Courthouses of Canada: Pictou, N.S.

Lawyers and judges in the Pictou Justice Centre are seeing things in a whole new light. Nova Scotia’s newly renovated courthouse, about a two-hour drive from Halifax, features three painted glass windows from the town’s original court.

The windows were originally imported from England in the mid-1800s, but were badly damaged in a fire at the original Pictou County Courthouse a few years later. Thanks to the efforts of community members — including two lawyers, a court administrator, and a retired provincial court judge — they now once again look down over the dispensation of justice in Pictou.

“The detail in the windows has been described as the finest of its kind in Canada and it was important to preserve their history and beauty,” said retired provincial court judge Clyde MacDonald. MacDonald was one of the founding members of the Pictou Justice Complex Painted Windows Society.

The light from the restored windows — including one of the Roman Goddess of Justice — will shine over a modern courthouse that cost the provincial government $2 million to renovate and upgrade. Now all justice services in the area are contained under one roof, which features a secure interview room in cells, videoconferencing services, a room for vulnerable witnesses, a suite of secure rooms for legal counsel, and surveillance cameras and equipment with continuous views of inside and outside the courthouse. Not to mention a very special painted lady.

This is the third in our occasional photographic series of the courthouses of Canada. If you have a photo and story of the courthouse in your city or town that you’d like to share, e-mail it to editor Gail J. Cohen.

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