People & Culture

Halifax group gives heritage home new life

  • Jan 25, 2013
  • 445 words
  • 2 minutes
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Tying thousands of balloons to a house to carry it away may be a made-in-Hollywood story. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, wheels, not balloons, will lift an old house to its new home — and give it a second chance at life.

This weekend, the historic Morris house, once home to Halifax’s Surveying General Charles Morris Junior, will make a 4.5 kilometre journey to its new neighbourhood. The building, believed to be the oldest wooden building in Halifax, was slated for demolition four years ago until a group of Halifax residents took up its cause.

“The city had just given us a warning that the next day they were going to demolish the house and our efforts were pulled towards saving this 250-year-old house with a historic value in it,” said Kim Thompson, a representative of the Morris Project.

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The Morris House as it looked in the 1700s. Photo: The Morris Project

Initiated by The Ecology Action Centre and Heritage Trust Nova Scotia, the Morris Project is about more than preserving a historic building. The group is renovating the house to meet modern standards of energy efficiency and intends the project to be an example of how heritage buildings can be successfully repurposed rather than torn down.

“The Ecology Action Centre was working to create a resource for developers and homeowners to help them cut down on construction waste and prevent recyclable construction and demolition materials from ending up in the landfill,” said volunteer Aaron Murnaghan.

The finished product will provide affordable housing for homeless youth between the ages of 18 and 25. Youth under the age of 24 are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in Halifax.

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The Morris House being moved from its original location. Photo: The Morris Project

“The idea of giving second chances to youth in a building that has been given a second chance completes the package,” Murnaghan said.

A team will move the Morris House this weekend from the parking lot where the house has sat for three years while awaiting its green efficient application. The transfer will happen over two nights to avoid street traffic.

“In a physical sense, the house doesn’t seem that special. But when you consider its age, the events it has been through and the people that have lived there, the incredible story becomes apparent,” said Murnaghan.

HGTV is documenting the Morris House’s move. The story is scheduled to air on the television program “Monster Moves” in 2014.

Follow @MorrisHfx on Twitter for the latest news about the Morris Project.

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The route the Morris House will travel to its new home. Photo: The Morris Project
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