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201 Water Street Municipal Heritage Building

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/07/21

Exterior view of main facade, 201 Water Street, St. John's, NL.  Taken March 2005.; HFNL 2005
201 Water Street, St. John's, NL.
Exterior view of 201 Water Street showing main, storefront level with recessed entrance.  Photo taken July 12, 2006; HFNL/ Deborah O'Rielly 2006
201 Water Street, St. John's, NL.
Exterior view of 201 Water Street, close up of masonry details, showing Corinthian Capitals on pilasters, arched windows, recessed panels and boomtown rooftop.  Photo taken July 12, 2006; HFNL/ Deborah O'Rielly 2006
201 Water Street, detail.

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1892/01/01 to 1893/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/06/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

201 Water Street is a 3 storey Commerical Venacular style building located in the heart of downtown St. John's, NL. This structure is part of the municipally designated block of buildings 187-205 Water Street. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

This building has been designated for its aesthetic and historical values.

201 Water Street is aesthetically valuable as an example of a turn of the 20th century mercantile/offfice building in downtown St. John’s. The first storey of this building was traditionally used for mercantile premises. The additional storeys were used as office space, sometimes for the business below, other times rented to others. The use of the building as a commercial building is evident in the traditional store front that features large plate glass windows with fascia board and a recessed doorway. Futhermore, the brick construction of 201 Water Street is typical for downtown St. John’s buildings built after the fire of 1892. This building, like all the others in this block, also feature some elements of classical revival such as pilasters and arched windows.

201 Water Street is historically valuable because of its associations with the Perlin family. The original owners of this building, Israel and Frank Perlin, were Russian immigrants who began a wholesale and retail business from this address. They began the business on Water Street in 1893, but eventually moved away from the retail end to become a major wholesale dry goods operation. Israel Perlin was well known locally as a Jew and his firm employed early Jewish immigrants as coastal peddlers. Israel Perlin was the founder of the Jewish community in St. John's and the first meetings of the congregation were held in this building.

Source: City of St. John's Archives, unnumbered property file, St. John's - Nautical Nellies

Character-Defining Elements

All elements that embody the Commerical Venacular style, including:
-brick construction;
-large plate glass windows with fascia board;
-decoration and fenestration of windows;
-original commercial entrance with double doors, transom and sidelights;
-pilasters from the second to third floor of the building; and
-second entrance with a recessed doorway.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

City of St. John's

Recognition Statute

City of St. John's Development Regulations

Recognition Type

City of St. John's Heritage Building

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
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of St. John's Archives, 3rd Floor Railway Coastal Museum, 495 Water Street, P.O. Box 908, St. John's, NL A1C 5M2

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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