The first HTNS Award was granted in 1989. Click here to read about this year's winners!


HTNS Built Heritage Awards



2013 COMMERCIAL AWARD - The Bank of Nova Scotia (Main Branch), 1706 Hollis St., Halifax, NS –The Bank of Nova Scoti
2013 INSTITUTIONAL AWARD - The Painted House of Maud Lewis, 1723 Hollis St., Halifax, NS – The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
2013 MARY SCHAEFER PLACES OF WORSHIP AWARD – l’Église Sainte-Marie, 1713 Hwy. 1, Church Point, NS – The Church Community of Sainte-Marie


2012 JOYCE McCULLOCH RESIDENTIAL AWARD - The Rayski House, 211 Old Post Road, Grand Pré, NS - Wilhelmus and Paulien Peters
2012 INSTITUTIONAL AWARD - Sinclair Inn Museum, 232 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, NS - Annapolis Heritage Society
2012 AWARD FOR ADAPTIVE RE-USE OF A HERITAGE BUILDING– Willow Lofts, 18 Willow Street, Truro, NS - Willow Lofts Ltd
2012 PLACES OF WORSHIP AWARD - St. Mary's Glebe, 1508 Barrington Street, Halifax, NS - Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Haliax
2012 INAUGURAL PLACES OF WORSHIP AWARD - Saint Mark’s Place, Middle LaHave, NS, (former St. Mark’s Lutheran Church), Jim Lindner
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD - Lyndon Watkins of Schmidtville, Halifax, NS


2011 RESIDENTIAL AWARD - Kent Lodge, 654 Main Street, Wolfville, NS -  Reginald and Pat Moore
2011 COMMERCIAL AWARD - Avondale Sky Winery, Avonport, Hants County, NS – Lorraine Vassalo and Stewart Creaser
2011 INSTITUTIONAL AWARD – Glace Bay Heritage Museum, 14 McKeen Street, Glace Bay, NS – Glace Bay Heritage Museum Society

2010 - Morning Tide, 19 Water Street, Chester, N.S. - Philip Mitchell and Mark Narsansky
Special Mention to Cole-Built Inc., general contractor.
2010 - The Lofts at Greenvale, 130 Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth, NS - Dexel Developments Limited

2009 - Dominion Public Building, Halifax, NS - Public Works of Canada
2009 - Restoration of the Gardiner's Mill Dam, Yarmouth County

2008 - Ruggles-Munro House, Annapolis Royal, NS - Jane Nicholson (Residential)
2008 - Annapolis Royal Train Station - Jane Nicholson (Commercial)

2007 - St. Alban's Church, Lequille, NS - Tania Rolland & Andy Reid (Residential)
2007 - Rossignol Cultural Centre, Liverpool, NS - Sherman Hines (Commercial)

2006 - Amos Pewter, Mahone Bay, NS - Greg & Suzanne Amos

1999-2005 - no award offered for six years

1998 - The John Stanfield Inn, Truro, NS - Donald C. Keddy

1997 - no submissions

1996 - Atlantic Theatre Festival, Wolfville, NS - Michael Bawtree, Artistic Advisor
1996 - Wickwire House, Kentville, NS - Jim & Darlene Peerless

1995 - Hydrostone Marketplace, Halifax, NS - Larry Swinamer, Larex Properties, Inc.
1995 - Age of Sail Heritage Centre, Port Greville, NS - Port Greville Shipbuilding Museum Society

1994 - Wolfville Memorial Library, Wolfville, NS - Wolfville Library Foundatio

1993 - Dominion Public Building, Halifax, NS - Public Works of Canada
1993 - Convocation Hall, King's-Edgehill School, Windsor, NS - King's-Edgehill School

1992 - Planter's Barracks, Starr's Point, Cornwallis Township, NS - Jennie Margaret Sheito

1991 - The Biggs House, Grand Pre, NS - Elizabeth Stuart Goodstein

1990 - no submissions

1989 - The Coopers Inn, Shelburne, NS - Gary & Cynthia Hynes
1989 - Stephen Shakespeare House, Shelburne, NS - Elizabeth Hyde


Lifetime Achievement Award

Lyndon Watkins, Schmidtville, NS

photoMr. Lyndon Watkins was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award on April 25th when Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia hosted its Annual Dinner in the elegant Georgian Room of the Lord Nelson Hotel. The Award was given in recognition of and appreciation for the many contributions he has made to the conservation of heritage buildings in NS. The highlight of the evening was Mr. Watkins’ presentation in which he described the trials and tribulations he has encountered in following his passion for old buildings.

Mr. Watkins came to Nova Scotia from England in the 1960s, having been recruited by the Chronicle Herald, and continued with his planned career as a Canadian journalist and embarked on an unplanned career as a restorer of heritage buildings. He credits his grandfather, Mr. Charles Henry Blackwell, a Welsh builder and collector of old houses and barns, with instilling in him the ability to look at old buildings and see their potential rather than their derelict state.

His first project was an abandoned farm house in Cheverie, Hants Co. After restoring the house to a pleasantly habitable state he lived there three or four days out of the week and enjoyed entertaining his friends there. Sadly, some of the locals louts vandalized and looted the house to such an extent that Mr. Watkins did not have the heart to do it again.

However, once bitten…. His next project, at 1329 Dresden Row in Halifax, was originally a 1 ½ storey Georgian cottage with Scottish dormer, later converted to a 2 storey Victorian townhouse. This home was not only in disrepair but fire damaged as well and came to be known as Bleak House. A first inspection had him ready to flee in horror but encouraged by friends, he succumbed and presented a very low offer to purchase. Despite initial dismay at the acceptance of his offer, he proceeded with the restoration. This began his love affair with the historic neighbourhood of Schmidtville. Bounded by Clyde, Queen, Morris and Brenton Streets, Schmidtville is one of the most historic neighbourhoods in Halifax. It is named after the first family to live on the lands, German-born Christian Schmidt and his wife Elizabeth née Pedley.

