Province House (Nova Scotia)
This article is about legislative building for Nova Scotia.
For other uses, see Province House (disambiguation).
|Town or city||Halifax, Nova Scotia|
|Design and construction|
|National Historic Site of Canada|
|Official name||Province House National Historic Site of Canada|
|Nova Scotia Heritage Property Act|
|Type||Provincially Registered Property|
Province House in Halifax is where the Nova Scotia legislative assembly, known officially as the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, has met every year since 1819, making it the longest serving legislative building in Canada.
The building is Canada's oldest house of government.
Province House was built on the same location as the previous Governor's House, erected by Edward Cornwallis in 1749.
(Cornwallis' table remains in the bedroom of Province House.)
Province House was opened for the first time on February 11, 1819.
One of the smallest functioning legislatures in North America, Province House originally housed the executive, legislative and judicial functions of the colony, all in one building.
The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia held its sessions in Province House (in what is today the legislative library).
Howe had published an anonymous letter accusing Halifax politicians and police of pocketing £30,000 over a thirty-year period, and outraged civic politicians had subsequently seen to it that Howe was charged with seditious libel.
The presiding judge called for Howe's conviction, but Howe's passionate speech in his own defence swayed the jury and the jurors acquitted him in what is considered a landmark case in the struggle for a free press in Canada.
On January 20, 1842, English author Charles Dickens attended the opening of the Nova Scotia Legislature.
He said that it was like looking at Westminster through the wrong end of a telescope.
The building is located in downtown Halifax on a block bordered by Hollis, Granville, George and Prince streets.
Led by the efforts of Joseph Howe, the Anti-Confederation Party won a resounding majority in the first election held after Nova Scotia joined the Confederation of Canada on July 1, 1867.
Province House was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1996, in recognition of its status as the longest serving legislative building in Canada, and the role it played in the development of responsible government and freedom of the press in the country.
It is also a Provincially Registered Property under provincial heritage legislation.
Main article: Nova Scotia House of Assembly
Province House is the home of the House of Assembly, Nova Scotia's elected legislative assembly.
In 1908 and 2008, there were significant official celebrations in Nova Scotia and Canada to mark the 150th and 250th anniversary of the birth of parliamentary democracy (i.e., representative government) in Canada, which started in Nova Scotia.
The celebration was entitled Democracy 250.
It was an assembly of twenty-two men, who came together to deliberate as a parliament on questions affecting the colony.
With voting limited to Protestant, free-land holding males, it was a modest beginning, and their influence with the British-appointed Governor was questionable.
It was the first elected assembly of its kind in what eventually became Canada.
On January 31, 1837, Simon d'Entremont and Frederick A. Robicheau became the first Acadians elected to the House of Assembly (Joseph Winniett, whose mother was Acadian, was elected to the Assembly in 1761).
(Two months later, on March 24, 1837, black men in Canada were given the right to vote.)
in 1893, Edith Archibald and others made the first official attempt to have a suffrage bill for women property holders passed in Nova Scotia, which was passed by the legislature but quashed by Attorney General James Wilberforce Longley (who opposed unions and female emancipation for the twenty years he was in office).
On April 26, 1918, as a result of the Local Council of Women of Halifax (LCWH), the House of Assembly passed The Nova Scotia Franchise Act, which gave women the right to vote in Nova Scotia's provincial elections, the first province to do so in Atlantic Canada.
Almost forty-three years later, on February 1, 1961, Gladys Porter was the first woman elected to the Assembly.
In 1993, Wayne Adams is elected the first Black member of the Assembly.
The Nova Scotia legislature was the third in Canada to pass human rights legislation (1963).
The Library (former Supreme Court)
The Legislative Library, located on the second floor between the Red Chamber and Legislative Assembly, was originally the home of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, until the court outgrew the space.
The Supreme Court chamber was the site of Joseph Howe's 1835 trial for seditious libel.
Many scholars consider Howe's success in this case a landmark event in the evolution of press freedom in Canada.
The Red Chamber
The Legislative Council was appointed by the governor and was abolished in 1928.
Now the room is used for receptions and other meetings.
Province House is flanked with two prominent statues.
On one of the panels is a sculpture of the Battle of Witpoort, made famous by the death of Nova Scotian Harold Lothrop Borden.
Other art work
Canadian Prime Ministers from Nova Scotia
- List of oldest buildings and structures in Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Politics of Nova Scotia
- Nova Scotia House of Assembly
- List of Nova Scotia general elections
- List of Nova Scotia Premiers
- Monarchy in Nova Scotia
- History of Nova Scotia
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Province House (Nova Scotia).