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Robertson's Hardware & Warehouse

1675 Lower Water Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/01/25

Robertson's Hardware & Warehouse, north side view from Lower Water Street, large warehouse doors, paired windows, bracketed eaves, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Side Elevation
Robertson's Hardware & Warehouse, Lower Water Street view, sandstone sills, keystone arched windows, large storefront windows, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2005.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2005.
Front Elevation
Robertson's Hardware & Warehouse, storefront and warehouse view, different roof line heights, brick commercial style, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2000.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2000.
Front and Side Elevations

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1860/01/01 to 1880/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/03/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Robertson's Hardware & Warehouse is a Victorian style commercial brick structure that was built in three sections. The front and middle section are four storeys and the back sections are three storeys. It is located where Prince Street meets Lower Water Street along the Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia. The heritage designation applies to the original structure but not the adjoining Maritime Museum, out buildings used for boat building demonstrations, or Mitchell’s wharf. The heritage designation applies only to the Robertson’s Hardware & Warehouse building on the north-west portion of the property and the land it occupies.

Heritage Value

Robertson's Hardware & Warehouse is valued for its association with commercial activity of the important harbour front economy of Halifax. The hardware and ship’s chandlery that operated at this location dates back almost two hundred years. The Robertson firm existed for one hundred and four years, of which ninety four years were at this location. The structure was built in three stages with the back portion in constructed 1860 and the front and the middle portions built in 1880. The front portion of the building facing Lower Water Street was occupied by William Robertson and Son Ship Chandlery. This is the only remaining brick commercial structure associated with a wharf in Halifax and one of only two such store fronts along the street. At one time the Halifax Harbour shoreline was host to dozens of commercial buildings that operated in conjunction with their nearby wharfs, where goods were shipped and received.

Architecturally, Robertson's Hardware & Warehouse is valued as an excellent example of Victorian Commercial style. The main attraction of the front façade is the large glazed storefront. Notable items include the red brick, wood and granite sills, keystones, and arched upper storey windows. The windows are symmetrical, and have decorative stones and sills. The building also has bracketed eaves at the roof and between the first and second storey. It features curved glass pains and iron rails. The back portion of the structure is built in the mid-Victorian warehouse style with granite framed doors. The warehouse portion is a three-and-one-half storey unit at the rear with iron shutters and large warehouse doors, paired windows, and bracketed eaves. The side elevation of the structure features corner brick pilaster and sandstone quoins on bay doors.

The building is now part of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and is open to the public. Many original interior elements of the building remain, and the street level has preserved and interprets the history of the William Robertson and Sons Ship Chandlery.

Source: Heritage Property File: 1675 Lower Water Street, Robertson’s Hardware & Warehouse, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Robertson’s Hardware & Warehouse relate to its Victorian commercial style and commercial use and include:

- large storefront windows;
- four storey red brick, wood and granite construction;
- sandstone cornice;
- granite foundation;
- drip course above storefront;
- wood storefront window details;
- window rails;
- large bay doors;
- keystone;
- sandstone sills;
- keystone arched windows;
- symmetrical paired and single arched windows;
- bracketed eaves;
- large warehouse doors;
- corner brick pilaster and sandstone quoins on bay doors;
- location on the Halifax waterfront.



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

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type




Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services

Architect / Designer




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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