Gravestones in a cemetery are seen in dappled light on a sunny day under full foliage.
Camp Hill Cemetery. Photo: SimonP/Wikipedia Credit: SimonP/Wikipedia

With a near perfect score, the city’s Heritage Advisory Committee is recommending regional council designate the Camp Hill Cemetery as a municipal heritage site.

The committee met virtually Wednesday evening and considered the request for registration from the Halifax Military Heritage Preservation Society for the municipally-owned cemetery between Robie and Summer streets.

In a report to the committee, municipal heritage planning researcher Elizabeth Cushing wrote that the site is “designed in the Rural Cemetery style,” “has been used as an active burial ground since 1844 and is the earliest example of the style in Canada.”

Thousands of Nova Scotians are buried in the cemetery, including Viola Desmond, Joseph Howe, Robert Stanfield, Alexander Keith, and soldiers and veterans from both world wars. There are also thousands of unmarked graves on the site. It’s still in use, with plans for a columbarium (designed to hold cremation urns) underway.

There are no “noteworthy structures” on the site, Cushing wrote, so she recommended the committee consider the application as a heritage site, not a heritage building. The scoring for that designation differs from that for heritage buildings, with a maximum score of 70 where 35 points or more triggers a positive recommendation to council.

Cushing recommended a score of between 47 and 65 based on four categories — age and continuity of use, historical importance, integrity, and context.

The committee voted to score the site at 66 out of 70, breaking from Cushing’s recommendation to score the cemetery between one and five points in the category of integrity, or “degree of intactness.” Cushing recommended a lower score because the cemetery has undergone “moderate changes” over the years, but the committee went with six out of 10 points, arguing some of the changes were improvements.

The recommendation will go to regional council for a heritage hearing and final decision.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the committee recommended council register the building at 5500 Inglis St.

An old, greenish-grey, two-storey building is shown. It has five double windows along the second storey, with little dormer roofs above each. On the lower level, there's a doorway with an attached porch, five single windows and one triple bay window. The sky is blue and there are green plants growing in a flower bed atop a stone retaining wall along the sidewalk in front of the building.
5500 Inglis St. Photo: HRM Credit: HRM

The two-storey building is owned by the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax and was “constructed in 1823 and designed in the Georgian architectural style.” It was modified in the late 1800s to “Second Empire style.” Out of a possible 100 points, the committee scored that property a 74.

That recommendation will also go to council for a heritage hearing.

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Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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