His pièce de résistance is the conservation of the earliest group of structures built on the Schmidt land, two pairs of Georgian mirror-image cottages, 1314-1316 and 1318-1320 Birmingham Street. They were originally built for the four adult daughters of Christian and Elizabeth Schmidt. Although their exact age is unknown, 1814 coins were found under a floorboard. This unique enclave has been meticulously restored one building at a time. The pair of cottages at the rear of the lot have become what Mr. Watkins says will be his last home. Although only one room deep and not grand architecturally he has created a home that is a charming blend of the original elements and elegant decor.

The purchase of the home at 1312 Birmingham Street created a private courtyard between the three structures where his enthusiasm for gardening can be seen. This 2 ½ storey home is aptly referred to as ‘the Thin House,” having an unusually narrow front façade in proportion to its depth.

Mr. Watkins has had no formal training in restorations nor huge sums of money to bring in experts but rather has learned along the way, taking his time and letting the houses reveal their secrets to him gradually. Conserving old houses has been a labour of love for him with an emphasis on the labour.

To ensure these unique heritage properties will be preserved, Mr. Watkins has created a foundation which will maintain the homes after his passing.

In addition to his work preserving heritage buildings, Mr. Watkins has also been an active member of the Friends of the Public Gardens and the Friends of Schmidtville. The Friends of Schmidtville association is working to have HRM officially designate the neighbourhood as a Heritage Conservation District.

photoThe HRM committee of Heritage Trust has been actively engaged in supporting this initiative. For the grand finale of the Annual Dinner program, Dr. Elizabeth Pacey introduced a brochure entitled Houses and Stories of Schmidtville. The brochure published by Heritage Trust, with text by Elizabeth Pacey, research by Irene Fennell, and photography and graphic design by Arthur Carter, provides a sampling of buildings in this historic community. Beautiful photos exemplifying varied architectural styles and tales of their owners serve to whet the appetite for more information and, it is hoped, increase awareness that Schmidtville represents an important part of Halifax’s built and cultural heritage and needs to be protected for future generations.



The Rayski House
211 Old Post Road, Grand Pré, NS
Wilhelmus and Paulien Peters

photoWilhelmus and Paulien Peters were awarded the 2012 Joyce McCulloch Award in the residential built-heritage category for their complete restoration of a circa 1880 home of Second Empire style in Grand Pré. It was in parlous condition when the Peters purchased it and would have been considered a tear-down by many. Wilhelmus had fallen in love with the house years ago and, when it came on the market, he seized the opportunity to bring it back to its former glory. The two-storey shingled home has a symmetrical three-bay façade with central entrance, mansard roof with dormers and an open verandah. The first persons known to have lived in the house were two granddaughters of Nathanial Brown, a Massachussetts Loyalist who settled in Grand Pré. It is evident from the foundation that this is the second or possibly third house built on the site.

Doing much of the labour themselves, with all of the family contributing, it took the Peters over 2 years to complete the project. Much effort went into the preservation and restoration of original elements including the embossed hot water radiators, which were refurbished by a Montreal company. Replacement materials were carefully selected to match the form and material of the original. Hardwood floors were taken up, refinished and re-installed. Modern updates have been added without detracting from the heritage character. The home has been decorated in keeping with the period and furnished with antiques and is now available as a short to medium term rental. This beautifully restored elegant home lies within the boundaries of the newly designated UNESCO World Heritage Site of Grand Pré. The Rayski House is named in honour of the previous owner Krystyna Rayski-Kietlicz.


Sinclair Inn Museum
232 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, NS
Annapolis Heritage Society

photoThe 2012 Institutional Award went to the Sinclair Inn Museum in Annapolis Royal, owned by the Annapolis Heritage Society. The museum is a designated Provincial Heritage Property and a National Historic Site. Even in a town as rich in architectural heritage as Annapolis Royal, the Sinclair Inn Museum is a standout. The Inn is the result of the joining of an Acadian home, Soullard House (1708-1710), and a French home, Skene House (1711). At the time of amalgamation in 1781, a new roof was added to unify the buildings, and architectural details were added to give the appearance of a Georgian structure with Classical elements. Frederick Sinclair completed these changes and opened as the Sinclair Inn and Tavern. The building continued to serve as an Inn into the 20th century. In the 1980s, when the Annapolis Heritage Society acquired the building, the decision was taken to expose the varied construction techniques and finishes used over its 300 year history. The social history of the site is brought to life by the use of videos with local actors portraying 10 people who lived or worked in the building, the Sinclair Ghosts.

The recent restoration project focused primarily on exterior work to the cladding, roof, chimney, windows and doors, as well as increasing structural support. The quality of the work was exceptional, most notably on the windows. The windows were removed to the contractor's shop, painstakingly restored and reinstalled. Five windows were unsalvageable and replacements were custom milled. Some of the carpenters on the project, employed by contractor Sefton Squires, are graduates of NSCC's Heritage Carpentry program at the Lunenburg campus. With the completion of this project, it is anticipated that the Sinclair Inn Museum will continue for many years to inspire visitors and remain an iconic element in the streetscape of Annapolis Royal.


Willow Lofts
18 Willow St., Truro, NS
Willow Lofts Ltd

photoWillow Lofts Ltd, a partnership between Ron and Janet Meech and Gar Moffatt, was the recipient of the 2012 Award for Adaptive Re-use of a Heritage Building, to recognize their conversion of the former Willow Street School, a municipally designated Heritage Building, into commercial office space and residential units. The school was designed by local architect E.D. Vernon in the Romanesque Revival style and opened in 1915. The two-storey red brick and freestone building features a low pitched, copper-coloured, hipped roof topped by an octagonal cupola, deeply recessed entrances framed by rounded arches and freestone belt courses characteristic of the style. When the school was declared surplus in 2008, demolition appeared imminent. When it was purchased in 2010, the several generations of Truronians who had passed through its doors were very supportive of the conversion which would preserve this prominent landmark in downtown Truro.

