It is hard to imagine but the Halfax Town Clock has kept the time for over two centuries and is perhaps one of the most prominent features of the city, and most recognized too . The clock started keeping time in 1803 and is doing its job ever since.
The Old Town Clock was arranged by Prince Edward in 1800. The clock is housed in a three-tiered, irregular octagon tower atop a building of classical Palladian proportions. The Town Clock officially began keeping time for the garrison on October 20, 1803 and has served the residents of Halifax for over 200 years.
The clock mechanism was manufactured by the Royal clockmakers in London, House of Vulliamy. The mechanism itself is driven by three weights. The going train or timekeeping mechanism is flanked by an hour-striking train and a quarter-striking train, all of which are contained within a cast-iron frame located in the clock room immediately below the belfry. The going train, designed to be wound weekly, consists of a combination of gears, escapement and weight which keep the 13 foot pendulum in motion. The durability of the mechanism has been attributed to its slow movement.
In its early years, the Town Clock was used as a guard room and residence for the caretaker. During the 20th century, considerable work was done on the Town Clock building. Nevertheless, the original clock mechanism remains intact and in use.
Today, the Town Clock is maintained and operated by Parks Canada. Although the caretaker position ceased in 1965, Parks Canada staff wind the clock twice a week to minimize stress on the mechanism. A major restoration project in 1990 restored the exterior façade of the Town Clock building to its original Georgian elegance. The Town Clock, a rare and treasured cultural resource, is a prominent symbol of Halifax’s rich historical past.