Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History -
Main Floor Gallery (entrance from side door parking lot)
1747 Summer Street, Halifax
St. Peter's, Cape Breton - The Village on the Canal
Speaker: Clair Rankin
For 10,000 years, the Mi’kmaq portaged over the isthmus that separated the Bras d’ Or Lake from the Atlantic Ocean near St. Peter’s, Cape Breton Island. Later the Europeans built a “haul over road” to pull their boats across this same narrow strip of land.
St. Peter’s is one of Canada’s earliest settlements. The Portuguese, French and later, the British, all recognized the strategic importance of the area as a trade route. It was home to three forts that witnessed seven battles for ownership. The village was an integral part in the emergence of this great country, Canada.
Sinclair Inn – Canada’s oldest surviving Acadian home built in 1710 (photo credit: Wayne Morgan)
Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia is hosting a public presentation by art conservator, Ann Shaftel, about the recently discovered 175-yr old hidden painted room found in historic Sinclair Inn in Annapolis Royal. The talk takes place on Thursday, October 15, at 7:30 pm in the Auditorium of the Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax.
Ann Shaftel, who is working to reveal hidden wall murals found in one of Canada’s oldest buildings says, “This is a significant find of national importance. The Sinclair Inn is over 300 years old; it is the oldest surviving Acadian building in Canada. My research indicates that the wall murals hidden behind a century of wallpaper were likely painted about 175 years ago.”
Ann Shaftel carefully removes 100 years of wallpaper to reveal a hidden wall mural in the Sinclair Inn
Sinclair Inn is a National Historic Site built in 1710. Originally there were two Acadian homes on the lot. One of them was converted to a ‘public house’ in 1747. Thirty-five years later, it was expanded to include both houses and became known as the Sinclair Inn.
Evidence that there might be a painted room in the Sinclair Inn was first noticed in the 1990s when the Annapolis Heritage Society purchased the building. Water damage from a leaky roof in an upstairs room caused the wallpaper to peel. Underneath was evidence of a wall mural. In 2012, members of the Canadian Conservation Institute inspected the building and confirmed that images were hidden under most of the wallpaper.
Upstairs room of Sinclair Inn hides 175 year old wall mural (photo credit: Sefton Squires)
In 2014, with funding from donors, including Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Heritage Society hired Ann Shaftel to further examine the room. Ann holds advanced degrees in art conservation and art history and works for museums, governments, universities, churches and private clients worldwide. One of her other projects was the recent restoration of the Daniel O’Connell ‘The Liberator’ banner crafted for the Charitable Irish Society in 1875 for use in parades and celebrations.
Ann’s reveal of some of the hidden wall murals and further research concluded that the Sinclair Inn’s Painted Room should be preserved and restored. The Annapolis Heritage Society will be seeking grants and donations to cover the cost of stabilizing the building and restoring the room.
The Sinclair Inn is not the first historic Nova Scotia building to reveal a painted room. The most famous is the Croscup Room discovered in Karsdale near Annapolis Royal. In 1976, the Croscup Room was dismantled and moved to Ottawa where it is now displayed in the National Gallery of Canada.
Heritage Trust hosts a database listing of painted rooms found in Nova Scotia at www.htns.ca/paintedrooms/. This lecture is part of a monthly lecture series that is free and open to the public. All are welcome!
Two women on a bridge overlooking the gorge, Victoria Park c.1913 (photo credit: Notman Collection, McCord Museum)
Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia is hosting a public presentation on Truro’s Victoria Park Pleasure Grounds by Joe Ballard, President of Heritage Trust. The talk takes place on Thursday, September 17, at 7:30 pm in the Auditorium of the Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax.
Note that due to the Food Truck event in the main parking lot, those attending the Heritage Trust presentation can park in the staff parking lot on the north side of the museum facing Bell Road.
Truro’s Victoria Park was established in 1887 as a Victorian Pleasure Ground to highlight the natural wonders of the Lepper Brook Gorge. Joe Ballard, President of Heritage Trust and a senior interpreter with the cultural resource firm, Vineberg & Fulton Ltd., will speak about his recent cultural resource survey of this unique park in the heart of Truro.
"Victoria Park is what historians like to refer to as a cultural landscape. While the physical ‘landscape’ (the eastern hemlocks, the paths and watershed) has been relatively maintained, the ‘cultural’ component has largely been ignored and forgotten,” says Joe Ballard, President of Heritage Trust.