The conservation work on the exterior of the building saw the copper-coloured roof and cupola restored and the brick work repaired. All the original entrances and windows were maintained. Great ingenuity was called for to integrate the interior structural walls into a workable floor plan to accommodate offices and high-end apartments. The commercial spaces with their high ceilings and transom windows over doorways are a charming reminder of the building's origins. The balconies on the north and south sides, a necessary addition for the residential units, were cleverly cantilevered into the building to avoid ugly supports on the exterior. The building has been fully occupied since it opened in 2011 and can be regarded as a textbook example of an adaptive re-use of a heritage building.

Ron Meech was a presenter at the 2012 Heritage Canada conference, where he was invited to speak about his experience as a heritage developer.

2012 Places of Worship Award

St. Mary's Glebe
1508 Barrington St., Halifax, NS
Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax

photoThe Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax was the winner of the Places of Worship Award for the complete restoration of St. Mary's Glebe, a municipally designated Heritage Property. It sits on lands purchased for the Roman Catholic Church in 1784, replacing an earlier residence for clergy. The three-storey brick building was designed by prominent architect J.C. Dumaresq and erected in 1891 in a blend of Neoclassical and Craftsman Gothic styles. The single storey chapel, in the Romanesque style, forms a protrusion on the west elevation. Although a consultant's report recommended demolition of the literally crumbling edifice, the newly appointed Archbishop Anthony Mancini had the vision and determination to see it restored and returned to its original use as a home for clergy and an iconic landmark within the Barrington Street Heritage Conservation District.

The top-to-bottom restoration of the exterior of the building included repair or replacement of brick work, replication of slate roof tiles, rebuilding of dormers, window replacement, copper downspouts and a recreation of the original garage. The interior saw a total replacement of mechanicals, cleaning and repair of wooden mouldings and fireplaces and the refurbishing of the original, stunning, stained glass windows at the Barrington Street entrance. Changes to accommodate necessary amenities including kitchen, baths and an elevator were incorporated without intruding on the heritage integrity of the building. The contractor, Dora Construction, brought a high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail to this project, ensuring the ongoing role of St. Mary's Glebe both as a church-associated residence with chapel and as an enriching component of the downtown Halifax landscape.

Inaugural Places of Worship Award (2012)

Saint Mark’s Place, Middle LaHave, NS
(former St. Mark’s Lutheran Church)
Jim Lindner

Kent LodgeSt. Mark’s Place, Middle LaHave, NS, was the inaugural recipient of the 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 and after a period of research and restoration, it re-opened  in 2011 as a privately owned state-of-the art entertainment venue available for community use on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.  

Jim Lindner is an audio-visual archivist, known for preserving cultural heritage. St Mark’s is very much part of the cultural landscape of the LaHave area.  At the time Mr. Lindner acquired the building, he stated, “We will not be restoring the church in the sense that it will be functioning as a congregational church, but it is a spiritual place and our hope is to preserve the character and respect the history of the building and the community.”

Before commencing conservation measures the building was documented photographically and measured. Architect Michael Napier assisted with restoration of the building. Rotten wood was removed and the roof replaced. Replicas of missing architectural elements were crafted based on original pictures of the church. The large louvers in the bell tower were replaced to restore the elegant look of the entire building. Most of the interior plaster was saved. The paint was stripped off the entire building and it was recoated with a clear stain. The pews were disassembled, the wood saved and later reinstalled in other parts of the building.  The plumbing and electrical services were upgraded.  The new wiring can accommodate the lighting and audio equipment needed for a performance venue.

Kent LodgeThe magnificent stained glass windows were restored and stabilized by Cranberry Stained Glass Studios, Halifax. Their restoration was a significant part of the project. See the June, 2012 issue of the Griffin for a complete description of the window restoration. For a detailed description of the repairs and renovations to the entire building, including photographs, see

Congratulations to Jim Lindner and all the craftspeople and suppliers who participated in the St. Mark’s Place restoration. The project is a much deserved winner of the first  award made by the Places of Worship Committee


Kent Lodge
654 Main Street, Wolfville, NS
Reginald and Pat Moore

Kent LodgeReginald and Pat Moore were awarded the Built Heritage Award in the residential category for their painstaking restoration and sustained conservation of Kent Lodge, a provincial heritage property. This 2½ storey wooden colonial home is an architecturally unique landmark and prominent feature of Wolfville’s streetscape. The Moores have devoted 25 years to researching and meticulously restoring the home to its early fabric. Ongoing work in recent years included a new exterior colour appropriate to the traditions of the home’s early years.  Kent Lodge was built circa 1761 in the Planter style with a portion of the foundation reputedly being of earlier Acadian origin. It is virtually unaltered from its original Georgian form, with its plain unadorned façade, six-over-six windows, matching brick chimneys, wooden front entry with side lights, returning eaves and gable roof. The Moores have researched the families who owned and occupied the home over two centuries, providing a window into the development of the community over time. The home was sold to Elisha deWolf, the son of Wolfville’s founder Nathan deWolf, in 1780.  Known for years as the Elisha deWolf house, it later came to be called Kent Lodge after Elisha entertained the Duke of Kent in 1794. The Moores have also created a magnificent garden reflecting the horticultural patterns of Acadian and Planter times. 


Avondale Sky Winery
Avonport, Hants County, NS
Lorraine Vassalo and Stewart Creaser

Avondale Sky WineryIn the commercial category, the 2011 award went to Avondale Sky Winery, owned by Lorraine Vassalo and Stewart Creaser, for the preservation and rehabilitation of the former St. Matthew’s Anglican Church from Walton, Hants County, now repurposed as the retail outlet of the winery.  Built between 1837 and1844, St. Matthew’s is one of Nova Scotia’s early examples of the Carpenter Gothic style. In the spring of 2011, the church attracted widespread attention as it was moved by barge and road to Avondale and placed on a new foundation. Although little historical documentation was available, the subsequent work soon revealed building techniques used by early shipwrights. In a modern link which joins the former church to the winery building (itself a restored barn relocated from its original site along the St. Croix River), a section of the exterior wall showing the coulisse construction has been left exposed. Minimal intervention was practiced wherever possible. The interior woodwork with hand-carved mouldings retains its original finish. Exterior architectural elements which had deteriorated were painstakingly replicated by hand. Where replacement was necessary, old materials were sourced within the region. Although its purpose has changed, the former St. Matthew’s remains within the bounds of its original parish and is still a warm and welcoming building. The winery receives visitors on a regular basis with memories and stories to tell about St. Matthew’s.

