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Sun Building

39 Canterbury Street, Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/03/18

This photograph shows the contextual view of the building, 2005; City of Saint John
Sun Building - Contextual view
This photograph shows the paired doors and transom window and sidelights in the entrance, 2005; City of Saint John
Sun Building - Entrance
This photograph shows an upper storey window sandstone lintel and sill, as well as the corbel band at the roof-line cornice, 2005; City of Saint John
Sun Building - Window and cornice

Other Name(s)

Sun Building
Saint John Power Commission
Société Saint John Power Commission

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/01/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Sun Building is a two-storey, brick, Classic Revival commercial building. It is located on Canterbury Street in the Trinity Royal Heritage Preservation Area in the City of Saint John.

Heritage Value

The Sun Building is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture, for its association with the printing industry and for its association with the Saint John Power Commission.

The Sun Building is recognized for being part of a collection of commercial Classic Revival buildings that were built between 1877 and 1881, after two thirds of the City of Saint John were destroyed by the fire. Built circa 1878, the Sun Building is a good example of a two-storey, brick building of this style from the rebuilding period after the fire. The use of brick and the quality of the workmanship in this building represent the will for the city to rebuild, as well or better, after the fire and sent a message that the city would be more resistant to fire in the future.

The Sun Building is also recognized through its association with the history of the newspaper industry in Saint John, and more particularly its association with New Brunswick's highest circulation newspaper, the Telegraph Journal. Many buildings along Canterbury Street have a strong association with the printing industry of Saint John. The Daily Sun was printed here for about 32 years. The size of the paper increased from 4 pages in 1878 to a 2 section, 16 page paper, in 1910. The paper was started to promote the interests of the Liberal-Conservative party during the 1878 election campaign, but proved popular and continued to become the leading paper in New Brunswick by the late 19th Century. W. T. Thorne, president of the Sun Publishing Company, sold the company in March 1910, to the Daily Telegraph. In 1923, the Daily Telegraph and the Sun merged with the Daily Journal to form Saint John's present leading newspaper the Telegraph Journal.

The Sun Building is also recognized through the building's half century association with the Power Commission of the City of Saint John. Through the advocacy of a group of local citizens interested in having low cost electric power available in the city, the City of Saint John Common Council established the Power Commission in December 1922. The first substation transformer was energized in July 1923. The Power Commission obtained this building in 1924 as their headquarters, and by the end of that year, they were serving 1842 customers. In 1974, the Commission had outgrown this location, and they relocated.

Source: Department of Planning and Development - City of Saint John

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements that describe the Sun Building include:
- building located on the entire width of the lot;
- similar set back with neighbouring buildings;
- two-storey rectangular massing;
- brick exterior walls;
- roof-line cornice ornamented by corbel bands;
- 4/4 vertical sliding wood windows with sandstone sills and bold rectangular lintels;
- paired wooden doors with glass panels;
- sidelights and transom window in entranceway;
- wooden storefront cornice;
- large storefront windows.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Municipal Heritage Preservation Act, s.5(1)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Preservation Act

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Communications Facility

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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