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Duncan-McPhee Store

1, Quebec Street, Guelph, City of, Ontario, N1H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1983/01/17

Featured are the segmented arched windows with stone relief.; Lyndsay Haggerty, 2007.
West Elevation, Duncan-McPhee Store, 2007
Featured is the gracefully curved corner facade.; Lyndsay Haggerty, 2007.
Corner Façade, Duncan-McPhee Store, 2007
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Other Name(s)

Duncan-McPhee Store
Duncan-McPhee and Gallery One
1 Quebec Street
99-101 Norfolk Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/13

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Duncan-McPhee Store is located at 1 Quebec Street, on the southeast corner of Quebec and Norfolk Streets, in downtown Guelph. The three-storey stone commercial building was constructed, in 1853, with a major addition, in 1864.

The property was designated, by the City of Guelph, in 1983, for its historical or architectural value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law (1983)-11115).

Heritage Value

The Duncan-McPhee store has functioned continuously as a commercial store for over 150 years and has greatly contributed to the formation and success of the City of Guelph's downtown. The original two-storey portion of the store was built in 1853 by John Catchpole to accommodate his family's tinsmithing trade. It is believed to have been the first stone structure erected on Norfolk Street. Roughly a decade later, the store was bought by George Howard, who would become the City of Guelph's first mayor in 1879. Howard built a three-storey addition in 1864, adjoining the original 1853 store. The 20th century brought many different owners, most notably the interior decorating company Duncan McPhee, which purchased the store in 1954. Duncan MacPhee, after which the property is named, restored the building to its original character, earning an award from the Wellington Historical Research Society in 1955 for their efforts.

The Duncan-McPhee Store, one of the first few stores in downtown Guelph, is a fine example of mid-19th century commercial architecture, local craftsmanship and the use of limestone in the City's business centre. The two-storey 1853 portion of the store, constructed of local limestone, is of a modest design. In contrast, the prominent and distinctive three-storey 1864 addition, also constructed of local limestone, is of a more prosperous design, featuring a gracefully curved corner façade. Characteristic of Italianate architectural design, the 1864 addition features a detailed cornice and brackets and segmented arched windows framed with large quarry-faced stone block in relief against a smooth limestone background.

Sources: City of Guelph, By-law (1983)-11115; L.A.C.A.C. Architectural Inventory.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Duncan-McPee Store include its:
- continued use as a store
- construction of local limestone
- gable roof of the 1853 portion and curved gable roof of the 1864 portion
- three-bay, two-storey façade of the 1853 portion
- nine-bay, three-storey, curved corner façade of the 1864 portion
- detailed cornice and brackets on the 1864 portion
- segmented arched windows framed with large quarry-faced stone block in relief on the 1864 portion




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1981/01/01 to 1981/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Guelph Community Design and Development Services 1 Carden Street Guelph, ON

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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