Glace Bay Heritage Museum
14 McKeen Street, Glace Bay, NS
Glace Bay Heritage Museum Society

Glace Bay MuseumThe Glace Bay Heritage Museum, owned by the Glace Bay Heritage Museum Society, was the 2011 winner in the institutional category. It is the former Town Hall of Glace Bay and was facing demolition in 1998, when a citizens’ group came together with the sole purpose of saving it and putting it to community use. This Colonial Revival, 2½ storey (plus basement), five-bay, brick masonry structure with hip roof, dormers, and bell tower, designed by Sydney architect George Edgar Hutchinson, was built in 1902-1903. It housed all of the municipal functions, from offices, Council Chamber, Court House, and Police Department, to the Fire Department and the stables which sheltered its horses.

The museum is a municipally designated heritage property and one of the last remaining public heritage structures in the Town. A multi-phased strategy was devised for the building’s rehabilitation and 2003 saw the opening of the ground floor (Phase I), followed by the completion of the second floor in 2010 (Phase II).  Phase III of the project, involving the basement and former jail, is ongoing. Research and community memories have paved the way for an accurate restoration of the building’s exterior and of many interior spaces. Exterior rehabilitation included replacement of much of the brickwork, sourced locally, as well as replicating the bell tower.

Glace Bay Museum The original layout has been maintained excepting areas where code required changes. The fabric of the interior has been restored where possible and sensitively reconstructed where required. The efforts of a dauntless team of volunteers have made possible the adaptive re-use of this heritage structure, which is now home to the Glace Bay Heritage Museum, the Marconi Museum, a gift shop offering local crafts for sale, a used book store and meeting place for community activities and private functions.


19 Water Street, Chester, N.S.
Philip Mitchell and Mark Narsansky
Special Mention to Cole-Built Inc., general contractor.

This triple-gabled, Carpenter Gothic-revival style house was likely originally constructed circa 1875 by John Butler, a local merchant.  The exterior of the home retains most of its original integrity, and the house is a valuable contribution to the surrounding community.

The owners cleaned & restored the wood shingles, replacing shingles where necessary.  The exterior trim was repaired where possible and new trim was milled to match existing historical pieces.   The 1870s fascia was restored; windows were replaced with windows matching the originals, and an addition including a lovely screened-in porch was designed in keeping with the original house.  The exterior was landscaped, dry stone retaining walls repaired and matched, and a picket fence and arbour added to replicate those typically found in Chester.

Anyone who visited this house during the 2010 Chester House Tour had their breath taken away by the traditional interior re-worked with modern conveniences.  Exquisite cabinetry and woodwork, reproduction fixtures and hardware, and lovely antiques belie the work involved in the total restoration of the interior.  Congratulations to Philip, Mark, and numerous local craftsmen, and thanks to the Chester Municipal Heritage Society, The Lunenburg Chiselworks, The Chester Trust, and Cole-Built Inc. for supporting this nomination.

130 Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth, NS
Dexel Developments Limited

The creative adaptive re-use of the Greenvale School which, with a sympathetic addition, now accommodates 36 apartments, was a project that generated huge community interest and support.  We are told that, at an open house, more than 400 people stood in line to view this project as it neared completion.

This “palace school” with its hipped roof and Doric columns was designed by architect Andrew R. Cobb and built in 1915 by Rhodes and Curry of Amherst.  The building ceased to function as a school in 1980, but many residents of Dartmouth attended it as either an elementary or high school, or more recently, when it functioned to house the city’s music program.  The auditorium saw many community uses throughout its history.  The school served as a medical aid station after the 1917 Halifax Explosion, and accommodated church services until new churches could be built.  The building stood vacant for several years before acquired by Dexel Developments, whose owner, Louie Lawen, was drawn to its distinct and noteworthy architectural presence.  The strong, heavy roof line with slightly flared tips, large windows, intricate soffit detail mimicking protruding rafters, structural brick construction with detailed soldier course elements, three porticos with decorative pillars, rails and dentil work, and interior high ceilings were elements that made this an attractive redevelopment project.

The developer sought out the original Andrew Cobb plans and restored the three ventilation towers which had been removed, and restored or recreated other architectural elements that had decayed throughout the years. 

A controversial decision was made to resurface the brick with a stucco-type product to provide a rain screen over the brick, enabling the developer to insulate the building from the outside, seamlessly match the addition to the original structure, and to expose the brick on the interior.  The particular product used enabled the developer to recreate and visually enhance the window arches, concrete sills, arch keystones, soldier course bands, as well as the decorative patterns on the blank walls. 

The creative redevelopment of this Dartmouth landmark enables the building to stand for another century, and indeed, the project enhanced this huge Dartmouth landmark through innovative design and expansion.  Congratulations to Dexel Developments on this large and important project. 

Thanks to the Dartmouth Historical Association, the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, Darmouth South MLA Marilyn More, District 5 Dartmouth Centre Councillor Gloria McCluskey, the Shubenacadie Canal Commission, and the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission for their letters supporting this nomination.


