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203 Water Street Municipal Heritage Building

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

Formally Recognized: 1989/07/21

Exterior photo, 203 Water Street, St. John's, NL.  Taken March 29, 2005.; HFNL 2005
203 Water Street, St. John's.
203 Water Street, detail of trims, dentil, egg and dart and sawtooth; also showing hooded canopies over arched windows.  Photo taken July 12, 2006; HFNL/ Deborah O'Rielly 2006.
203 Water Street, detail.
203 Water Street, westward looking view of main storefront facade, showing recessed doorway with panels and stained glass window, plate glass windows, transoms and signband.  Photo taken July 12, 2006.; HFNL/ Deborah O'Rielly 2006.
203 Water Street, street level.

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1892/01/01 to 1893/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/06/27

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

203 Water Street is a three storey brick Commerical Venacular style building located in 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

203 Water Street is aesthetically valuable as an example of a turn of the 20th century mercantile/residential building in downtown St. John’s. The first storey of this building was traditionally used for mercantile premises. The additional storeys were used as residential space, usually for the merchant’s family. The use of the building as a commercial building is evident through the traditional store front that features large plate glass windows with fascia board and a recessed doorway. Futhermore, the brick construction of the 203 Water Street is typical for downtown St. John’s buildings built after the fire of 1892. This building like all the other in this block also feature some elements of classical revival such as pediments, pilasters, and arched windows.

203 Water Street is historically valuable because of its associations with the Kelly family. John and Francis Kelly operated the first dime store in St. John's in this building, which was commonly known as the Five and Ten.

Source: City of St. John's Archives property file, 203 Water Sreet, the Taj Mahal.

Character-Defining Elements

All elements of the Commerical Venacular style, including:
-brick construction;
-large plate glass windows with fascia board;
-size, shape, decoration and placement of windows;
-two, one storey bow windows with pediments and sun motif, pilasters, dentils and fascia;
-stone pilasters on the corners of the building;
-original double door entrance with sidelights and transom;
-a second recessed enterance with transom and moulding; and
-moulding in line with bow windows on second floor.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

City of St. John's

Recognition Statute

Newfoundland and Labrador Urban and Rural Planning Act

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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