Terminal Terminated

On the Twitter and Instagram, I’ve been noticing photos and memories of the old Acadian Bus Lines terminal on Almon Street, that has been knocked flat to make way for more new housing. Here is a Instagram image from urbanrenewable (Kerry Lynch) from December 3.

I was late to the party, but for the last ten years or so I’ve been a fan of the building and have often paused to admire its mid-century modern charms. This is what the Almon Street facade looked like in recent years, long after it had ceased to be a bus terminal.

The building accomplished a lot with a narrow street frontage. You could drive in and drop off or pick up passengers under the cover of the “floating” second story. The narrow driveway was where buses exited to get on their way off the peninsula.

Behind the street facade was a row of bus bays.

I guess the building dates from the early 60s. Here it is looking crisp and stylish on the cover of a 1968 time table.

Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board

There is a glimpse of the front of the terminal behind this bus. You can see the Acadian Lines sign attached to the steel columns. Also it is clear that the blue on the building matches the livery of the buses.

Photo from David Chaisson site

I don’t know the architect for the building, but it was thoughtfully designed, and evidence of the significant role played by bus travel in the province. And as I always do at moments like this, I suggest we need a way to celebrate our memory-filled buildings at the moment of their termination. They deserve a mindful death.


  • When searching for photos of the terminal I came across several images of Acadian Lines buses out in the landscape. Here is one passing through Africville ca 1965, captured by Bob Brooks, who took many evocative photos of this lost community. It feels as if Bob shot quickly when he realized an improbable bus was coming into the frame.

Public Archives of NS 1989-468 vol. 16 / neg sheet 5 image 18

  • Here an Acadian Lines bus heads down Doyle Street ca 1964. This is one of a wonderful series of photos in the Municipal Archives collection. Photos were taken of all four corners of Spring Garden and Queen to record new street lights. The taciturn gent in the light trench coat appears in each of the photos (as scale?).

  • Acadian Lines was owned by the United Service Corperation, who built the much-loved, but lost CBC building at the corner of Sackville and South Park (where the new curvy building is under construction). The also curvy Acadian Lines terminal in Amherst was another minor architectural masterpiece (notice the blue livery). Good design makes such a difference. This building is, of course, gone too.

And we joyfully draw your attention to the hilarious Terminal Lunch.

  • To end on a more positive note, not all the small modernist buildings have been knocked down. It has been altered but this 1960s (?) jewel on Birmingham Street stills retains its essence. Built as an architect’s office, covered ground level parking was provided under the second story. Sweet.

About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.