2009 Government Category Award Winner -
Restoration of the Dominion Public Building,
Halifax, NS - Public Works of Canada

The Government Category Award, was presented to the Dominion Public Building Tower Restoration Project, 1713 Bedford Row, Halifax, N.S. The building was erected in 1936 in downtown Halifax and for many years dominated the Halifax skyline. It's design was influenced by the Art Deco style. It was designated as a registered heritage building in 1990. Public Works and Government Services Canada completed a renovation of the interior of the building in 1992. In 2007, a two year project began to restore the tower on the building. Quality workmanship and attention to detail by a Nova Scotia company resulted in the careful removal, restoration and precise reinstallation of over 2000 stone units and replacement of some 140,000 specially manufactured bricks as well as the replacement of the copper cladded dome back to its original details. The $9 million project conformed in all respects to the Standards and Guidelines for the Restoration of Historic Buildings.

2009 Historic Sites Category Winner - The Gardiner's Mill Dam Restoration Project

This year, a new category, The Historic Sites Award category, was established and presented to the Gardiner's Mill Dam Restoration Project at Gardiner's Mill Lake, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia. The Gardiner's Mill Dam was constructed prior to 1855 to provide a water powered energy system for a saw mill on the banks of the Annis River. In 1937, the mill, the dam, and nearly 3000 acres of land were purchased by two sisters who were heirs of a large estate in the U.S.  In 1937, the sisters embarked on a reconstruction project, completely restoring the project and naming the lake, Sisters' Lake. Formation of the lake created a vibrant cottage community on its shores. The present owners fo the dam maintained it until 2004 when the wooden center of the dam failed, causing the lake to empty. In return for its restoration and maintenance, the owners have agreed to deed the dam to the local Gardiner's Mill Dam Homeowner's Association. The dam was completely restored in 2009 and the lake replenished. Provincial heritage designation of the dam is being sought.

MIchael Tavares, Chair of the Heritage Trust's Communities Committee, provided leadership for this project by helping to establish the Gardiner's Mill Homewoners Association and by securing funds for the project. The Heritage Trust offered grant money to support the project along with a loan to cover the outstdanding balance of the cost of restoring the dam and building a fish ladder to allow fish to swim upstream to the lake.


2008 - Ruggles-Munro House, Annapolis Royal, NS - Jane Nicholson (Residential) and 2008 - Annapolis Royal Train Station - Jane Nicholson (Commercial)

Jane Nicholson wins two Built Heritage Awards
by Lawrence Powell , The Annapolis County Spectator (used with permission)

Jane Nicholson has loved old houses since she was a kid and has loved Annapolis Royal for almost 30 years. Last week the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia paid tribute to Nicholson by presenting her with not one, but two heritage awards at a ceremony in Halifax Thursday evening.

She was the trust’s winner of both the Residential and Commercial Built Heritage awards.

“I just love them,” Nicholson said of old buildings. “I believe they’re like people, proud and yearning to be useful and attractive, even when they’re old. They have stories to tell and lessons to teach us…about where we have come from and whether we have the vision to see where we are going.”

The Residential Built Heritage Award was awarded to Nicholson for the transformation of the Ruggles-Munro House in Annapolis Royal. The house, much loved and well respected, had fallen into disrepair. With the hard work and dedication of Nicholson and a rehabilitation crew, the house was transformed and is now a great example of historical rehabilitation.

The restoration of the Annapolis Royal Train Station, for which Nicholson won the Commercial Built Heritage Award, was an emotional decision.

“It’s not rational to buy and restore an abandoned, flooded, and rotting commercial structure that nobody wants,” she said. “I had to form a company to own it, find a team who’d help me save it, and locate a tenant who would be willing to rent a heritage designated building.”

However 15 years after the last train went through town, the station welcomed more than 200 delighted visitors to its open house last year.

Nicholson, who was born in England and immigrated to Halifax through Pier 21, has been fascinated by the art of transformation for years.

“I first came to Annapolis Royal 28 years ago to meet my about-to-be in-laws and I was just captivated by the place,” said Nicholson. “It seemed to be from another time, and since I have been fascinated by houses since I have been a tiny child, it was like coming to fantasyland. I loved the genteel crumbling of it all, but it made me a little sad, too. In those days, there was nothing I could do but worry.”

But when she found herself in a position to help instead of agonize over that ‘crumbling,’ she started picking up the pieces of the past and hammering them back together, believing in the significance of surviving built heritage.

"Well I guess it sounds trite, but we are what our past made us, and it's important to remember that people took pride in building houses and barns and commercial buildings to last,” she said. “Their sense of what is right was tied up in those structures. I think that's what makes rescuing an old building so satisfying -- you give back meaning to the community. You help make people proud. I think that's important. Buildings don't want to be considered old and useless any more than people do. It's a waste.”

And she thinks people can identify better with some of the aged structures simply because of their size.

"The scale of old buildings makes them more human,” she said. “We all feel better when we are in a ‘cosy’ environment at home and we are held to a certain standard of behaviour when we are in a ‘compelling’ environment such as a church or a bank or a hall. It's no accident that architecture is different for different things. Take the Annapolis Royal Train station for example. Thirteen foot high ceilings. For heat retention? No - for the sense of occasion. You knew when you were in that little building that some adventure was about to begin. You can imagine all the stories. I love all the stories...."

Nicholson currently runs her own company, Mrs. Nicholson Inc., founded in 2003 to buy and restore old buildings in Annapolis Royal.


2007 - St. Alban's Church, Lequille, NS -Tania Rolland & Andy Reid (Residential)

- Details to follow -


2007 - Rossignol Cultural Centre, Liverpool, NS - Sherman Hines (Commercial)

- Details to follow -

2006 - Amos Pewter, Main Street, Mahone Bay, NS -  Greg & Suzanne Amos

For over 30 years, Greg and Suzanne Amos have contributed immeasurably to the character and profile of Mahone Bay.

The famous jade and burgundy coloured building, originally a boat builder’s shop on the main street was bought by the couple back in 1976. Research indicates the building, now housing the pewter store and production building was built in 1880. The residence building next door was purchased by Greg and Suzanne in 1997 and a complete renovation was completed two years later. The building currently houses the main workshops and design studio of Amos Pewter.

