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The Button Factory

25, Regina Street, Waterloo, Ontario, N2J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/06/07

View of the north elevation of the Button Factory depicting the segmentally arched windows, 2007.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
North Elevation of the Button Factory
Gable roof, east elevation of the Button Factory, 2007.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
East Elevation of the Button Factory
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Other Name(s)

The Button Factory
25 Regina Street South

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/12/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Button Factory is located at 25 Regina Street South, on the east side of the street, in Uptown Waterloo. The three-storey brick building was designed in the Victorian Industrial style and was constructed in 1886.

The property was designated, for its historic and architectural value by the City of Waterloo, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, By-law 82-62.

Heritage Value

The Button Factory represents the industrial and manufacturing history of the City of Waterloo, and the rapid growth and expansion experienced by the City during the early 1890s.

The building was erected in 1886 by Richard Roschman, a German immigrant and button maker who, with his brother Rudolph, established the business, Roschman and Brother. For over half a century the button factory operated out of its Regina Street location, selling buttons all over Canada and at one time employing over 100 workers. Roschman and Brother closed in 1946 in response to changes in the industry. The Ontario Glove Manufacturing Co. Ltd. then purchased the site and remained there until 1957. Today, the space is used as a community arts centre, but stands as a testament to the entrepreneurial drive of the early citizens of Waterloo.

The Button Factory is one of the last remaining examples of a Victorian Industrial building, which were typical in the mid to late 19th century. The building, which has retained many of its original features, was designed in a utilitarian fashion, but is softened by a gabled roof with a corbelled line of bricks under the eaves and segmented arched windows. The Button Factory is an excellent example of how heritage buildings can be adapted and reused in a sensitive manner, as is demonstrated by its current occupant, the Waterloo Community Arts Centre.

Sources: City of Waterloo, Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee Report, August 31, 1982; Waterloo Chronicle article, 'Two additional Waterloo buildings dedicated as historical landmarks', Pat Arbuckle, August 25, 1982; The City of Waterloo By-law 82-62.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Button Factory include its:
- three-storey brick construction
- dentils under the cornice
- iron anchors
- segmented arched windows
- corbelled brickwork under the eaves
- metal tie rods running through the building below the second floor
- simple form
- size and massing on the site




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1957/01/01 to 1981/01/01
1886/01/01 to 1946/01/01
1982/01/01 to 1982/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Extraction and Production

Function - Category and Type


Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club


Textile or Leather Manufacturing Facility

Architect / Designer



Richard Roschman

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Waterloo 100 Regina Street South Waterloo, Ontario N2J 4A8

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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