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Argyle Township Court House & Gaol

Argyle Township Court House & Gaol

The Argyle Township Court House & Gaol is a provincially and federally recognised heritage building along Route 308 in the present-day community of Tusket, Nova Scotia. Predating Canadian Confederation, it played a significant role in the administrative, judicial, and political spheres of life in the Municipality of the District of Argyle during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Also known as the Tusket Court House, the building is held to be "the oldest surviving combined court house and jail in Canada."[1] No longer an active court house, the local landmark now serves as a museum and tourist destination.

Argyle Township Court House & Gaol
General information
StatusUsed as a museum
Architectural styleGreek Revival
Address8168 Hwy #3
Town or cityTusket
Coordinates43.8549°N 65.9745°W / 43.8549; -65.9745
Construction started1801
OwnerMunicipality of the District of Argyle & AMHGS (current)


Construction of the court house was initiated in 1801, taking place over a period of nearly five years, and ending in 1805 with the first sitting of the Court of the General Sessions of the Peace being held on 29 October.[2]

The trial of Omar Pasha Roberts

During a Supreme Court sitting at Tusket in 1922, presided over by Sir J.A. Chisholm, Omar Pasha Roberts was found guilty of the murder of Miss Flora Gray of Kemptville, Nova Scotia, and subsequently sentenced to hang for the crime.[3]

Museum & Archives

In 1983, the Argyle Township Court House Archives were formed, becoming the "first Municipal archives in Nova Scotia."[4]


  1. Parks Canada, Retrieved 18 January 2017
  2. Parks Canada, Retrieved 18 January 2017
  3. National Archives Canada, "Persons Sentenced to Death In Canada, 1867-1976: An inventory of Case Files in the Fonds of the Justice Department" Retrieved 18 January 2017
  4. ATCHA, Retrieved 18 January 2017

Further reading

  • MacNutt, James W. Building for Justice: The Historic Courthouses of the Maritimes. HM Scott Smith, 2015
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