“Greg and Suzanne were driving forces and supporters, up front and behind the scenes, of the Mahone Bay Business Association, the Wooden Boat Festival and the South Shore Tourism Association to name a few. Who would have thought back in 1974 that two young kids, one in a plaid shirt and the other with a dazzling smile and curls, would have done so much to raise the profile of our little town,” states Mahone Bay Mayor, Joseph Feeney.

Greg and Suzanne became interested in the production and design of pewter in the early 1970’s when they apprenticed with retired Dr. Ivan Crowell, the Director of Handicrafts in Fredericton. It was under the tutelage of Dr. Crowell that the couple’s passion for pewter began. Today, the couple no longer owns the business but they do still own the 2 buildings which house the store and studio.

“They continued to live up to the vision and calibre of Mahone Bay and the colours of burgundy and jade speak of success as everyone knows Amos Pewters in Mahone Bay,” says Mayor Feeney.

1998 - The John Stanfield Inn, 437 Prince Street, Truro, NS - Donald C. Keddy

For the renovation and re-use of the Senator John Stanfield home, built in 1902, Donald Keddy was awarded the Built Heritage award in 1998. Destined for the wreckers' ball to make room for a new Superstore parking lot, Keddy purchased the 95-year old home for $1 and moved it from 56 Elm Street to its present location on Prince Street, behind  the more recently built Keddy's Inn and Convention Centre.

The home was originally built by Frank W. Wilson, of Truro, who also built the old Intercolonial Railway Station (demolished in the 1970s), the Bank of Nova Scotia building (demolished 1996), and the J. J. Snook building (now renovated as the Nova Scotian Emporium and Tea Room on Outram Street). During the house move, not a single pane of glass was broken.

"This Queen Anne period house is filled with amazing woodwork that has been painstakingly restored to its original condition, including huge archways, a beamed ceiling and hand-carved fireplace mantels throughout...", states the John Stanfield Inn literature. The new inn opened its door for business in September, 1998.


1996 - Atlantic Theatre Festival, 504 Main Street, Wolfville, NS - Michael Bawtree, Artistic Advisor

Atlantic Theatre FestivalUnder the leadership of Acadia University drama professor Michael Bawtree, a group of theatre people and community-minded citizens met in Nova Scotia in the Spring of 1993 to plan a theatre festival for Atlantic Canada. The Festival was to be based in the town of Wolfville.   centered around a thrust stage pioneered in Canada but new to our region.  

The Atlantic Theatre Festival acquired the Acadia University hockey arena for $100 in 1994, and with a $2.2 million Federal Infrastructure Program grant, the hockey arena was imaginatively transformed. The original Acadian Arena was constructed in 1927 by Wolfville builder C. H. Wright after plans by architect Leslie R. Fairn, of Aylesford, N.S. After the reconstruction, the exterior architectural elements remained intact, and some of the interior elements reminiscent of the old rink were maintained, while a new 500-seat theatre with thrust stage was encapsulated within the old rink.

In June, 1995, the Atlantic Theatre Festival debuted with three classic plays performed by a repertory company of 25 actors from across Canada, directed by Bawtree and the renowned Michael Langham. The conversion of the arena structure into a regional theatre has provided another life for the 70 year-old structure, but more importantly, has created a new and exciting industry for the Town of Wolfville, and has enhanced the cultural and economic life of the town and this province.

1996 - Wickwire House, 183 Main Street, Kentville, NS - Jim and Darlene Peerless

H. H. Wickwire House Jim and Darlene Peerless were awarded the Built Heritage Award for their restoration of Wickwire House, built in Kentville in 1895, and restored/renovated 1993-95 into Wickwire House Bed and Breakfast, "a stately Victorian home, elegant, yet cozy" (now under new management).

Harry Hamm Wickwire was born of United Empire Loyalist stock in Canning, graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Arts, and Dalhousie University with a Bachelor in Law in 1896. He was the mayor of Kentville in 1910, and for 28 years was a member of the House of Assembly. Wickwire House was built by H.H. Wickwire in 1895 for his bride, Sarah Lovitt, of Yarmouth.

By the time Jim and Darlene Peerless purchased the house in 1993, the house had been turned into offices and lost its Victorian verandahs and gazebo. The Peerlesses worked with local craftspeople and Darlene utilized her decorative flare to recapture the Victorian charm of the house. The Kentville Advertiser stated at the time, "...It is a truly great example of adaptive re-use of a magnificent home, representative of a bygone era when high quality craftsmanship [was] combined with ambition and wealth to create a monument worthy of preservation."

1995 - Hydrostone Marketplace, 5531 Young Street, Halifax, NS - Larry Swinamer, Larex Properties, Inc.

Hydrostone Marketplace In the commercial category, the 1995 Award went to Larex Properties Inc.'s Larry Swinamer, for the preservation and re-development of the row of attached Hydrostone commercial properties along Young Street in the North End neighbourhood of Halifax. The Hydrostone Market is an integral part of the large ten-block Hydrostone District that was built after the Halifax Explosion of December 6, 1917.

On January 22, 1918, the Dominion Government, through an Order-in-Council, appointed the Halifax Relief Commission to assume relief work and care for the 6,000 victims left homeless and oversee reconstruction of the devastated Richmond area in Halifax's North End. The Relief Commission engaged English town planner Thomas Adams (1871-1940), who served on the federal Commission of Conservation from 1914-23 as National Town Planning Advisor to prepare a plan for the area bounded by Isleville Street, Duffus Street and Novalea Drive (formerly part of Gottingen Street) consisting of ten rectangular-shaped blocks of land.

The Hydrostone neighbourhood (named for the light gray concrete blocks used in its construction) was designed as a classic "English-style garden suburb". Each block consists of a row of houses facing  a narrow one-way street, backed by service road at the rear of the row. A large, beautiful, treed boulevard separates one block from the next. The individual blocks consist of a variety of differently-styled housing formations, from one to six units. To provide the 326 dwellings with a little diversity and quality, Adams worked out six different types of four-unit dwellings. Variety was obtained largely by altering roof designs and varying the arrangement of timbers and stucco for "olde English"/Tudor effects on the second-story. The neighbourhood was to be serviced with a commercial market streetscape on Young Street to suit the varied needs of the North End residents.

