St. George’s Round Church was built in 1800 to accommodate the growing congregation of the Little Dutch Church. While the origin of its unique architecture is unclear, it is thought that the Duke of Kent may have had an influence in the design, as he was responsible for other public buildings of similar design being constructed in Halifax at the time (e.g. the Town Clock). The church was entirely round until 1827, when the chancel and entrance were added. In this same year, St. George’s became a parish, separating from historic St. Paul’s on the Grand Parade. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the Round Church underwent various modifications and changes, including interior painting and renovations, and the addition of a square porch. The church was declared a national historic site in 1983 with the visit from the Prince and Princess of Wales to mark the occasion.
As the city of Halifax continued to expand throughout the mid-to-late 20th century, St. George’s became an Inner City church, within a community deeply affected by the urban planning of the 1960s. In 1994, when a fire destroyed a large part of the church, its future seemed uncertain. However, with local, national, and overseas support, the Round Church was restored. Today, Saint George’s is an active and thriving Anglican congregation, with a deep commitment to serving the community that has supported and continues to support it.
St. George’s is a magnificent example of Canadian Palladian architecture. Palladian architecture is based on the works of Andrea Palladio, whose designs, including various rotundas, were extremely influential on England in the 18th and 19th centuries. St. George’s continues this tradition, with a circular design reminiscent of classical temples and symbolizing divine justice and equality. From the columns supporting the gallery to the limited ornamentation, and even the original Venetian window that was removed with the chancel extension in the mid-19th century, the Round Church exhibits Palladian principles of design. The cupola rises above the trees and buildings surrounding the church, and the round building that has been a part of Halifax for more than 200 years still holds services and works within the community that has and continues to support it.