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41-43 University Avenue

41-43 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1979/10/26

Showing north east elevation; City of Charlottetown, Natalie Munn, 2005
41-43 University Avenue
Showing south east elevation; City of Charlottetown, Natalie Munn, 2005
41-43 University Avenue
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Other Name(s)

41-43 University Avenue
Thomas and Dawson's Store
Downtown Diner and Mermaid Suites

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/08/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

41-43 University Avenue is a wood framed commercial building located on a historically commercial street. This section of University Avenue was once referred to as Upper Great George Street. It is believed that the wood framed building was originally Thomas and Dawson’s store but after a variety of tenants throughout the years, the building now houses the Downtown Diner and Mermaid Suites. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of 41-43 University Avenue lies in its association with Charlottetown’s early commercial history and its importance to the streetscape.

41-43 University Avenue was originally a general store constructed in approximately 1850. Two local merchants, Thomas Dawson and John Thomas, operated their general store for many years. The store became so closely associated with the building that it appears to have been an identifying landmark on Charlottetown’s Upper Great George Street. Other businessmen, such as George P. Tanton and C.F. Harris, advertised that their businesses were nearly opposite Thomas and Dawson’s store. Many years after the store had ceased to operate, “Thomas’s Old Stand” was mentioned when giving directions.

Thomas Dawson remained a resident of Prince Edward Island but his partner, John Thomas left the Island and went back to England. Thomas retained close ties with Charlottetown however and in 1866, City Coucillors asked him to choose a steam fire engine for the city. The fire engine that he chose was a product of the firm Merryweather & Sons and cost 540 pounds. It was shipped to Prince Edward Island via the ship L.C. Owen.

The building has had a wide variety of businesses call it home throughout the years. William Full operated a men’s furnishing store from the building called Liverpool House as early as 1863. C. Lewis ran a photographic gallery from the site in 1877, followed by John Stumbles who had a harness making business in the building. It has also housed a clothing store, a restaurant, a laundry and auction rooms.

41-43 University Avenue has sustained many renovations throughout its history. A new facade was constructed for the building in 1905 by then owner, Francis J. Trainor. It is also thought that the beautiful embossed tin ceiling of the interior dates from around this time. More recently, it was renovated to house the Downtown Diner and Mermaid Suites. An attractive and historic building on a street with a variety of architectural styles, the Downtown Diner plays an important role in supporting the University Avenue streetscape.

Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of 41-43 University Avenue:
- The location of the building on University Avenue
- The overall massing of the building
- The style and placement of the windows including the plate glass windows of the recessed storefront, the grouped windows of the second floor and the smaller group of windows on the third floor
- The style and placement of the doors including the door in the centre of the recessed storefront and the door of the northern part of the facade
- The recessed storefront
- The size and shape of the symmetrical facade with its attractive contrasting detailing over the windows of the upper floors and along the roofline



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

City of Charlottetown

Recognition Statute

City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw

Recognition Type

Heritage Resource

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

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

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2 #1165

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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