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A Guide to Architecture

Help Yourself

Need help using any of these external resources?  Most libraries, archives, and research institutions produce guides and tutorials for using their services and resources.  Check out these tools for more information on using the resources listed to the right. 

Searching at Other Locations

Built heritage research will often require you to consult many different resources.  Depending on the age and location of your building or site, you may be able to:

  • Contact the architect or architecture firm responsible for designing the building or site
  • Contact other people with local knowledge of the building or site
  • Use online databases, directories, websites, and other resources produced by reputable institutions and organizations.
  • Contact local, regional, provincial, or national archives and libraries that may have resources not immediately available to you at Dalhousie. 

Try searching for your topic or keywords using some of the resources below. 

Library and Archives Canada


Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is Canada's national collection of books, historical documents, government records, photos, films, maps, music...and more.  They maintain a number of databases that can help you with your Canadian built heritage research.  Check out some of the links below, or browse LAC'S website for more information.

Internet Sources

When using any internet site as a source of information use good judgment when determining the validity of information. 

  • The official website of an architect or architecture firm can be a great source of information. Other reputable sources of information can be found on university or professional society websites.
  • If you choose to use Wikipedia ensure that any information you are using has a valid and reliable reference sources. Any well written entry should have a list of references. Use the references, the list of further reading, and the list of external links as sources for further research.

When conducting internet searches you can narrow your results by adding in terms such as: lecture, interview, biography, or video.

Nova Scotia Archives

Nova Scotia Archives preserves the records of the people, places, businesses, and organizations, and governments of and within Nova Scotia.  The archives are located at:

Nova Scotia Archives
6016 University Avenue
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3H 1W4

To use the archives in person, you must get a free researcher card at the information desk and the proceed to the third floor of the building. This is usually the best way to use Nova Scotia historical documents. 

Some of the features of Archive's collections are:


  • Newspapers.  Nova Scotia's Heritage Newspaper Collection — the largest and most comprehensive gathering of historical newspapers in the province — is maintained at the Archives. The collection includes over 750 titles — dailies, tri-weeklies, weeklies, everything from the inaugural issue of the Halifax Gazette, 23 March 1752 (Canada's first newspaper) to last week's Bridgewater Bulletin. There are even scattered holdings for newspapers published provincially but in other languages such as French, Gaelic and German. 
  • Virtual ArchivesThe Virtual Archives includes newspapers as well as corporate and family papers and dozens of themed collections (ie: Gaelic Resources or Halifax Explosion 1917 Online Resources). 

Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) Archives

The Halifax Municipal Archives are located at:

81 Ilsley Ave

Unit 11
Burnside Industrial Park

Halifax, Nova Scotia


P.O. Box 1749
B3J 3A5


T: 902-490-4643


The mandate of the archives is to identy, acquire, preserve and promote access to municipal government and non-government archival records documenting the history of the Halifax Regional Municipality.  This archive now holds many collections important for conducting built heritage research in Halifax, including:


  • Council and Committee minutes, submissions and reports
  • Ordinances and by-laws
  • Halifax City Engineer’s Office architectural plans
  • Police Department records
  • County Home and Halifax Poor House records
  • Photographs of municipal officials and events
  • Public Gardens, Commons and Point Pleasant Park Committees records
  • Halifax Building Inspection Office Urban Renewal photographs