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Burpee Building

60 Prince William Street , Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/03/18

This image shows the front façade of the building that fronts Prince William Street.; Commercial Properties Limited
Burpee Building - Front façade
This image shows the elaborate detail of the windows on the front façade.; Commercial Properties Limited
Burpee Building - Windows
This image shows the building in its context along Prince William Street.; Commercial Properties Limited
Burpee Building - Contextual view

Other Name(s)

Burpee Building
Canada Life
Canada Vie
Canadian Drug Company
Canadian Drug Company
Clark, Kerr & Thorne
Clark, Kerr & Thorne

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1877/01/01 to 1881/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/08/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Burpee Building is a narrow five storey brick building on Prince William Street, with Greek and Roman features, in the commercial district of Saint John. The building is located in the Trinity Royal area and was recognized in the City of Saint John Preservation Areas Bylaw in 1982.

Heritage Value

This building is significant as one of a collection of Italianate and Second Empire style commercial buildings that were built between 1877 and 1881 after two thirds of the City of Saint John was destroyed in the Great Saint John Fire of 1877. The Italianate building is also significant due to its association with Isaac Burpee. He built the building with his brother for the hardware trade. In 1872, Isaac Burpee was elected to the House of Commons, representing the Saint John area. He became a member of the Privy Council, Minister of Customs in 1873 and subsequently, Acting Minister of Agriculture under the MacKenzie government.

This building serves as a reminder of the strong will of the Saint John merchants to rebuild the city after the fire. The brick and stone architecture sent a message that the city would be more fire resistant in the future. The elements and level of design demonstrate that the city was rebuilt in grander fashion.

Of further significance, this building once housed the office of junk broker Rudolph Mayer, brother of legendary Hollywood movie mogul, Louis B. Mayer, founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Source: Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John

Character-Defining Elements

The architectural elements relating to the Greek Revival Style of the building include:
The Storefront
- brick columns with sandstone base;
- large sandstone arch over doorway, with keystone, supported by one brick column and one circular decorative marble Corinthian column on both bases of the arch;
- metal cornice with heavy brackets.
The Upper Storeys
- rectangular windows on top floor;
- roof cornice is equipped with four pairs of brackets.
The architectural elements relating to the Italianate Style of the building include:
- sandstone quoins;
- 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor windows in roman arch openings;
- 3rd and 4th floor window openings have decorative Romanesque pattern as window header.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Municipal Heritage Preservation Act, s.5(1)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Preservation Act

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1877/01/01 to 1877/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer

McKean & Fairweather


Archibald Craig, (mason)

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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