Under the direction of Mr. Swinamer, Larex Properties acquired the Young Street commercial buildings in 1992 and tastefully and authentically restored them with minimal architectural invention. Young Street in the Hydrostone is once again restored to its former glory with many shops and services which reflect the diversity and individuality of the new owners. It has become a lively, vibrant place to shop, eat out, and enjoy the Hydrostone, not just for North Enders, but for all Haligonians.

1995 - Age of Sail Heritage Centre, Port Greville, NS - Port Greville Shipbuilding Museum Society

Age of Sail Centre, before. The 1995 Built heritage Award was presented to a small, volunteer, community-based society with historical interests, the Port Greville Shipbuilding Museum Society, founded in 1991, for the rescue, relocation, restoration, and redevelopment of Cochrane Hall, into The Age of Sail Heritage Centre, in Port Greville. This Heritage Centre is the first interpretation facility to fully tell the story of lumbering and shipbuilding along the historic Parrsboro-Advocate Fundy Shore.

Cochrane Hall was formerly a Methodist church, built in 1854. The Age of Sail Heritage Centre can trace its roots back to 1989, to the Greville Bay Recreation and Development Association. This group worked to honour and preserve the maritime heritage of shipbuilding-- the theme being "From Timber to Tall Ships". In 1991, the Greville Bay Shipbuilding Museum Society was formed to take ownership of the "museum" project and became a registered non-profit charity in May of 1992. Cochrane Hall was moved to its present site in November, 1992.

In December, 1993, under the direction of architect Robert Parker and Associates, work began to transform a heritage building destined for oblivion into a restored, functioning heritage centre. Atlantex Exhibit Designers, with the assistance of local historian Conrad Byers, and several public community meetings produced the attractive, informative exhibits for this unique Age of Sail Heritage Centre. The contents are a true and extensive assembly of records, artifacts, and tools used in the wooden shipbuilding and shipping trade. The members of the Society volunteered many hours of labour in land-clearing, dismantling, numbering, building and maintenance in the reconstruction of the museum. They also raised the necessary monies and act as guides and story-tellers. For more details, check out the Age of Sail Heritage Centre website .

1994 - Wolfville Memorial Library, 21 Elm Avenue, Wolfville, NS - Wolfville Library Foundation

Wolfville Memorial LibraryThe Wolfville Library Foundation was the 1994 Award winner, for the renovation of the town railway station into the town library. In 1988, the local University Women's Club, along with a working committee from the Wolfville Town Council, chaired by Council member Gwen Phillips, undertook the search for facilities to house an expanded town library. In 1990, this joint effort resulted in the formation of the sixteen-member Wolfville Library Foundation to raise the necessary funds to purchase and renovate the abandoned Dominion Atlantic Railway station into a bustling, newly restored town library. The historic D.A.R. station was designed by Herbert E. Gates and built in 1912. This brick and stone building received federal heritage protection under the Heritage Railway Stations protection Act. Under the Act, the station is protected from removal, destruction, alteration and disposal without authorization from the federal cabinet. Later, the station was designated a National Historic Site by the National Sites and Monument Board of Canada.

The newly renovated library offers three times the space of the former town library, with wheel chair accessibility to the administration office, to the adult and children's circulation shelves, to the lounge area for quiet reading, and to the washrooms. There are sturdy tables for study and research, in the children's area, a large 1912 model of the D.A.R. train "Blomidon". Upstairs is a spacious meeting room, kitchen, and storage area. The grounds around the new Wolfville Library are well landscaped in a parkland setting with adjacent parking facilities.  

Tribute should also be paid to restoration architect Ronald Peck, for his imaginative and carefully detailed plans and research for the re-use of this former station as a community library. This is another example of how former commercial buildings can be preserved, restored, and re-used for the benefit of the general public. The renovated library made its public debut September 11, 1993.

1993 - Dominion Public Building, 1713 Hollis Street, Halifax, NS - Public Works of Canada

Under the category of projects undertaken by government, Public Works Canada received a citation and a hand-lettered scroll for the restoration of the Dominion Public Building in Halifax.

The Dominion Public Building, built of sandstone in 1935, is an excellent example of Art Deco Architecture. It consists of seven stories above Bedford Row and has a tower and dome of seven levels. The Dominion Public Building was the first high-rise building in Halifax. The graceful dome reflects the existing domes found in the Old Town Clock (1803), and St. Paul's Church (1750). The strong sense of verticality, the curvilinear roof form expressed by the dome, and appliqués of decoration typify the Art Deco movement. Specific exterior features include a band of "sound waves" carved in granite on the entry door surround, patterned bronze window grates, and a tertiary frieze panel of cast patterned bronze immediately above the entry doors. (Edward VIII's cypher can also be seen). The Federal Coat of Arms is displayed in relief on a raised parapet, while nine foot tall seahorses adorn the tower.

Dominon Public Building, Halifax The lobbies with their rich finishes of marble, brass and pictorial terrazzo were restored and maintained as a public use. Details such as light fixtures, clocks, handrails and wickets were refurnished or rebuilt. Perimeter marble walls were dismantled and relocated to their original positions. Special details include marble seahorse mosaics and a terrazzo mural of the Bluenose schooner.

Throughout the building, efficient flexible office space, with state of the art information technology, barrier-free access and compliance with fire and safety codes, was created.

The building is owned by Public Works Canada and provides office space for 500 employees. Its renovation is expected to pay for itself in seven years.

The retention of the Post office Building was a unique opportunity to preserve an important link in the architectural evolution of monumental sandstone construction, and rich durable finishes symbolized the presence of the National Government with a sense of grandeur and permanence. As an integral part of city life, its restoration and adaptive reuse reinforces the economy, richness, scale and fabric of the downtown core.