Victoria Park has faced development pressures, changing tastes, and a loss in the collective memory about its place as a Victorian park. Once described as a “picturesque panorama of mountain and glen,” the 400 ha Victoria Park was the highlight of visits to Truro by many travellers over the centuries.
Joe Howe visited the park in 1829 and described the 50-foot Truro Falls (later named Joe Howe Falls) eloquently in the following passage:
"Lay thee down upon that rock, my gentle traveller, which the heat of the noon-day sun has warmed, despite the coolness of the neighboring waters – and there, with thy senses half lulled to forgetfulness by the murmurs of the falling stream – thy eyes half closed – and thy spirit all unconscious of earthly turmoils and care – give thyself up to musing, for never was there a more appropriate spot than the Truro Falls for our old men to see visions, and our young men to dream dreams."
Joe Howe Falls, Victoria Park, July, 2010 (photo credit: Joe Ballard)
Victoria Park still features many of the attractions that led to the establishment of the park in 1887. Jacob’s Ladder, the staircase that ascends up the side of the gorge, and several of the resting places along the climb are still popular with visitors. However many of the other Victorian attractions have disappeared over time.
In 2012, the Town of Truro issued a request for proposals for a comprehensive cultural resource study of Victoria Park. Mr. Ballard will discuss findings of this cultural study, identify the factors that threatened the historic landscape and reveal what it is that makes Victoria Park one of Nova Scotia's most unrealized tourism assets.
Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, founded in 1959, is a non-profit registered charity whose goal is to conserve buildings and sites of historic significance, and to promote this important cultural component of Nova Scotia’s identity. This presentation is part of Heritage Trust’s lecture series, which are free and open to the public.
Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia is hosting a presentation by Pier 21 historian,
on Exploring Lawlor Island’s Quarantine Station on
All are welcome!
Heritage Trust’s annual meeting and special presentation on Lawlor Island will take place in the auditorium at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street Halifax on Thursday, June 18th at 7 pm.
Halifax was an important port of entry for Canada during the 19th and 20th centuries. For Halifax - as elsewhere - public health, and the threat of cholera, smallpox, and other communicable diseases, was a major consideration in government immigration policy. Lawlor Island’s quarantine station tells a remarkable story of immigration and medicine in Canada.
"Medicine and public health are important components of Canada's immigration history,” says Steven Schwinghamer, historian at Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. “Surviving evidence of the quarantine station on Lawlor Island can help us explore and learn about that past." Schwinghamer will discuss findings of a preliminary archaeological survey of parts of the island during his presentation.
In 1866, the British relocated Halifax’s quarantine station from McNabs Island to Lawlor Island. Within a few years, three quarantine hospitals and a disinfection building were built. When 2,000 Doukhobors, led by famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s son, arrived in Halifax in 1899, they were quarantined on the island. The industrious Doukhobors built additional buildings to house everyone during their three-week stay before moving on to their new homes in Western Canada. With improved knowledge of communicable diseases, the quarantine station on Lawlor Island eventually closed in 1938. Now the island is part of McNabs and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park.
Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, founded in 1959, is a non-profit registered charity whose goal is to conserve buildings and sites of historic significance, and to promote this important cultural component of Nova Scotia’s identity. Heritage Trust hosts a series of lectures which are free and open to the public. Visit our website for more details on upcoming lectures and events
Museum of Natural History
1747 Summer Street, Halifax
The Jewish Legion at Fort Edward, Windsor World War I
Speaker: Sara Beanlands, Archaeologist
Sara Beanlands, will give a public talk on the little-known subject of Nova Scotia's connection with the British army's Jewish Legion that trained at Fort Edward, Nova Scotia during World War I.
David Ben-Gurion, who became the first prime minister of the new state of Israel in 1948, was a member of the Legion. Ben-Gurion, along with hundreds of other Jewish men, trained in Nova Scotia before going to England for further training. Their mission was to liberate Palestine from Turkish rule during World War I.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm)
Museum of Natural History
1747 Summer Street, Halifax
Commerce Under the Hill: Schmidt’s Ville and Spring Garden Road. Speakers: William and Christopher Breckenridge
William and Christopher Breckenridge, whose family has lived in Schmidt’s Ville since the early 1950s, have extensively researched the district they call home.
