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Hydrostone District National Historic Site of Canada

Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1993/06/09

View of a part of the Hydrostone District National Historic Site of Canada, 1993.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1993.
General view
Overhead shot of a part of the Hydrostone District National Historic site of Canada, 1990.; Parks Canada Agency/ Agence Parcs Canada, 1990.
Overhead view
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Other Name(s)

Hydrostone District National Historic Site of Canada
Hydrostone District
Arrondissement Hydrostone

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This English-style garden suburb, one block deep and ten blocks wide, is located in the north end of Halifax. On its short orthogonal streets are homogeneous terrace-type houses arranged to face wide, park-like courts. At the Young Street boundary is a small commercial row, designed in the same subdued Tudor Revival style as the residential area. The designation refers to the buildings and the associated landscape.

Heritage Value

Hydrostone district was designated a national historic site of Canada because it is an excellent example of the English-style garden suburb in Canada retaining a high degree of authenticity. Its series of rectangular treed courtyards lined on both sides with a repetitive repertoire of residential 'Hydro-stone' buildings creates a remarkable sense of time and place with notably few jarring or intrusive elements, and it is the nation's first public housing project and an important example of the work of the influential town planner Thomas Adams.

Built to replace housing destroyed by the Halifax Explosion of 1917, the concrete-block (Hydro-stone) buildings were designed by Ross and Macdonald to complement Thomas Adams' plan.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1993.

Character-Defining Elements

Voici les principales caractéristiques qui contribuent à la valeur patrimoniale de ce site :

- the plan, one block wide and ten blocks deep with houses facing green courtyards and accessed at rear by service lanes,
- row of shops with apartments above along Young Street,
- use of standardized plans and elevations assembled in various combinations for multi-unit terraces and duplex apartments,
- consistent exterior design motif of restrained Tudor Revival using mock half-timbering,
- varied roof forms including hipped, gable, gambrel,
- standardized detailing including porches and windows,
- the use of fire-retardant materials including concrete block (Hydro-stone) as the primary construction material, and slate roofs,
- the grassed courtyards with mature trees.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1917/01/01 to 1917/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type




Architect / Designer

Ross and Macdonald



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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