1993 - Convocation Hall, 33 King's-Edgehill Lane, Windsor, NS - King's-Edgehill School
Convocation Hall The 1993 Citation went to King's-Edgehill School for the restoration of Convocation Hall, under the direction of John K. Dobbs and Associates, Architects, Halifax.

Since the 1860s, Convocation Hall has served as the library for three important educational institutions: the University of King's College, King's Collegiate School, and the present King's-Edgehill School. Convocation Hall was designed in 1861 by architect David Sterling. It was built by George Lang in 1863.

Whilst of a very fine Gothic Revival style, the building was not of the highest quality from a construction point of view. In particular, the foundations were inadequate and the stone was a soft, poor quality. Between 1863 and 1867, a structural tower, the Binney Tower, was added for structural support. In 1889, the rear (west) wall of the building had to be rebuilt. A rose window above the apse was removed and not replaced.

By 1973, the inherent instability of the building was so evident that the building was closed down. The building escaped demolition by a narrow margin. Fortunately, by 1982, sufficient funds had been raised to structurally stabilize the building and the Binney Tower was removed, the roofing replaced, mortar joints repointed, and structural tie rods were added.

In 1992, a complete interior refurbishment designed by Dobbs et al took place, with work being completed in the fall of 1992. Original details such as the cast iron work had been lost, but new cast iron was selected to reflect as much as possible the original flavour of the design, in addition to the selection of colors and library furniture. David Sterling would surely approve of the way this small but lively building was restored.

1992 - Planter's Barracks, Starr's Point, Cornwallis Township, NS - Jennie Margaret Sheito

The Planter's Barracks, mid-renovation. The Award went to Jennie Margaret Sheito in 1992, for the restoration of the Planter's Barracks, built 1778-79, in Cornwallis Township, now Fort Williams.

The Barracks was erected by the British Army to protect newly-arrived New England Planters who found themselves under attack by American privateers and who threatened to return to New England if their safety could not be assured. The building served as a military facility until 1782, when it was sold to a Planter family. The well-researched Award application (in two volumes) contains several articles that may be of interest, including "The Barracks: A Case Study" by Wayde Brown, 1985, and "The Landscape of Eighteenth-Century New England Settlement in Kings County, N.S. - A Geographical Study", by Debra McNabb, 1987, both submitted to the Heritage Unit of the Nova Scotia Department of Culture, Recreation and Fitness.

The Barracks was restored as a Bed & Breakfast that operated for several years, but is now in private use.

1991 - The Biggs House, Grand Pre, NS - Elizabeth Stuart Goodstein

Planter descendant Elizabeth Stuart Goodstein saved two 18th century buildings from demolition when she purchased them and moved them two kilometres down the road to their present site in Grande Pre, one of them being "The Biggs house", a Planter structure built before 1770. The gambrel-roofed "Connecticut"-style house was actual two houses amalgamated over time, with the original portion consisting of a "survival type dwelling" built on what was probably an Acadian foundation. After the renovation, the Biggs house was renamed "The Jeremial Holkin House". The Biggs House From the Award application:
"...Virtually all of the materials used in the restoration were of Nova Scotia origin-- special wide lumber from Queens County, forged iron work from Jon Little, blacksmith, whose work is in Louisbourg. All finish work was hand-planed, not easily come by at this time. We are fortunate in the meticulous quality of the woodworking by Patrick Farrell and his crew from Steve MacLeod's Construction. One might very well say this project has been a real learning ground for work in the area, of this period..."

Goodstein, an artist who, with her husband, Edward, operated Grand Pre Pottery, even sculpted and fired the bricks for the fireplace floor from local clay.

Included in the application is a useful monograph on construction techniques of the period, "The Biggs House: A Structural Documentary" by David Burton, done for the Department of Culture, Heritage Division.

1990 - No submissions

1989 - The Coopers Inn, 36 Dock Street at Mason Lane, Shelburne, NS - Gary and Cynthia Hynes

The Cooper's Inn Cynthia and Gary Hynes were presented with the 1989 'Group/Company' division of the Built Heritage Award for their careful restoration and adaptive re-use of Shelburne's George Gracie House into the Cooper's Inn Bed and Breakfast and restaurant. The Gracie house, a Georgian home with Italianate influences built in 1785, had undergone many changes and additions over the years. During the restoration, it was discovered that the home was another of Shelburne's original log houses-- apparently George Gracie brought his two-story log cabin over with him from Boston in 1784. This log cabin formed the basis of the current building.

After some research, the Hynes had to reconcile authentic restoration and preservation with present day government regulations and modern business requirements. Over a three-month period, the Hynes' transformed the interior of the home into a three-bedroom inn, with a 25-seat dining room, while the exterior was relatively unchanged. Each guest room was named after a former owner, and the building was renamed the Cooper Inn after the longest resident of the house, the cooper Chandley Smith. The Cooper's Inn website offers more photos and information.

1989 - Stephen Shakespeare House, Shelburne, NS - Elizabeth Hyde

The first winner of the Built heritage Award was Elizabeth Hyde, for her restoration of the Stephen Shakespeare House, a Cape Cod saltbox with vertical pole construction built in 1783, and one of the earliest log houses in Shelburne. Hyde's Award application is a novel of information, and includes a moment familiar to many would-be restorers:

"...When I first attempted to buy the house in the early seventies, I had my boat builder look it over. He had built houses and repaired many. When he beamed his flashlight under the sagging wing [of the old kitchen] from down in the deep, dark cellar, he chuckled and rolled his tongue. "I wouldn't give you two nickels for it," he said. I groaned, "Why not?" "Built wrong," he said and would have no more of it. But, alas, I had studied, performed, and taught enough Shakespeare to be unable to shake the thought of owning this one day..."

The building was restored to its original Loyalist beauty over a number of years, during which the community was invited to tour the home and learn about the restoration process.

- derived from HTNS Built Heritage Award Citations written variously by Pamela Collins, Joyce McCulloch, and Donald Patton.