The Halifax Public Gardens

The creation, destruction and restoration of North America’s finest Victorian public gardens

by Robert Pace, Robert Salah, and Peter L. Twohig

A fully illustrated account of the creation and maintenance of Canada’s finest Victorian public gardens, and the story of how severe hurricane destruction led to a beautiful and sensitive restoration.

The Halifax Public Gardens are the oldest and finest Victorian public gardens outside the United Kingdom. This is the authoritative visual account of their history including the story of how a destructive hurricane led to a complex restoration project drawing on heritage experts from across North America.

This book shares how the Gardens came to be, how they were designed, and how they have been maintained over the decades. Authors Robert Pace, Robert Salah and Peter L. Twohig elaborate on Gardens’ notable features, including the bandstand, memorial fountains, stone bridges, water features and varied wildlife.

The breadth and complexity of the Gardens’ botanical and architectural beauty is exemplified in more than 150 archival images and contemporary full-colour photography.

When the future of the Halifax Public Gardens was in doubt after sustaining significant damage during Hurricane Juan in 2003, authors Robert Pace and Robert Salah spearheaded the community-led conservation effort that followed. The account of how this was accomplished is illustrated with images of the hurricane’s damage and a portfolio of the project’s breathtaking results.

This beautiful book documents an important cultural treasure, and explains how public engagement and support have ensured the preservation of this valued public park.

About the Authors

Peter L. Twohig
Peter L. Twohig

ROBERT PACE is Chair of the Board of Public Gardens Foundation. He is the President and CEO of The Pace Group Ltd (MBS Radio, construction and commercial real estate). After MBS Radio held a one-day radiothon on week after Hurricane Juan in 2003 which raised $1 million, he led a $2 million restoration that resulted in the re-opening of the Gardens on July 1, 2005. Robert lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

ROBERT SALAH, a lifelong resident of Halifax, has held many senior positions in both the public and private sectors. An entrepreneur at heart, he is involved in many successful business ventures and developments. He has headed several historic restoration projects, including the Halifax Public Gardens, St. Mary's Basilica and St. Mary's Rectory, as well as the Old Burying Grounds. When his time allows, he enjoys sailing, sports cars and travelling.

PETER L. TWOHIG is an historian of the Atlantic region. He is the author of two previous books on health care work, and five interdisciplinary essay collections on health, illness and disease. He began his career in Dalhousie University's Faculty of Medicine, before taking up a Canada Research Chair in history at Saint Mary's University, which he held from 2003 to 2013. He teaches in the Department of History at Saint Mary's and several interdisciplinary programs.

Subjects (BISAC)

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