Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Fishermen’s Union Trading Company Retail Store is a commercial, vernacular-styled industrial building with B.C. Fir timber supports and cedar-grained asbestos shingles sheathing the exterior. The mid-twentieth century building, constructed as a combination shop and office building, is located at the edge of Port Union harbour, facing the water. It is clustered amongst a large grouping of related buildings that, together, comprise the Port Union National Historic District and Port Union Registered Heritage District. The designation is confined to the footprint of the retail store building.
The Fishermen’s Union Trading Company Retail Store has been designated a Registered Heritage Structure because it has aesthetic, historic and environmental values.
The Retail Store is aesthetically valuable as a rural example of a combination retail store and office building. The three-storey building was designed with the top floor containing a wholesale dry goods store, including the dry goods manager’s office; the second floor contained the retail grocery, hardware and dry goods departments and offices; and the lower storey contained the provision department and manager’s office. The combination of functions and purposes is visible in the construction of the building and can be seen today in the remaining, original retail store features such as the shelves and counters as well as the various offices located on each floor.. Built as a replacement for the original store that burnt in the 1945 conflagration, this structure was erected with materials that were thought to be fire-proof at that time. The use of Ten Test and Masonite was liberal on the interior, while cedar-grained asbestos shingles were used on the exterior. A two-storey, fire-proof, reinforced concrete vault was installed from the first to the second floors.
The structure, as a whole, is a rectangular-shaped building with a store front façade. The main side, visible as the first building one sees as they enter Main Street, has a slightly arched awning over large plate glass windows with multi-paned transoms. The northeast side faces the salt fish plant and the southwest façade has large, wooden diagonal-plank garage doors and an arched plank door. The southeast façade, facing the water, has various doors used to facilitate wharf-side business and wooden windows remain in their original locations and fenestrations throughout the building. The flat roof of the store is visually similar to that of the neighbouring salt fish plant, and together they combine to give a sense of continuity and aesthetic impact, particularly when viewed from the water.
The Retail Store has historic values because of its associations with the Fishermen’s Protective Union (FPU) and the development of Port Union as an economic hub in the region. The retail store operated as the company headquarters for the distribution of materials and supplies of the FPU to its 40 stores in communities along the northeast coast. It served many functions supporting the operation of the town and FPU companies. The Retail Store provided employment as well as products, making the Fishermen’s Trading Company one of the largest employers in the region. The store is symbolic of what was once the economic heart of the community.
The Retail Store has landmark value because of its location in the community of Port Union, situated at the edge of the harbour, and because of its size and distinct shape, combined with surrounding similar buildings that make it easily identified. The cluster of Union-built structures is clearly defined on the landscape and visible from many angles. Their formidable massing and quantity offer a visual clue to the cultural history of the community.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador Meeting 59, April 27, 2007.
All those original architectural elements that help define the building as a retail store, including:
-original exterior sheathing;
-storefront façade, including the plate glass windows with multi-paned transoms and overhanging awning;
-original wooden windows and their trims, sizes, dimensions and fenestrations;
-original door openings and their sizes and locations;
-diagonal plank garage doors with multi-paned transoms and the arched diagonal plank door between them;
-any interior original features remaining of the retail store, including the shelves and counters, their locations, materials and associated attachments and equipment; and
-location at the harbour side and within the historic district, between the salt fish plant and the factory advocate building.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
Historic Resources Act
Registered Heritage Structure
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Architect / Designer
Fishermen's Protective Union
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, PO Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5
Cross-Reference to Collection