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Halifax Academy

1649 Brunswick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1981/09/30

Halifax Academy from a distance, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2005.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2005.
Side Elevation
Side elevation from Brunswick Street, Halifax Academy, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2005.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2005.
Side Elevation
Front elevation, Halifax Academy, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2005.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2005.
Front Elevation

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1878/01/01 to 1878/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/11/09

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.

Heritage Value

Architectural Value

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.

Heritage Value

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.

Character-Defining Elements

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.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


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

Andrew Cobb



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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