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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Victoria Apartments: Demolition Accomplished

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HALIFAX – This past Saturday, the corner of Hollis and Morris was once again the city’s epicenter of perverse entertainment. An impromptu post-market crowd of witnesses gathered to to watch the Victoria Apartments be demolished, one wall at a time; revealing its bright colours, arched doorways and quirky interiors one last time.

Some people cheered as the bulldozer tore down the apartments, while others tried to hide their tears. Former residents pointed out their bedrooms and shared stories. Photographers had a field day. I tried to leave on three separate occasions, frozen and exhausted, but couldn’t tear myself away from the scene, feeling an overpowering civic responsibility to watch the streetscape transform before my eyes.

The oldest building, and former residence of Charles Morris, was saved from demolition and has been temporarily relocated several hundred feet away.

photos by Katie McKay



  1. Such a shame that this building was destroyed when it resides in a sea of parking.

    Thanks for the photos.

  2. Destruction begets metaphor, apparently. Watching the old girl come down, the analogies heard from fellow audience members were amazing. The tractor was likened to a dinosaur, a vulture, a bear, corporate America… while the building was its prey, a corpse, the little guy. What does that say about how the public perceives the changes being made to the city?

  3. I think it’s too bad nothing was done to save it two decades ago, when there was a far better chance restoration could be done affordably.

    I just hope the first level of the new building — zoned for mixed-use retail — really adds to the diversity of the neighbourhood already full of coffee shops. It would be great to have a small grocer, restaurant, bakery or other small businesses open which will add more practical amenities to the neighbourhood.

    The current renderings of the proposed 10-storey condo building make it look identical to the corner of North and Agricola with a single cafe that has its front door opening diagonally onto the corner.

    Here’s hoping they can better divide up the space to fit more than one use.

  4. Wow. Thanks for the photos, although for me it’s almost like seeing the photos from Haiti today. I lived around the corner when I went to architecture school in Halifax.

  5. Was any scavenging done on the building before its demolition? Mouldings, windows, that sort of thing? Or was it simply not worth it in this case?