The Ordnance Yard was created sometime before 1766 as a support facility to house military supplies for the Royal Artillery in Halifax. It was located at the junction of the former Buckingham Street and Hollis Street, in the space between today’s Granville Mall and the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel (Buckingham Street was removed in 1957 to build Scotia Square).
A plan of the Ordnance Yard drawn in 1766 by Sub-Engineer/ Lieutenant John Marr showed a Long Store, 80 feet by 21 feet with a pitched roof, a Square Store to the east of it, 50 Feet by 35 feet with a hipped roof, and an Armourer’s Shop, 20 feet by 13 feet obstructing the end of Hollis Street. Just outside the Yard where Hollis Street joined Buckingham Street was a long Bedding Store facing the Long Store and of about the same dimensions. Southeast of this was a large U-shaped Laboratory (for processing gunpowder). On the seaward side of the Yard stood the two sections of the North Battery, built in 1755 as part of the town’s defences against an attack from seaward and which mounted a total of fourteen 24-pounder smooth bore cannons. Adjacent to this was a 200 foot long Storehouse for the Commissary of Victualling for the Army.
The waterfront batteries, including the North Battery were removed about 1783 after the end of the American Revolutionary War.
A new 2½ story ironstone Storehouse (No. 1) with an octagonal wooden clock tower, containing a clock dated 1813 by Jno. Thwaites & Co., Clerkenwell, London, was built in 1811. Other ironstone buildings including the Office Building, Armoury, new storehouses and a Smith and Carpenter Shop were completed between 1811 and 1816. The Armoury had two French mortars captured at Louisbourg in 1758 flanking its entrance – one of which is now on display at Royal Artillery Park. A substantial ironstone wall with gates was built to enclose the Ordnance Yard in 1812, which by this time had expanded to include an area on the landward side of Water Street. The wall encompassed a portion of Water Street within it, requiring the street to be re-routed at a right-angle to join Hollis Street.
In 1885-86 a small Tube and Fuse Store was added, along with No. 3 (Shell) Store and No. 4 (Oil) Store in 1886-87. A new Armourer’s Shop was constructed in 1892, and a Guard Room at the gate in 1896-97. The last building erected in Halifax by the Imperial authorities before Britain withdrew from Halifax was the ironstone Reserve Arms Store in 1906.
The Ordnance Yard was taken over by the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II to serve as a Central Victualling Depot. Most of the old buildings were demolished during this time as the military and naval establishment in Halifax expanded enormously. Today nothing remains of the structures associated with the Ordnance Yard.