Links and documents
1920/01/01 to 1920/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Royal Bank Building is a two-and-a-half storey Hydrostone structure on the corner of Young Street and Novalea Drive in the North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This area of the city is considered one of the best examples of a well-balanced streetscape and is known for its unique hydrostone building materials. The heritage designation applies to the building and the land it occupies.
The Royal Bank Building is valued for its association with the 1917 Halifax Explosion, the rebuilding program that followed, and for its unique Hydrostone architecture.
On December 6, 1917 two ships collided in the section known as the Narrows of the Halifax Harbour. One of the ships was carrying explosives and the resulting blast devastated much of the North End of Halifax and flattened wooden buildings on both sides of the Narrows. Those buildings that were not destroyed by the force of the explosion were destroyed by fires caused by overturned stoves. The explosion killed 1,600 people and wounded 9,000. The explosion also caused roughly thirty-five million dollars damage. The rebuilding of the North End included one of the first planned housing projects in Canada and the most ambitious utilization of concrete blocks undertaken at that time.
Planned by Thomas Adams and designed by George Ross, the Royal Bank Building is part of a neighbourhood, known as the Hystrone, which is a unique architectural district reflective of the stylish English Garden City design. Hydrostone was chosen as the building material as it is stronger than wood, and more fire resistant. The block that the bank sits on is split by a service road at the rear of the buildings and the unit faces a narrow one way street. A large beautiful treed green space separates this block from the next. This street was awarded the 1995 Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia Built Heritage Award in the commercial category. Since its 1920 construction, this street has been designated a commercial district of the Hydrostone area. It continues today to host a number of businesses that service the immediate North End neighbourhood of Halifax and function as a unique destination that appeals to a the greater metropolitan area and tourists alike. Most of the appeal is generated through the attention to detail of the original architectural style.
Architecturally, the Royal Bank Building is valued for its construction material, design and style. Hydrostone is named after the trade name of the hollow concrete block made in Eastern Passage, NS. Hydrostone was used as the primary building material. Locally the Hydrostone architectural style has come to mean buildings that are part of the planned neighbourhood that are made of hydrostone made to look like wood and plaster with a Tudor or English Cottage style. It compliments the Halifax Relief Commission Building at the other end of the street; both buildings anchor the commercial section of the neighbourhood.
Source: HRM Heritage Property File: 5509 - 5513 Young Street, Royal Bank Building, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The character-defining elements of the Royal Bank Building relate to its Hydrostone style and include:
- hydrostone building materials;
- Tudor style façade on second floor;
- two dormers on front and rear roof, one on either side roof;
- two-and-a-half storey;
- hipped roof;
- four eight-over-eight windows on second floor Young Street facade;
- entablature above storefront window.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
1917/01/01 to 1917/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Bank or Stock Exchange
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Cross-Reference to Collection