Police suspect arson as fire damages building housing coffee shop in Halifax Public Gardens

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Fire damaged a building containing a coffee shop at the Halifax Public Gardens on Thursday night. (Will McLernon/CBC - image credit)
Fire damaged a building containing a coffee shop at the Halifax Public Gardens on Thursday night. (Will McLernon/CBC - image credit)

Halifax Regional Police are investigating a fire at a building in the Public Gardens on Thursday night as a case of arson.

A statement from the police issued Friday afternoon said the fire is being investigated by the criminal investigation division.

Jim Stymiest, district chief with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Services, said the fire was reported at 9:59 p.m.

Crews arrived to find the back side of the building that contains a coffee shop ablaze. The fire appeared to have mainly affected the outside of the building, Stymiest said.

The fire was extinguished within three minutes, and no one was injured.

Stymiest said Halifax Regional Police brought police dogs to the scene.

The building where the fire broke out was built in 1847 and was originally a meeting hall and storage area for the Nova Scotia Horticultural Society. It is the oldest part of the Halifax Public Gardens, according to the Friends of the Public Gardens.

The gardens close each day about half an hour before dusk.

Second incident in recent weeks

This is the second incident in the park in recent weeks.

In late July, someone broke into the gardens and damaged 32 trees by stripping bark all the way around the trunks. Some of the trees were 200 years old.

A $50,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the vandal.

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