass of the building, and the use of rusticated stone on the ground floor and flush board cladding on the upper level;
- those elements which speak to this being one of the oldest courthouses in Canada still in original use, specifically its disposition of interior spaces that support the function as courthouse (combination of courthouse and jail) which is reflected on the exterior by the high basement, with spaces for support activities related to the administration of justice and county administrative duties;
- surviving original interior fabric and finishes;
- its prominent location, set close to the street, on the main street of Annapolis Royal;
- its continued use as a courthouse.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1922/01/01 to 1923/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Security and Law
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Courthouse and/or Registry Office
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection