Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia - Where History Meets Opportunity

Phone: 902.532.2043

248 St George Street

248 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, B0S 1A0, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/01/20

Front Facade, 2017

Side Facade, 2017

Roof Detail

Side Elevation

Front Elevation

Other Name(s)
Royal Bank of Canada Building
Union Bank building

Links and Documents

Construction Date(s)
1875/01/01 to 1875/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/03/13

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Royal Bank of Canada building at 248 St. George Street in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, is a three storey brick structure built in 1875 in the Second Empire style. It features a mansard roof. The Royal Bank of Canada building occupies the southeast corner lot where Victoria Street meets St. George Street in the centre of Annapolis Royal's business district. The municipal designation includes the building and surrounding property.

Heritage Value

Historic Value:

The Royal Bank of Canada Building, as recognized by its municipal designation, is valued for its distinctive architecture and the property's association with historic personalities. The property was owned in the seventeenth century by the Acadian Peitipas family who sold it in 1700 to Christophe Cahouet, an innkeeper and merchant newly arrived from France. In 1704 Cahouet married Marie-Anne Maisonnat, daughter of French privateer Captain Pierre Maisonnat dit Baptiste. Following the British capture of the town in 1710, the Cahouet property was the subject of competing claims, including that of William Winniett, a British officer with the garrison who had become Cahouet's brother-in-law in 1711 with his marriage to the Acadian Marie-Madeleine Maisonnat.

The Williams family who owned the property in the late 18th century was descended from the Winnietts. Ann Amhurst, wife of Thomas Williams senior was a granddaughter of William and Marie-Madeleine. The Williams house, dating from the first half of the 18th century, is notable as the home of Thomas Williams senior and junior, both of whom served as commissary of provisions for the Annapolis Royal garrison. The house was also the birthplace of General Sir William Fenwick Williams in December 1799, son of Thomas Williams junior and his wife, Maria Walker. Decorated for his actions during the Crimean War, General Williams was commander-in-chief of forces in British North America from 1860 until 1865. He was Nova Scotia's first native-born Lieutenant-Governor from 1865 until 1867 and served as Governor of Gibraltar from 1870 until 1876.
In 1846 the heirs of the Williams family sold the house to Joseph Norman, the last ordinance storekeeper at Fort Anne. He lived here with his colourful wife, the Spanish-born Gregoria Ramona Antonia Reiez, who had reportedly been a vivandière with the British expeditionary forces in Europe during the Napoleonic Wars and, by her own account, a favourite of the Duke of Wellington.

The Williams house was removed from this site in 1874 to make way for the construction of the Union Bank of Halifax building. The main part of the Williams house is now located at 167 St Anthony Street and the ell has become the ell of the building located at 62 Chapel Street. The Union Bank had operated in rented offices in the town since 1870 under local agent (manager) Thomas Spurr Whitman. The bank was built in 1875 of clay brick manufactured by John Buckler at his brickyard in Moschelle, Annapolis County. During the 1920s, the second floor of the building was used as a dentist office by Dr. Charles MacLaughlin and Dr A. Boyd Crowe. Extensive renovations by the Royal Bank of Canada in the late 1970s modernized the building while preserving the essential character. The original front entrance was replaced with a new foyer added to the side of the structure. Six arched dormer windows along the mansard roofline of the front and back sides were removed at this time and a metal roof was put in place.

Architectural Value:

The Royal Bank of Canada building is an impressive brick building built in the Second Empire style. The bricks for this building were made in Moschelle, Annapolis County. The building originally had a square footprint with a cut stone foundation but a modern foyer has been added to the northeast side of the structure. Due to the addition of this foyer, the original location of the front doors has been changed. The original door locations are now the end windows on the front side. The front and rear sides of the building feature a metal mansard roof. Below the roofline is a cornice frieze decorated with dental brackets. The window openings are topped by a brick arch radiating voussoirs with keystones.

Source: Annapolis Royal Heritage Designation Files, Annapolis Heritage Society, 136 St George Street, Annapolis Royal

Character-defining Elements

Character defining elements of the Royal Bank of Canada building include:

-square footprint of original building;
-cut stone foundation;
-mansard roofline on front and back sides;
-cornice frieze decorated with dental brackets;
-original front doors have been replaced with windows and a porch has been added to the north east side of the building;
-windows have brick arch radiating voussoirs with keystones.
-construction from bricks made in Moschelle, Annapolis County;
-all elements relating to the use of the building as a bank;
-position of the building on the corner of St George Street and Victoria Street.


Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority
Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute
Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type
Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date

Historical Information

Theme - Category and Type
Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Health and Research

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation
Town of Annapolis Royal Heritage Registry files, O'Dell House Museum, 136 St George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

FED/PROV/TERR Identifier