They will speak about this unique early 19th century district that borders commercial Spring Garden Road. Their talk “Commerce under the Hill: Schmidt’s Ville and Spring Garden Road” will bring the audience back to a time when business and community were intertwined.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 Date to be announced 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm)
Museum of Natural History
1747 Summer Street, Halifax
St. Peter's, Cape Breton—The Village on the Canal
For 10,000 years, the Mi’kmaq traversed the isthmus that separated the Bras d’ Or Lake from the Atlantic Ocean. Later, the first Europeans built a marine railway to haul their boats across this isthmus. Home to three forts which witnessed seven battles for ownership, St. Peter’s was an integral ingredient in the emergence of this great country, Canada. When the St. Peter’s Canal was opened in 1869, a new era of prosperity and community spirit dawned on the Village. Almost a century and a half later, St. Peter’s remains a vibrant commercial, cultural and recreational centre for Richmond County and to any visitors to the beautiful island of Cape Breton. Join St. Peter’s native and local raconteur, Clair Rankin, for an evening through time and timber as he presents the history of this storied shore.
Thursday, January 15, 2015 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm)
Museum of Natural History
1747 Summer Street, Halifax
The Lost Churches of Halifax
For over 250 years churches have been built in Halifax County. Churches have also been abandoned, burned down, blown up, sold or, to use a more modern term—repurposed. Many churches and synagogues too have simply disappeared—in most cases buried under a new office tower or housing development. There are, however, many churches that still stand as homes, businesses, museums, and daycares. Haligonians and visitors to our city pass by such churches on a daily basis in many cases oblivious to their existence. They are for all intents and purposes ...lost.
Revealing Details: Findings from the Charles Morris House
As one of Halifax’s oldest buildings, Charles Morris’ historic house has seen a varied and colourful history including two relocations and a variety of reuses. Thanks to work by the Heritage Trust many are now familiar with the documented history of the building.
There is even more to be learned, however, from the building itself. Marked by small fires, deposits of historic clothing, carpentry and marriage marks, blocked windows and doors, and layer upon layer of wallpaper, the physical evidence of the structure can be used to piece together even more detail of its life and its renovations.
To many of us, no building is more interesting than a building that shows signs of changing times, and a walk though the former office of Charles Morris is proof of this.
Archaeologist Laura DeBoer unwrapped and examined bundles of fabric hidden away in the attic of the Morris House on Monday, November 3 at the Archaeology lab, on the St. Mary’s University campus. The fabric and other items found during reroofing of the house this summer had been stored in climate controlled conditions at SMU since it was found.
Ms. DeBoer is an archaeologist of standing buildings and has documented the unusual construction details of the Morris building, the fourth oldest building in Halifax. She will give a public lecture about her findings to date on November 20, 7:30pm at the Museum of Natural History. This is one in a series of free monthly public lectures sponsored by Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia.
The Morris House is a joint project of the ARK, Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, Ecology Action Centre, and Metro Non-Profit Housing Association. The building was moved to Creighton Street in 2013 and is being repurposed in an environmentally responsible way to become safe, affordable housing for young adults.
Gordon Hammond, a semi-retired museum planner, is a key player in the ongoing development of Memory Lane Heritage Village on the Eastern Shore, recently
nominated by an international tourism consultant as one the dozen best museums in Nova Scotia.
Location: The Mary Holmes Room, St. Andrew's United Church, Coburg and Robie Streets, Halifax.
Church & Cemetery—Heritage in Transition.
A presentation of two case studies of how change is taking place in Nova Scotia’s church buildings and burial grounds.
Rev. Iain Macdonald (retired United Church minister) will explain how a four-point charge of the United Church in rural Hants County dealt with what has become the all-too-common challenge of downsizing in response to declining attendance and increasing maintenance costs.
Allen Penney presents: The Clifton Estate, Windsor, Nova Scotia
After a superficial description of the context, builders, and design of the landscape and house, and the development through thirteen stages of incremental addition and alteration, Allen Penney will outline the history of the house over its 180-year life. .... more
Justin Helm presents: “Victorian Ornamental Hardware in the Maritimes: 1860-1910”
The presentation will cover all types of decorative hardware such as: doorknobs, backplates, escutcheons, rosettes, mortise locks, flush bolts and door hinges. It will examine the gradual development of hardware and how it evolved to reflect the Victorian appetite for specific ornamental designs. .... more
Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia presented three major Built Heritage Awards in a special ceremony that took place in the Red Chamber of Province House in Halifax, February 21st. 2014.
