Links and documents
1894/01/01 to 1894/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Nova Scotia Furnishings is a six-storey brick and stone commercial property located on Barrington Street, in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its elegant Chicago-style architecture and central location on one of Halifax’s busiest commercial streets makes the building a prominent fixture of downtown Halifax. The designation extends to the building and the land it occupies.
Nova Scotia Furnishings is valued for its association with its architect, Edward Elliot; as an excellent example of modern commercial construction in Halifax during its time; its architectural features; and for its contribution to the surrounding streetscape.
The building was designed in 1894 by architect Edward Elliot who had just finished designing Halifax City Hall. Originally from Dartmouth, Elliot trained in Boston but returned to Halifax in 1878 and went on to become one the city’s most respected architects. One of his earliest projects was the Church of Holy Redeemer on Brunswick Street. He went on to design the Harrison Building on Barrington Street, the Newman Store, the gates at Point Pleasant Park, the Truro Agricultural College and the Dartmouth Post Office. In 1895, he joined with Charles H. Hopson, an English architect based in Washington. Their company, Elliot & Hopson Architects, introduced many American architectural styles to the Maritimes and was the first firm to open an architecture office in Cape Breton.
When completed in 1894, Nova Scotia Furnishings was hailed as being the largest and finest furniture and carpet warehouse in the country. It was the first commercial building in Halifax to use modern materials and construction techniques. Its plate glass windows were the biggest in the city and the building towered above all others on Barrington Street. The building also boasted a passenger elevator. Though it no longer dominates the street today, the building remains a testament to commercial enterprise on Barrington Street.
Architecturally, the building displays the Chicago style. This commercial architecture style evolved during the rebuilding after the Chicago fire of 1871 and eventually led to the development of the steel and glass high rise of the twentieth century. Developments in steel beam technology meant that a steel frame could support a much higher structure than heavy masonry walls and accommodate much larger window expanses; brick or stone cladding could also be applied to the steel frame. The Chicago elements of the Nova Scotia Furnishings include its symmetry, height, large windows and recessed steel storefront that covers the first two storeys.
Source: HRM Planning and Development Services, Nova Scotia Furnishings file.
Character-defining elements of Nova Scotia Furnishings include:
- symmetrical three-bay brick and stone façade with large windows;
- original form and six storey massing;
- flat roof with prominent bracketed cornice;
- exposed steel storefront covering first two storeys;
- steel frame construction;
- wide central arched and recessed entryway topped with ornate steel tracery;
- first and second storeys framed by rusticated stone block pilasters topped by carved stone capitals in foliate design;
- third and fourth storeys framed by brick pilasters topped by carved stone capitals with human faces set amidst a foliate design.
- fifth-storey arched windows with decorative top trim;
- lintels over third and fourth storey windows;
- simple moulded stone cornices above second and fifth storeys;
- series of eight, small, arched windows on sixth level with top trim and separated by Doric-style mouldings constructed in brick.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Inventory Site Form found at HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Cross-Reference to Collection