Gas House

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Sambro Island, Nova Scotia
Exterior photo (© Transport Canada / CCG (1995).)
Exterior Photo
(© Transport Canada / CCG (1995).)
Address : Lightstation, Sambro Island, Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 1996-08-22
  • 1939 to 1939 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Unknown  (Architect)
Custodian: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
FHBRO Report Reference: 95-034
DFRP Number: 02835 00

Description of Historic Place

The Gas House sits on a prominent platform nestled close to the rocky and rugged water’s edge at Sambro Island. It is a small, rectangular, building with a gable roof and two small projecting gable porches. The walls are clad in wood shingles. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Gas House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
The Gas House is associated with the Sambro Island Lighthouse, an important Canadian lighthouse, which together guided Halifax Harbour’s marine traffic for over 235 years. The Gas House, which provided refined petroleum to the light, marked a Canadian switch from the practice of using oil for this purpose. The construction of the lighthouse at the approach to Halifax represents the city’s growing maturity in the 18th century.

Architectural Value
The Gas House is a good example of a utilitarian building with good functional design. The structure is characterized by its simple, rectangular massing with a gable roof and small gable porches, by its materials such as the cedar shingles, and by its placement on a prominent platform made of large, dry-laid granite blocks. Its good craftsmanship is evidenced in the masonry work of the chimney.

Environmental Value
Nestled close to the water’s edge, the Gas House reinforces the character of its picturesque maritime setting and is familiar through its association with the Sambro Island Lighthouse.

Joan Mattie, Lighthouse and Gas House, Sambro Island Lightstation, Sambro Island, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Building Review Office, Building Report 95-034; Sambro Island Lighttower, Sambro Island Gas House, Sambro Island, Nova Scotia, Heritage Character Statement, 95-034.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Gas House should be respected.

Its simple, good functional design and good craftsmanship and materials, for example: the simple, rectangular massing with a gable roof and small gable porches projecting from two facades; the prominent platform composed of large dry-laid granite blocks; the wood shingle cladding and the shingled roof; the brick chimney with simple corbelling at the upper courses; the window and door arrangement.

The manner in which the Gas House reinforces the character of the maritime coastal setting, and is a familiar structure through its association with the Sambro Island Lighthouse, as evidenced by: the picturesque qualities of its design and form which harmonizes with a number of small wooden structures scattered across the rugged, coastal environment; its location near and visibility from the water, plus its familiarity through its association with the well-known Sambro Island Lighthouse to the seafaring community.