The Main Branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia
is the winner in the 2013 Commercial Award category for its interior restoration that not only increased its function but also conserved its historic architectural design. The award also pays tribute to the Bank’s officials for their outstanding commitment to the ongoing conservation of this iconic heritage building that faces the equally historic Province House on Hollis Street in downtown Halifax.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
was the recipient of the 2013 Institutional Award for the conservation of the painted house of folk artist Maud Lewis who lived near Digby, Nova Scotia. Through the vision of the AGNS and the dedication of a group of patient and gifted conservators the Maud Lewis House was saved from destruction due to natural causes. The meticulous restoration of both the house and its myriad painted surfaces was the largest conservation project ever undertaken by the Gallery.
The 2013 Mary Schaefer Places of Worship Award
was presented to the church community of Église Sainte-Marie of Church Point for their commitment and dedication to the ongoing preservation of l’Église Sainte-Marie. A designated Provincial Heritage Property built in 1903-1905, the church was the collaborative effort of a French architect and local contractor/master carpenter Leo Melanson. It is the largest wooden church in North America with a steeple soaring 185 feet above the ground that dominates the surrounding landscape. That this impressive edifice continues to exist is a testament to the role it plays in keeping alive the faith, language and culture of this Acadian community.
The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia has been presenting Built Heritage Awards since 1989. The 2013 winners are exceptional examples of long-term commitment to the conservation of buildings that not only reflect unique architecture but also are illustrative of the ways in which our built heritage helps to preserve our culture and sense of community. For more on Built Heritage Awards view information under the “Awards” drop-down menu on this website.
Bruce MacNab Presents: “In Harry Houdini’s Footsteps: A look back at twenty Nova Scotia structures visited by the Handcuff King”
Bruce MacNab’s illustrated lecture will retrace the steps of Harry Houdini through Nova Scotia and the buildings where the young magician first showcased his extraordinary talents that transformed him from a small-time conjurer to the world's most celebrated escape artist.... more
John Whidden presents: The New England Colonial Style: Two Centuries of Georgian Influence on Domestic Architecture in the Wolfville Area.
The Georgian period produced architectural styles which spread all over the world in the 18th and 19th centuries, and which continued to appear throughout the 20th. The talk will consider the essence of Georgian architecture, why it has been so popular for so long, and the ways in which it has been interpreted in one small corner of empire: Wolfville, Nova Scotia..
The Garrison Orderly Books for the Army Headquarters in Halifax for the War
of 1812 are in the collection of the Nova Scotia provincial archives.
The Orderly Books contain entries that allow the researcher to gain a day to day perspective of war in a garrison town during the late Georgian era. Kevin Robins of the Army Museum invites you to join him as he shares some of his findings that illustrate everything from the posting of guards around the city to military justice and supply of garrison, as well as news from abroad and from the battlefields of Upper and Lower Canada. Poster image credit: John Elliott Woolford, View from Citadel Hill, in the collection of the AGNS..
Posted Sept 20-13
Mary Schaefer - high pulpit in Covenanters' Church
The Halifax Infants' Home
980 Tower Road
Halifax, Nova Scotia
One of the most important works of art in the possession of any Maritime university faces possible demolition.
This building is a remarkable testament to the emerging role of women in late nineteenth-century Halifax. The Halifax Infants’ Home was built by a women’s society, founded in 1876. The society provided shelter and medical services for single mothers and their infants, who otherwise would have been ostracized. The society raised money and constructed this building in 1899 and 1900.
This work was done while these same women were struggling for the vote and for the right to serve on legislative bodies. In 1894 the Legislature had voted not to allow women to vote. Most organizations were run exclusively by men. When women cared deeply about an issue, they formed their own organization, and rented or built their own building. Today only two buildings bear testimony from that time: the Home for the Aged (Victoria Hall), and the Infants’ Home.
The building is a masterwork of James Charles Dumaresq, the leading architect in the Maritimes at the time. Here Dumaresq employed his full panoply of architectural embellishments – a projecting frontispiece with Dutch gable, rusticated sandstone string courses, segmental arched windows, corner box bay windows, a Mansard roof, several types of dormers, a turret, a balcony, and an ell. The result is a composition that delights the eye, carrying it up and down and around, constantly finding new secrets to discover.
This building is one of the most important works of art in the possession of any Maritime university. The Infants' Home is a potential National Historic Site for its historical and architectural significance.
