Granville Mall, 1891 Granville St., Halifax, NS
The block of Granville Street known as the Granville Mall was completely destroyed by fire on September 9th, 1859. All of the buildings in the traditionally commercial block were simultaneously re-built soon afterward according to the plans of architect Cyrus Pole Thomas of the firm William Thomas & Sons. The designs borrowed various architectural styles, but are noted for the over-all harmony of the block. Like most of the buildings on the street, the building that now houses the Anna Leonowens Gallery features large storefront windows for displaying dry goods, clothing and textiles. By the 1970s, the block was in disrepair, and the city planned to tear down the buildings to complete a waterfront highway. In 1971-1972, faculty members at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design advocated for the historic buildings to be rehabilitated, and for the school to move there. The extensive 1970s project of modernizing the buildings’ utilities while preserving their period characteristics is a notable early success of urban renewal and heritage conservation.
The Anna Leonowens Gallery, commonly referred to as ‘the Anna’ by NSCAD community members, is named for NSCAD’s founder, the star The King and I. Leonowens moved to Halifax and founded the school in 1887, naming it the Victoria School of Art and Design in honour of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Exhibition openings at the gallery, held on Monday evenings, are a staple of the community life of NSCAD.