Description of Historic Place
141-143 Great George Street is a wood framed commercial building located on a historically commercial street. This section of Great George Street was once referred to as Upper Great George Street and from 1971 to 2015 as University Avenue. 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 Brit's Fish and Chips and Mermaid Suites. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 141-143 Great George Street lies in its association with Charlottetown's early commercial history and its importance to the streetscape.
141-143 Great George Street 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.
141-143 Great George Street 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 and later, Brit's Fish and Chips. An attractive and historic building on a street with a variety of architectural styles, the property plays an important role in supporting the Great George Street streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of 141-143 Great George Street:
- The location of the building on Great George Street
- 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