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Apothecary Hall

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1E, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/06/06

View of main facade and left side of Apothecary Hall, St. John's, NL, 2004.; Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2005.
Apothecary Hall, 488 Water Street, St. John's
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/02/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Built in 1922, Apothecary Hall is a two storey, cast concrete building designed by John E. Hoskins for Peter O’Mara. Built in the Art Nouveau style, Apothecary Hall housed a drugstore until 1986. This designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Apothecary Hall is designated as a Registered Heritage Structure due to its architectural and historic values.

Apothecary Hall is architecturally valuable as a good example of an early 20th century commercial building in downtown St. John’s. Purpose built for use as a drugstore The building is an amalgam of the Art Nouveau style and the Art Deco style employing some of the key style elements of each including the rectangular design of the Art Nouveau style and the straight lines and vivid colours of the Art Deco style.

Apothecary Hall is also architecturally valuable for its association with well-known local architect John E. Hoskins. Hoskins was born in St. John’s and during his career he was involved in the design and construction of many of the larger buildings in St. John’s including additions to the General Hospital and renovations to the Basilica of St. John the Baptist.

Apothecary Hall is historically valuable as the last remaining example of an early 20th century drugstore. The interior of the building has been relatively unaltered and retains its original style as an early 20th century drugstore. This building is also historically valuable for its association with the O’Mara family. The O’Mara family are well known in St. John’s as a family of pharmacists. Peter O’Mara was particularly influential as a founding member of the Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Society. Peter O’Mara opened a drugstore at 486 Water Street in 1890 but by 1922 he felt he needed a new building for his operation and Apothecary Hall was built at 488 Water Street for this purpose. The building was owned and operated by the O’Mara family under the name “Peter O’Mara’s Drugstore” from 1922 until it closed in 1986.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, unnumbered property file, St. John's - Apothecary Hall

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements that are representative of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau designs including:
-concrete construction;
-rectangular design;
-vivid exterior paint colours;and,
-dimensions and location of building.

All those elements that reflect the commercial use of the building, including:
- transom windows;
- recessed doorway;
- large shop window, etc;
- mortar and pestle decoration on front façade;
- window style and placement; and,
- interior shelving, hardware, tin ceilings and counters.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer

John E. Hoskins



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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