Memorial Tower, a familiar Halifax landmark and symbol of the birth of parlia­ment­ary democracy in Canada, has been desig­nated a National Historic Site, says Parks Canada.

The four-sided tower was built between 1908 and 1912 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Nova Scotia house of assembly, considered the first elected colonial legislative body in the British Empire. It was also intended to celebrate Canada’s relationship with the Empire.

“It has been a special landmark on the Northwest Arm for 100 years but the meaning of the tower has been largely forgotten,” said Halifax councillor Linda Mosher.

The tower sits on high ground at the former summer retreat of the noted engineer Sir Sandford Fleming.

It combines features of late 19th-century High Victorian design with Edwardian classical elements, and was also inspired “for philosophical reasons” by the Tower of St. Mark’s in Venice, said a news release.

“Memorial Tower was meant to celebrate an anticipated imperial future in which Britain would lead her colonies in a unified political and economic coalition, the most powerful in the world,” said Parks Canada.

Two bronze lions at the foot of the tower were designed by British sculptor Albert Brucejoy who was influenced by the lion sculptures at London’s Trafalgar Square.