Halifax Academy Building
1649 Brunswick Street; Halifax, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J, Canada
Halifax Academy Building
Links and documents
1878/01/01 to 1878/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Halifax Academy Building is prominently located on the busy corners of Brunswick and Sackville in downtown Halifax, NS. The Academy is a solid, three storey, red brick building built in the Second Empire style. The provincial designation applies to the land and the building.
Built in 1878, the Halifax Academy Building is valued for its historical associations with the Dalhousie Law School, the oldest university-affiliated common law school in the British Commonwealth and for its associations with its founders, Richard Weldon and Benjamin Russell. The Academy was originally built to be used as a permanent high school in the expanding core of Halifax. However, in 1883 since there was no room for a law faculty on the main Dalhousie campus, Weldon and Russell rented two rooms on the ground floor of the building to permit law classes to commence. Weldon was the chief organizer and driving force behind the establishment of the Dalhousie Law School, and later went on to become the first dean for the Law School. Russell, a Halifax lawyer and part-time journalist, was the other driving force of the new school.
The Halifax Academy Building is valued for its architecture and its associations with the prominent architect Henry Busch. Busch favoured the Second Empire building style and the locally well-known Academy reflects this preference with some Italianate stylistic influences. The building is a good example of the Second Empire style in a public building and has a mansard roof, red brick construction and a modestly detailed symmetrical exterior. The style and elements ultimately complement other surrounding brick buildings of the same period. The front facade exhibits a central tower over the main entrance and a contemporary addition to the rear of the building complements the original building and utilizes similar red brick construction.
Source: Provincial Heritage Property Files, no. 23.
The character-defining elements of Halifax Academy include:
- unpainted, patterned, red brick construction;
- cut sandstone sills;
- course granite foundation;
- all elements related to its Second Empire style including the mansard roof with projecting dormers; the central entrance pavilion and two end pavilions; the five bay facade; the central tower;
- all elements which relate to its Italianate stylistic influences including its detailed, symmetrical exterior style and round headed windows;
- prominent location on the corner of Brunswick and Sackville Streets.
Province of Nova Scotia
Heritage Property Act
Provincially Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Learning and the Arts
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Post-Secondary Institution
Architect / Designer
Henry Frederick Busch
Location of Supporting Documentation
Provincial Registry found at Heritage Property Program, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3A6
Cross-Reference to Collection