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Prince and Hollis Buildings

5136-38 Prince Street; 5140 Prince Street; 5144 Prince Street; 1695 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/11/11

Queen Building, 1695 Hollis Street, corner of Prince Street and Hollis Street, Halifax, 2004.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004.
Queen Building, 1695 Hollis Street
Geldert Building, Nova Scotian Building, Heffernan Building and Queen Building, from the left going up Prince Street, Halifax, 2006.
; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2006.
Geldert, Nova Scotian, Heffernan, Queen Buildings
Cornice with brackets, dentils and lozenges, Queen Building, Hollis Street, Halifax, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Corner detailing, Queen Building

Other Name(s)

Prince and Hollis Buildings
Geldert Building
Nova Scotian Building
Heffernan Building
Queen Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1862/01/01 to 1869/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/02/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Prince and Hollis Buildings include four buildings, all dating from the Confederation period. They were all built within a few years of each other and create a strikingly unified streetscape for one block of Prince Street in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. They are all located adjacent to one another, with three buildings on Prince Street and the fourth on the corner of Prince and Hollis streets. The four buildings and property are all included in the provincial designation.

Heritage Value

These four buildings are valued because they form a little-altered, integral streetscape, dating from the Confederation period. They are also valued because they have a close historical association with both the Novascotian and Morning Chronicle newspapers, and with Sarah Howard, known as Victorian Halifax's foremost business woman.

The first building is the Geldert Building, located on the corner of Prince Street and Bedford Row. This building was named after John M. Geldert, who bought this property in 1853 and established a grocery business here. In January of 1857, fire destroyed Geldert's original business and this current building was constructed as a replacement in 1862. Two politicians also had offices in this building: Henry Pineo, a member of the Provincial Assembly and the Honorable Lawrence Power, a member of the Canadian Senate and Speaker of the Senate. The building was designed by the architect Henry F. Busch and is one of the earliest examples of his work in Nova Scotia. The building was constructed by a well-known Halifax builder, George Blaiklock.

The Nova Scotia building next door at 5140 Prince Street was also designed by Henry Busch and constructed in 1862-63 by Robert Malcolm, replacing the earlier building destroyed by the 1857 fire. As home of the Novascotian and Morning Chronicle newspapers, this building became closely associated with two well-known Nova Scotians, Joseph Howe and William Annand. Howe bought the Novascotian in 1827 and although he later sold it to Annand in 1843, he continued to write editorials for the paper. Annand founded the Morning Chronicle around 1844 and bought this property in 1856. Another occupant of the Nova Scotian Building was the printing firm of William McNab & Sons. Founded in 1863, they had moved into this building by 1871. Their work included the religious paper, The Wesleyan.

The next building on Prince Street was originally known as the Heffernan building, and is representative of the active commercial element in Halifax at the time of Confederation. This building was designed by Henry Busch and had been built by 1862, when it was occupied by Wyndham E. Heffernan's furniture hall. Heffernan not only sold, but also manufactured certain lines of furniture. Around 1877, Heffernan moved his business to Sackville Street. Although Heffernan is the name most closely associated with this building, he never actually owned it.

The next building on the corner of Prince Street and Hollis Street is the Queen Building, also known as the Howard Building and the Montreal Trust Building. It was also designed by Henry Busch. It was probably constructed during 1866-1869 by Sarah Howard and Son, a business providing elegant, imported clothing to the women of Halifax society. Although Sarah Howard died in 1871, the business continued for another decade.

This group of buildings are contemporary to that period when Nova Scotia entered Confederation. The people first associated with these buildings were the people shaping the nature of this agreement; an agreement which would have profound effects on the economy and culture of the colony. With the exception of the Queen Building, the Prince and Hollis Buildings now share an interior space which is currently being used as a restaurant.

Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 54, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Prince and Hollis Buildings include:

- original exteriors intact or restored forming a cohesive streetscape serving as an example of cohesion within the urban streetscape;
- proximity to other key downtown Halifax buildings, such as the neighbouring Bank of Nova Scotia, Province House, and those Hollis Street buildings which form part of Founders Square;
- built in accordance with larger trends in Halifax city planning, with four properties fronting on the narrow, north side of the block.

Character-defining elements of the Geldart Building include:

- four-storey brick masonry construction;
- hipped roof;
- facade divided into three sections by horizontal stone mouldings;
- the first facade section, or ground floor, which includes granite piers from which spring round-headed brick arches, with sandstone keystones;
- the second section of facade, or the second and third storey, includes window openings where detail becomes less ornate from ground to roof;
- the last facade section, or the fourth floor, where the windows are similar to those below.

Character-defining elements of the Nova Scotian Building include:

- four-storey brick masonry construction;
- facade divided into four sections by three horizontal sandstone mouldings, which also form window sills;
- ground floor facade made up of a series of piers from which spring round-headed arches;
- the second floor also has round-headed windows;
- the third floor structural opening is round-headed, but the window unit itself has a segmented head due to sandstone panels inset, which display a carved leaf motif;
- top floor windows have simpler segmental heads;
- various coloured bricks in the voussoirs, which contrast with the red brick of the building;
- roof cornice is fairly intricate and heavily bracketed.

Character-defining elements of the Heffernan Building include:

- four-storey brick masonry construction;
- ground floor has three large open bays and a fourth bay within which is the entrance;
- facade is not divided in any way;
- windows on all upper floors have simple segmental heads and freestone lugsills.

Character-defining elements of the Queen Building include:

- four-storey sandstone construction;
- flat roof;
- pilaster elements at the corners, into which are carved diamond motifs;
- cornice supported by heavy brackets and dentil work;
- geometric frieze pattern;
- facade divided into four sections by horizontal mouldings at each floor level;
- window openings at the ground level are round-headed and very ornately detailed;
- within the window opening there are actually two round-headed windows, surmounted by a circular window unit;
- a variety of geometric motifs are carved into the stone facade of the ground level;
- window openings of all upper floors are round-headed with labelled hood mouldings.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Office or office building
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Communications Facility
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer

Henry F. Busch


Robert Malcolm

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 54, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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