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Cracks appear in historic buildings after blasting

by Hilary Beaumont

Province House: Canada’s oldest seat of government, the legislature has met here every year since the building was completed in 1819. On March 2, 1835 in the room that now holds the library, Joe Howe successfully used truth as a defense against libel and subsequently declared: “the press of Nova Scotia is free.” (Photo: HB)
Province House: An unidentified person, likely an engineer or an insurance adjuster, inspects a crack in the Joe Howe room. (Photo: Courtesy of the province)
Province House: An approximately four-foot long crack runs down the centre of the wall that holds a Joe Howe quote, and continues at a right angle along the bottom. (Photo: HB)
Province House: A close up of the crack on the wall behind the Joe Howe quote. (Photo:HB)
Province House: Unidentified people, probably an insurance representative and engineer, inspect the basement. (Photo: Courtesy of the province)
Province House: A crack runs through a basement wall. (Photo: Courtesy of the province)
The Dennis Building: This historic building was erected in 1863. At one point the Chronicle Herald owned the building, and when it was partially destroyed by fire in 1912, the newspaper rebuilt it. The province used the building for office space until May 2013, when it was evacuated due to a mould problem.
The Dennis Building: An unidentified person inspects the basement. A new crack runs through the cement floor. A May 9 activity report states: “Of note is the basement area in front of the elevator is an area where it is alleged that blasting work caused concrete floor to buckle. The area has since been patched making it difficult to assess. We are aware that this area has water underground and that this has been this way for some time.” (Photo: Courtesy of the province)
The Dennis Building: An “upheaval” in the basement floor. (Photo: Courtesy of the province)
The Dennis Building: Cracking in a support column on the seventh floor. (Photo: Courtesy of the province)
One Government Place: A provincially-owned office building. Cracks were found in two locations here—the mechanical room and a stairwell. On June 5, an engineer and insurance adjuster completed a video inspection of the basement and third floor. (Photo: HB)
One Government Place: On May 14, an engineer did an initial inspection of the mechanical room “where a crack along the basement wall had been observed.” The activity report reads: “In speaking with staff they indicated that a considerable amount of HVAC [ventilation] work had been recently completed.” (Photo: Courtesy of the province)
Government House: Completed in 1805, this building is the official residence of the Queen when she visits Halifax (she has stayed here five times). Government House was also home to cabinet before responsible government. Joe Howe lived and died at Government House when he was lieutenant-governor. A three-year $6.25-million renovation of the building was completed in 2009. (Photo: HB)
Government House: A crack on the stairs. Cracks were found recently in the stairwells and dining room entrance. An activity report dated May 14 states: “Some of the cracks are questionable as this structure was recently renovated through and …some cracks are likely from shrinkage. Also of note is that this property is at a considerable distance from blasting site work.” (Photo: Courtesy of the province)
Government House: Cracking on a pillar. According to the May 14 activity report, “Staff state they do feel the blasts on occasion.”  (Photo: HB)
St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica: More than 190 years old, the church is one of downtown Halifax’s most recognizable buildings. It was the third masonry building erected in Halifax, after Government House and the Admiral’s House. Lately, cracks have appeared in the walls along the pews, in the pillars and even in one of the building’s arches. (Photo: HB)
St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica: The maintenance person noticed this crack next to a pew on March 1. (Photo: HB)
St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica: The maintenance person noticed these cracks, located upstairs, after February 26. (Photo: HB)
St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica: A crack runs up a pillar on the second floor. (Photo: HB)
St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica: It’s not clear from this photo, but the plaster along the right side of the arch is crumbling. (Photo: HB)
St. Paul’s Anglican Church: Erected in the summer of 1750, St. Paul’s is Halifax’s oldest church and the oldest existing Protestant place of worship in Canada. (Photo: HB)
St. Paul’s Anglican Church: Church representatives declined to comment for this article, but a staffer pointed out chipping and cracking in the ceiling and said it had appeared recently. (Photo: HB)
The Carleton:  The bar is located in a 254-year-old building across the street from the blasting site. (Photo: HB)
The Carleton: Mortar dust is falling out of the unsealed slate walls. Recently a “golf ball-sized” piece of the wall fell out and hit a customer on the shoulder, co-owner Mike Campbell said. (Photo: HB)
The Carleton: Co-owner Mike Campbell said two lights behind the bar mysteriously stopped working and had to be replaced. The bar has also experience a bevy of other unexplained electrical issues recently. (Photo: HB)

Unexplained cracks have appeared in seven historic Halifax buildings since blasting began at the Nova Centre site in January. The province and two churches are looking into the damage to see if it is connected to blasting. Read the full story here.

Note: This slideshow offers photos of damage from each building, but does not encompass all of the damage.

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Topics: Governance
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