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Dupont Block

642 Columbia Street, New Westminster, British Columbia, V3M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/04/05

Exterior view of the Dupont Building, nd; New Westminster Public Library, NWPL 834
Partial oblique front view
Exterior view of the Dupont Block, 2004; City of New Westminster, 2004
Oblique view
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/08/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Dupont Block is a two-storey plus lower level brick commercial Victorian Italianate building, distinguished by a chamfered corner entrance, arched window hoods and a corbelled cornice. It is located on a steeply sloped site on the south side of Columbia Street, the main commercial street in New Westminster's historic downtown core, at the corner of McKenzie Street. The rear of the building faces Front Street, where the sloping site exposes the lower level, and provides the opportunity for a secondary storefront.

Heritage Value

The Dupont Block is significant for its contribution to the consistent and distinctive built form of Columbia and Front Streets, which dates from 1898 to 1913, when New Westminster was the major centre of commerce and industry for the booming Fraser Valley area. A three-storey brick and stone block was completed on this site in 1891, designed by architect G.W. Grant for Victoria investors D.R. Harris and Major Charles T. Dupont. After its destruction in the Great Fire of 1898, Dupont financed a replacement two-storey block, also designed by Grant, that incorporated the still-standing walls of the earlier structure. Completed in 1899, this was one of the largest ground floor areas covered by a single building in the province. The Dupont Block was designed in the Victorian Italianate style, with a chamfered corner entry and arched window hoods. The exterior of the building was finished in a mortar stucco to disguise the fire-ravaged walls of the earlier building. In 1910, the western portion of the building was redeveloped as the Edison Theatre.

The Dupont Block is additionally valued for its association with its architect George William Grant (1852-1925), a prolific architect, who designed many of the buildings in downtown New Westminster, before and after the Great Fire. He redesigned and restored buildings that survived, and designed replacement blocks for those that were destroyed, much reduced in scale and opulence from the pre-fire buildings.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of New Westminster

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Dupont Block include its:
- location on a prominent corner on Columbia, Front and McKenzie Streets, part of a grouping of late Victorian and Edwardian era commercial buildings in historic downtown New Westminster
- siting on the property lines, with no setbacks
- boxy form, two-storey plus lower level height, chamfered corner entry, flat roof and cubic massing
- large, open rectangular storefronts at front and rear with cast iron columns
- elements of the Victorian Italianate style, including segmental arched window hoods and corbelled brick cornice
- masonry construction, with mortar stucco applied over brick walls and foundations of earlier building
- regular fenestration; large glazed storefronts; round-arched feature window on side elevation with original wooden-sash; and replica double-hung 1-over-1 wooden-sash windows at the second floor in single and double-assembly



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer

George W. Grant



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, City of New Westminster

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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