Nova Scotia

After $1.1M refit, Province House's south garden sports new look

Nova Scotians who want to enjoy Province House's new million-dollar south garden will soon be able to access the grounds through an open garden gate, rather than the present option of using a vehicle entrance.

Plan is to open south garden door to the public starting June 3

The newly refurbished south garden at Province House cost taxpayers $1.1 million. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

It's not the open government Stephen McNeil promised before he became premier, but the so-called people's house is going to be a little more welcoming to Nova Scotians, starting June 3.

Speaker Kevin Murphy has agreed to unlock the garden gate on Prince Street at Province House. It will allow the public direct access to the south garden, which last year underwent a $1.1-million overhaul.

The last time the garden gate was opened was the summer of 2014.

It will also mark the first time in at least five years, since the shooting on Parliament Hill sparked a security crackdown at legislatures across Canada, that the grounds to the Nova Scotia legislature will have public access, other than through the main vehicle gate on Hollis Street.

There is a pedestrian gate on Hollis Street, but it is locked, and a garden gate on George Street is welded in place.

This undated photo from a 1957 report shows what the outdoor grounds of Province House once looked like. (Jean Laroche/CBC via the Corporation of the City of Halifax)

A new camera placed in the south garden will allow security to keep a close eye on visitors who drop by to use one of the new benches, or to admire the new plants and shrubs.

There are also newly installed ramps to make the grounds accessible, but anyone who uses a wheelchair or cannot climb up or down steps will need to use the vehicle entrance rather than the garden gate.

The south garden gate should be open starting June 3. The gate will be locked after hours. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

The government has shelved plans to restore the north garden, currently a paved lot used by MLAs to park their vehicles. The lot surrounds a statue dedicated to the Boer War, which was installed in 1901.

About the Author

Jean Laroche

Reporter

Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter for 32 years. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.

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