We understand that a consultant has suggested that there are structural issues with the building. The Heritage Trust is willing to work with Saint Mary’s University, the owner, to investigate the structure. The Trust has asked an engineer experienced with historic brick and wood buildings to inspect the building. The Trust will pay for this inspection and asked the University to grant access to the building, so this inspection can be carried out, but access has not been granted.
The University has indicated that archaeological investigations will occur in the fall, with demolition possible in November.
Top 10 History of Louisbourg: Past, Present, Future. By A.J.B. (John) Johnston
The talk is based on his decades of research and writing about Louisbourg and its 18th-century world. John is the author or co-author of fourteen books; thirteen deal with history and he has one novel so far. Among his most recent books is Louisbourg: Past, Present, Future (Nimbus Publishing). John Johnston was recently made a chevalier of France's Ordre des Palmes académiques in recognition of his body of work. The talk will be very well illustrated. More information on the speaker can be found at AJB Johnston.
Iris Shea Presents: Foreign Protestant Descendants at the North West Arm; Boutiliers, Jollimores and Slaunwhites.
Iris spent the first 18 years of her life in Jollimore where her mother’s family settled in 1908. She co-authored Deadman’s: Melville Island and Its Burial Ground with Heather Watts and, with Dr. Joyce Hemlow, published three articles on the Umlahs, Hemlows and McDaniels in the Nova Scotia Historical Review. Since 1999 she has been writing a monthly local history article “Discovering Our Past” in the Chebucto News. .... more
2438 Gottingen Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Photo: Phil Pacey
Victoria Hall, an important architectural and historic landmark, is for sale.
Mostly built in 1884-85, at the height of the revival of the French chateau style, Victoria Hall is one of the largest examples of this Romantic genre in Nova Scotia. The European-trained architect, Henry Frederick Busch, was one of the premier architects of Victorian Nova Scotia.
The building has played an important role in women’s history in Nova Scotia. The concept of a residence for older women whose means were “too limited for a comfortable livelihood” was championed by Isabella Cogswell, who devoted her life to helping the disadvantaged and the dying. Isabella Cogswell’s pioneering work for senior ladies was carried forward by a volunteer board. When Lieutenant-Governor Matthew Richey laid the cornerstone for the new ladies’ home, he said “Many handsome subscriptions to the building fund have been obtained.” •••more
The House at Blockhouse Corner presented by: Deborah Trask and Jeffrey Reed
Deborah Trask and Jeffrey Reed will discuss the historic house at Blockhouse Corner, which was moved in June of 2012. The move was documented by a film crew for the HGTV show ‘Massive Moves’, which aired in February 2013. They will talk about the history of the property, its surroundings and the structure. .... more
Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia is pleased to unveil its website and virtual gallery for the Painted Rooms of Nova Scotia. Although neither municipal nor provincial heritage legislation protects the interiors of private heritage buildings, Heritage Trust has undertaken this project to recognize, protect and catalogue interior decorative painting.
The new on-line database contains over 500 records representing 131 painted rooms and related decorative artifacts found in more than 75 Nova Scotian communities. Each entry contains a descriptive record of the property and its location. The virtual gallery includes photos, plans, deeds, and letters.
Saint Mark’s Place, Middle LaHave NS - Jim Lindner
(former St. Mark’s Lutheran Church)
St. Mark’s Place, Middle LaHave NS, was recipient of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia Inaugural Places of Worship Award (2012). The new award was conceived by the Trust to recognize outstanding work in the conservation and protection of a place of worship in Nova Scotia.
The award was presented to Mr. Jim Lindner, owner of St. Mark’s, at the Annual Dinner of the Heritage Trust on Saturday, May 12, 2012. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church was dedicated in 1902 and served as a Lutheran church until 2005 when it was closed. Jim Lindner bought the church building in 2009 •••more
This Strategic Plan for the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia will guide the decisions and actions of the Trust over the next three years (2012 – 2015), after which the timeframe can be extended or the plan refreshed to ensure...
A Coalition of Groups including Heritage Trust has been successful in arranging for the re-location of the building that, in the mid-1700's, was the offices of the Hon. Charles Morris to Nova Scotia Power •••more
In the fall of 2006 I was introduced to Ian Williams, Director of the MCPA , while he was on a concert tour in Yarmouth and a guest at the MacKinnon Cann Inn. During dinner, Mr. Williams told me of the adaptive re-use of an elementary school in Halifax ...more